Sapphire’s first in class Glide-On balconies chosen for First Central homes

A glide-on balcony system, specially developed by Sapphire Balustrades for residential projects, has enabled faster, simpler installation of 119 projecting balconies at First Central, a striking new residential development in North West London. Sapphire’s combination of offsite manufactured balcony units or ‘cassettes’ and innovative glide-on connectors saves time and cost for housebuilders, developers and contractors. The individual balconies, complete with glass balustrades and sub-deck, simply ‘glide’ on to pre-erected connection brackets. Fascias, soffits and positive drainage systems can all be built into the cassette offsite, further reducing time on site. Balconies for First Central are fitted with a positive drainage system to a soffit/drip tray which reduces the risk of façade staining and water falling through the deck onto residents below. With many balconies over six square metres this also fulfilled the drainage requirements for flat roofs and balconies in NHBC Standards 7.1.

Sapphire manufactured balconies for First Central at its Winchester production facility while balcony connections were being completed on site. The scheme used cast-in Schoeck anchors to provide a thermal break and Sapphire’s brackets connected directly to these, taking the bracket from the thermal break within the cavity to outside of the finished façade. By taking a ‘modular’ manufacturing approach Sapphire is able to maximise the efficiencies associated with producing standard, repeatable balcony units, whilst still allowing design variations to meet specific project requirements. Eight different balcony widths were specified for First Central ranging from 3.3m to 5.3m to suit apartment size.

The high quality balconies for First Central incorporate glazed balustrades from Sapphire’s Crystal frameless, structural glass system. Providing the perfect finishing touch, Crystal combines an elegantly minimal look with structural strength and robust performance. The structural glass panels, with no vertical supports, create an understated architectural lightness. At First Central, the use of toughened laminated glass with an obscure PVB interlayer creates both an attractive aesthetic effect and enhanced privacy for balcony users. Polyester powder coated aluminium cappings complete the contemporary styling of the balcony balustrades whilst also ensuring high corrosion resistance.

Nick Haughton, Marketing Manager at Sapphire Balustrades, comments: “First Central is the latest in a number of prestigious residential developments to choose our unique Glide-On balcony system. Offering the first real alternative to traditional balcony design and construction, this patent-protected system combines the quality assurance and cost efficiencies of offsite production with fast installation using our own innovative balcony brackets. On one of our recent residential projects we installed a record of 34 offsite manufactured balcony units, including positive drainage glass balustrades and sub-deck, in just over six hours.”