Elephant Park balcony order provides ‘jumbo’ logistics challenge


Sapphire is bringing residents of two major apartment buildings in a new London development their own bit of ‘open space’ with offsite-manufactured balconies. ~~Part of Lendlease’s massive Elephant Park redevelopment at Walworth, south of the Thames, buildings H4 and H5 were built b to designs by architects Alford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Designs for H4 and H5 included balconies – 235 and 184 respectively – to be manufactured offsite. The chosen specialist manufacturer was Reading-based Sapphire Balconies, whose products incorporate the best in materials and technology with minimal environmental impact. The project brought interesting challenges that sparked fresh thinking and led to new solutions.

Delivering more than 400 balconies – mostly to a standard specification, but some with variations – to two installation subcontractors working on the adjacent buildings, meant Sapphire had to adapt its usual central London delivery strategies.

To comply with the site’s traffic management plan – and to minimise difficulties on congested local roads – Sapphire prioritised manoeuvrability over capacity and switched from articulated lorries to smaller rigid vehicles. This had the added advantage of reducing pressure on site space for holding the balconies ahead of being craned into position.

For these two buildings, Sapphire manufactured a total of 419 Glide-On™ aluminium Cassette® balconies, all featuring a new extruded handrail profile and vertical bar balustrades to the architects’ specification.

Most of the balconies had controlled drainage, with rainwater channelled down 400mm soffit trays to discharge on the outer edge – preventing staining of the façade or flooding of balconies beneath. However, some of the balconies had guttters along the front to avoid splashing passers by. They were all designed originally without soffits, but some of these were added later where necessary to ensure compliance with updated fire safety regulations. Some balconies were also provided with privacy screens. Inset balconies were provided for a single stack on one of the buildings.

As an early stage of the process, Sapphire M30 anchors, incorporating thermal breaks and factory-assembled stubs, were cast into the floor slabs. These anchors are designed to provide superior rigidity through the two-piece galvanised steel support arms which are added in readiness to receive the Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies.

Standard 400mm modular Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies. Cassette® balconies were preassembled offsite, including the balustrades, decking and soffits.

Cassette® balconies were transported with balconies ‘nested’ on each pallet making transport both cost effective & safe. Balconies were pre-slung offsite ready for installation upon arrival. Once lifted into position, the Cassettes® simply Glide-On™ to the pre-erected support arms, before completing the simple mechanical fixings.

Elephant Park is a vast £2.5 billion, 28 acre redevelopment by Lendlease at Elephant and Castle, in the heart of the capital. This landmark project is being delivered in partnership with Southwark Council and is primed to deliver significant social value not only to the residents of Elephant Park, but also the surrounding community.

The scheme will bring 3,000 new homes with both rental and ownership opportunities, 1,000 new jobs and up to 50,000 sqft of workspace to the area once complete, as well as extensive green spaces, shops and amenities. Lendlease has taken a holistic approach not only generating homes but nurturing a neighbourhood and sense of community surrounding Elephant Park.

Elephant Park has set itself the high ambition of being among the most sustainable inner-city urban regeneration projects in the world, aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025 and absolute zero by 2040. This is in line with the challenging environmental targets that Lendlease has set itself

As London moves towards a cleaner, greener environment, the Sapphire Balconies at Elephant Park will enable residents to enjoy their surroundings for many years to come.

For more information please visit www.sapphire.eu.com