Author Archives: Balcony Systems

Garden Balustrade in Mid Wales

It’s a case of ‘mission accomplished’ for a mid-Wales couple whose clear glass balustrade supplied by Balcony Systems has created the ideal safety solution for their elevated patio area while preserving far-reaching views across open countryside.

glass balconyNot only does the 29 metre glass balustrade with Balcony’s proprietary Royal Chrome anodised handrail provide the low-maintenance safety barrier, it also adds the finishing touch at Iain and Jayne Twaddle’s rural self-build home near Newtown – much to their delight.

“Our sloping site presented quite a challenge as we needed to build a stone wall to create a flat patio area with conservatory,” said Jayne. “Then we needed something to go on top of wall that did not destroy the country views and provided the required safety – there’s a drop of more than 1.5m from the top of wall down!

glass balustrade“The glass balcony was the perfect boundary to put on top of the wall which finishes under our patio area. It needed to be safe, and most importantly not spoil the splendid views – we believe we succeeded in our mission!”

Meeting Balcony Systems

Having found Balcony Systems on the internet, the couple decided to visit their Lingfield office and see the products for themselves. “Originally we had planned to use stone posts and rails, but changed our minds once we discovered Balcony Systems,” explained Iain.

glass balustrade during installation and assembly“We arranged to visit Balcony as we wanted to examine the strength of the balustrade first-hand and see how it was fixed. Everyone was extremely helpful and answered all our questions. Their advice was spot-on and technical support has been marvellous as well.”

The couple’s visit also proved helpful for their installation team as they could pass on the shared information to them. “Our builders, Davies, Roberts and Bowen, had not done anything like this before, so they watched the Balcony videos and read the material before starting.

Balcony - during installation“Once they got over the typical traditional builder question of ‘where is the corner post?’ (there isn’t one!) they got on with the job with ease and enjoyed the quality product. I would recommend them for any Mid-Wales/Borders installation.”

Self-cleaning glass

The couple had specified Balcony’s BalcoNano® self-cleaning glass coating on the panels, which dramatically reduces cleaning cycles. This durable protective coating covers the microscopically-pitted surface of glass, making it smooth and water-repellent. Dirt and other deposits cannot cling to the glass surface and either washes away easily or is simply cleaned with water and a cloth.

Balcony garden glass balustrade“As there is a large expanse of glass and being surrounded by fields and lots of farming activities, we felt it would be a good idea,” said Iain. “And yes, it’s keeping cleaner. We’re also impressed with the really good quality handrail – straight and so smooth.”

In conclusion, Jayne and Iain added: “We are really pleased with our Balcony balustrade. It has worked out as a good solution. The effect has been to create a homely border to our property – we love it!”

Glass Balustrades – Ireland

Balcony Systems no-maintenance, affordable glass balustrading solutions have been successfully launched to the Irish market. 

triangle glass balcony

Balustrading specialist Balcony Systems Solutions LTD offers an innovative solution for straight and curved glass balustrades, glass Juliet balconies, glass windbreaks, privacy screens and curved glass patio doors.

Irish climate and Balcony Glass

Irish coastal areas properties, particularly around the popular resort areas of Portrush, Portmore and Portstewart, are exposed to the demanding marine environment. Recently-built painted and galvanised steel balustrades are succumbing to harsh salty elements, discolouration and corrosion and need a serious maintenance.

corrosion on a steel handrailMade of glass and aluminium, the Balcony systems balustrading solutions perform excellent corrosion-resistance and save regular time-consuming and costly maintenance. They only require an occasional wipe clean.

Wide spans with minimum vertical posts increase light in new and renovated properties, luxury homes and apartments. An additional benefit of glass balustrades is wind protection that enables the users to enjoy balconies and terraces in comfot.

Balcony projects in Ireland

Balcony Makes the Point in Hereford

Luxury residential development balustrading project – Aylestone Hill, Hereford.

Penthouse balcony Hereford

Penthouse balcony Hereford

Aluminium and glass balconies are the modern, no-maintenance balustrading solution for contemporary new property developments of all shapes and sizes. Effi Wolff, Managing Director of balustrading specialists Balcony Systems Ltd highlights examples where balcony design is integral to the success of two newbuild projects.

Luxury balustrading project

The Point is a new luxury residential development situated on a prominent 1.25-acre site at the top of Aylestone Hill, Hereford. Developer IE Developments Ltd selected Balcony’s new ‘Royal Chrome’ aluminium handrail finish for 88 metres of balustrading for the 12 apartments and two penthouses.

glass balustrade

glass balustrade

Managing Director Tim Evans says the elegance and simplicity of the Balcony system complements the project’s aim of offering a practical, stylish and high quality living environment with minimal maintenance requirements.

As the glass panels are fixed from the inside, any replacements can be done easily and safely from the balcony itself, rather than hiring costly and time-consuming scaffolding or ‘cherry pickers’.

