Sapphire Beats the Clock at Watford Riverwell

While it’s no surprise that time is of the essence on site, the Watford Riverwell project had a particularly tight timescale for delivery and install of balconies. We rose to the challenge, keeping the project programme on track thanks to our Rigid.Ready.Right. brand promise.

The Watford Riverwell development built in partnership between Kier Property and Watford Borough Council is transforming 70 acres of contaminated brownfield site into a flourishing community. The project boasts 750 residential units, office, leisure and retail space as well as 4.5 acres of green open space.

The development has already elevated the local area as the River Colne and surrounding banks have been cleared, restoring it to its former tranquillity to the benefit of residents. The formerly industrial land is being given a new lease of life by being regenerated into a peaceful family-friendly neighbourhood including a new primary school and improved public spaces.

We were instructed to supply 84 Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies with vertical bar balustrades for the Woodlands phase of the Watford Riverwell project.

Schoeck anchors were chosen and cast-in but some were, unfortunately, cast incorrectly positioned, presenting a challenge for the Sapphire accredited installers. Delays to the balcony install would have been a significant issue for this project as time constraints were especially tight.

With traditional bolt-on balconies, misaligned anchors would cause significant delays. Fortunately, the Glide-On™ system can enable a +/-20mm tolerance so, despite the misplacement of the anchors, the balconies were successfully installed.

With consideration for the site programme, the balconies were prefinished offsite ahead of the deadline on an efficient and quality-controlled production line at our Winchester facility and safely stored until ready for install.

Once the site was ready balconies were loaded and ‘nested’ onto pallets to minimise the number of lorries heading to site and improve the efficiency of install. Reduced lorries not only reduce emissions and transport costs, but it also ensures minimal traffic onsite keeping the flow of deliveries as smooth as possible.

A further benefit of the Glide-On™ system to the Watford Riverwell scheme was that balconies could be installed in any order required to fit with the work of rest of the trades onsite.

Unlike bolt-on balconies, no installer is required to work under a live load and as they are installed from inside the building, there is no need for a ground-up approach. The flexibility this afforded meant time onsite could be organised more efficiently to meet the programme completion deadline.

The Sapphire Rigid.Ready.Right. brand promise meant that costly delays were avoided as the balconies were Rigid, meeting our high standard of deflection (L/360 twice the British standard of L/180), they were Ready ahead of the agreed date and they were Right, first time.

When asked how our balcony system compares to traditional balcony methods the project manager said “Miles apart. Glide-On™ is far superior”. The rapid speed of install also took the project manager by surprise saying he “didn’t believe it would happen”.

This article was originally featured in Insight Magazine, subscribe for your free copy every quarter here.