Innovation is an inherent value at Sapphire. From our roots innovation has been a key driver in our growth. Working on the theory that an hour in the factory saves ten on site, we continually innovate around prefinished solutions. Initially, with balustrades, we created systems which meant that they arrived at site prefinished for fixing down. Now more than ever with balcony innovation is fundamental to our success and the rapid market share of our Glide-On™ Cassette® Balconies.
Realising there must be a better way than installing Bolt-On balconies, we invested substantial time and resources starting in 2012. We launched an initial patent application in 2012 which has evolved into the current market leading system with a combination of over 50 patent and registered design applications. This substantial investment has enabled the install of 20+ balconies installed in a single day on various projects, with a 2017 set record of 36 balconies in just over 6 hours.
Innovations around balconies have also led to our anchors being able to achieve half the allowed L/180 deflection required, to solve the common market problem of ‘bouncy balconies’. Deck finishes, soffits, drainage, cold bridging, balustrade fixings, etc. all have been researched, improved and many have been acknowledged for their innovation by the approval of patents and registered designs in both the UK and various other countries too.
Product innovation is a key facilitator for the improved speeds and safety of balcony install. Given that our Glide-On™ Cassette® system has broken away entirely from the bottom up, traditional bolt-on balcony method, process innovation has also been integral. This includes lorry loading techniques, internal door guards, counterbalance crane attachments, etc. We maintain and supply a suite of equipment to support installers on site.
Some projects have required specific innovations around unique challenges. This has included roof hoists to install balcony stacks long after the tower crane has been dismantled (see video below), and safety screens to crawl the outside of buildings to form an edge guard from falls, wind and vertigo.