Regulations and Standards

Tim adds: “Recent changes to the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 put the onus on builders and designers to incorporate greater health and safety considerations into what they build.

glass balcony corner

glass balcony corner

The Balcony system addresses the long-term practicalities and maintenance issues ti ensure compliance with the regulations. This is a real plus, as no one wants to go back to a job if things go wrong.

The Balcony system represents a real breakthrough for those seeking ab inspirational, affordable alternative to railings ar spindles and meets all relevant European and British Standards, including BS 6180 and BS 6399. As the system relies on the handrail to provide the required strengh, in many cases the glass blustrades require no vertical supports. This provides a clear view to the outside, looking like structural glazing at a fraction of the cost.

Railing System

stainless steel handrails

stainless steel handrails

The 10mm toughened glass panels are held securely top and bottom, with no need for unsightly clamps, clips or ‘lugs’ to spoil the look. This structural integrity also allows for longer or wider runs without the need for posts or clamps, while Juliette balconies do not require vertical posts at all.

Handrails are available in powder-coated white or anodized in silver, bronze or Roya Chrome, which looks like stainless steel, but without the associated discolouration problems.

The system is compatible with timber, steel, stone, brick and concrete walls, making it suitable for all types of applications. It connects to walls using A2 or A4 stainless stee fixings with a permitted load line of 0.74 kN/m and a point load to infill of 1.0kN.

Elegance, simplicity and low costs

clear glass balcony Hereford

clear glass balcony Hereford

At Oldham, the Balcony system met the specifications to maximise light, satisfy strict aesthetic requirements and enhance the feeling of spaciousness at luxury retirem ent apartments, built by Wiggett Construction Ltd. According to client Renaissance Living, the elegance and simplicity of Balcony’s “Balconette” Juliette Balcony system provides the secure 1.1 metre high balustrade to satisfy Building Regulations, but without any ‘visually intrusive’ bars and “at very reasonable comparative cost.”

Curved glass solutions

Balcony also provided the technical advice and design criteria for curved balconies and curved sliding patio door access for two large penthouse apartments.

“Having discussed the technical aspects with Balcony and learned about the curved sliding door system, which was very reasonably priced, we had our solution,” explains Dave Higgins, Projects Director at Wiggett Construction. “Before then, we had not been able to find an answer to the structural curves in glass/aluminium on the British market.

“Balcony’s solution is both aesthetically satisfying and achieved considerable economies on other quoted systems – none of which could deal with the curves. Their installation teams also integrated well with the contract programme and we are extremely satisfied with the company’s contribution to this successful project,” adds Dave.

Balcony renovation

Balcony refurbishment project - London NW3 Imperial Towers

Before the renovation

After the refurbishment

Glass Balustrades at Trent Park, Riverside Nottingham

External balconies have become an appealing feature of Nottingham’s prestigious apartment building that sits on the banks of the River Trent by the woodland beauty in Colwick Country Park.

curved glass balustrades Nottingham

Hundreds of metres of aluminium and glass were supplied by Balcony Systems. Glass balusrading plays a key role in a buildings visual appeal and helps to secure sales. Modern balcony styles retain clear panoramic views of surrounding area.

The residents enjoy convenient access to fresh air and surrounding views. Curved glass balconies follow the building’s rounded lines and enhance light through the full height appartment windows.

Innovation in balcony design has resulted in an elegant and cost-effective system available on the British market. Glass and aluminium are low-maintenance materials that require almost no regular maintenance to keep the structure looking as good as new.

The Trent Park development has won a series of high-profile industry awards: accolades from the Daily Mail Awards for Best Architecture, Best Apartment and Best Development, Your New Home Daily Telegraph Award for Best Waterside Development.

Art of glass in London

VBS delivers balcony excellence in London.

Glass Balustrades in LondonClear glass balconies are a striking architectural design feature of the landmark Baltimore Wharf development in London’s docklands. Kathy Wilkinson explains for Balcony Views how Viking Balcony Systems Ltd developed a custom-built balcony solution, realising the architect’s original vision for this expansive project that will transform the area’s skyline ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

Breathing new life into the former London Arena site, Baltimore Wharf is an exciting and ambitious £150 million mixed development comprising private and affordable housing, retail, leisure and community facilities. Designed by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Inc, it is among several significant construction projects in the Docklands area being undertaken by international construction firm, Ballymore Group.

Construction started three years ago on the 6.8-acre former entertainment site, which is across the water from Ballymore’s recently-completed 50-storey, neon-lit Pan Peninsula residential development. Phase One of the Baltimore Wharf development, which includes more than 600 apartments in five separate residential blocks, is due for completion at the end of 2009.

Glass Balconies in London

As a key architectural feature of the buildings’ external facades, the design and installation of the external balconies required a particularly considered – and inventive – approach. Working closely with the architect and developer, commercial balustrading specialists Viking Balcony Systems Ltd (VBS) developed the bespoke 21st century balcony solution to suit the exacting requirements of the multi-storey buildings and, just as importantly, the £3 million budget.

The result is a ‘one-stop’ balcony system solution including frame cladding, decking and balustrade, delivered flatpacked, complete and ready to install.

VBS was chosen for its ability to offer a complete design, supply and install balustrading package using a no-maintenance glass and aluminium system.

This offers a competitively priced and aesthetic alternative to structural glazing. Instead of posts and structural glass, the aluminium hand-railings take the load to provide all the required strength and support and meet all the relevant building regulations. Utilising the handrail allows the balustrade to span certain lengths without the need for vertical posts. Once these are exceeded, vertical posts must be introduced.

Because the Balcony system takes the load at the handrail, rather than the base, up to 3.8-metre widths of straight glass balustrading can be achieved without the need for vertical posts.

balconies installationAccording to VBS Director Allan Grainger, their ability to meet the architect’s original balcony design criteria – to present a perfectly flat front fascia to seamlessly fit the main steel and the glazing track – was of fundamental importance. A new aluminium handrail, finished in Royal Chrome to look like shiny stainless steel, and lower track extrusion were specifically designed for the Baltimore Wharf apartments. This allows for relatively simple fitting to the main steelwork. Handrails are fitted to window mullions using a special single stage cladding that clips on to the speciallydesigned lower track.

Feature fascia

“Clear structural glass was originally specified. However our solution using 4mm + 4mm laminated glass to retain a clear view, without the need for posts and at a very competitive price satisfied the key requirements for this prestigious project,” explains Grainger.

“What is new about the system is that it is the first time VBS has provided a flush-fitting anodised extruded aluminium feature fascia which provides a detail to match the main buildings’ window frames. This hides the steel balcony supports to present a neat front face to the structure.”

glass balustrades appartment buildingGrainger suggests that while the fascia is not in itself revolutionary, what made the design concept such a success was ‘going the extra mile’ to ensure that the original vision of the architect was maintained during the design period.

This was achieved through close collaboration with the architect and developer from the early planning stages to meet the challenges of making the design work with no posts and to keep the structure down to a minimum. Measuring 3.0 metres x 2.0 metres and 2.3 metres x 2.0 metres, the balconies did not require any posts as they were within the ‘no post limits’. Because the VBS system takes the load at the handrail, rather than the base, up to 3.8-metre widths of straight glass balustrading can be achieved without the need for vertical posts.

An added advantage of the system – particularly for high-rise buildings – is that panel replacement, if needed, can be done quickly and safely from inside. Panels are supplied up to 1.2 metres in length for ease of transportation and installation.

Well-engineered

flat packing of glass balustradesImpressed with the balcony system, SOM Project Architect Wilhelm Broeker praised the VBS team’s approach, concept and delivery, saying, “VBS came up with a very convincing proposal to meet our design intent. The result is a distinctive balcony and a well-engineered product. We are very pleased with how VBS has executed the entire concept, from the initial planning to the final installation. It’s a very tidy and contemporary effect.”

As well as supplying 377 balconies for the project, VBS also solved the logistical difficulties of moving them through the buildings. The team spent over six months developing a flat-pack balcony that could be lifted into place and installed in the shortest time possible.

packed balconyFlat packing is the answer to moving goods through a multi-storey building, as Grainger explains, “The flat-pack concept works extremely well, just like the furniture you buy from a certain Swedish retailer! There’s no transit damage as all the items are securely protected. Installation is also much simpler and quicker as all the components are together on site before the balcony is craned into place.”

Although it will be some time before residents can make full use of the extra outdoor space and clear views provided by the glass balconies, their impact is not lost on Ballymore Group’s Building Envelope Manager, Mark Jackson, who comments, “Balconies are a desirable addition to apartments as they create an extra, practical living space where occupants can sit outside and relax. The clean lines of the aluminium hand railing and glass panels create sharp-looking balconies that really enhance the external façades.

“The VBS bolt-on concept has also worked really well for us and made installation a much simpler and faster process. Having all the materials in place to complete the balcony once it is in place definitely makes life easier. Having one supplier for the entire balcony package also brings a number of advantages in terms of overseeing the entire installation, keeping to the client’s schedule and the budget on track.”

In conclusion, Grainger says, “This new system represents an important breakthrough and one which can readily be applied to future commercial and residential projects, whatever their size. It shows that VBS can adapt the system and provide additional features to it, which greatly enhance the design of balconies. The design is very contemporary and adds to the aesthetics of these modern buildings by providing visual simplicity to the architecture.”

Whether made of stone, wood or cast iron and now glass, the balcony is an enduring and popular building feature that has been with us for centuries. Design has continued to evolve to meet the changing face of architecture. The Baltimore Wharf project represents another step forward in the evolution of balcony design, taking it firmly into the 21st century.