Whilst glass is one of the safest options for balcony edge protection, it is fragile by nature. All balconies require toughened safety glass, however whether Heat Strengthened, Tempered, Heat soaked and either monolithic or toughened, it naturally has additional stresses in the glass. Whilst the stresses increase impact resistance, they also create a spontaneous fracture, if there is severe impact, vandalism, or if Nickel Sulphide inclusion triggers a failure. As part of the CDM responsibilities, it is therefore essential to know what the replacement strategy is and how this affects the design. Sapphire has created an innovative glass removal and replacement method that provides the following key benefits:

  • All works can be carried out from the balcony without using any balconies below and without needing access equipment like scaffolding.
  • All tools, equipment and personnel required are tethered, harnessed or restrained.
  • All balcony components which need removing have straps, trays, or restraints designed for them so no loose parts can fall.
  • All products and equipment can be transported through a typical building.

Glass replacement sequence

Using Sapphire’s specialist equipment, this 12 step typical process can be used to replace glass on most standard Cassette® balconies:

  1. The area at ground level should be secured under the balcony to prevent access by others.
  2. After temporary protection has been removed, the capping or handrail and any fascias are removed around the affected panel.
  3. Next, the Sapphire hoist with lifting bar attached is positioned over the glass centre line.
  4. A deck stop is fitted to the balcony to prevent the hoist from moving the wrong direction during replacement.
  5. Slings are looped around between the deck board edge and the glass, then pulled up the outside of the glass. These are attached to the top of the lifting bar, and threaded through glass suckers to hold the glass securely.
  6. With a catch box in place to catch and retain components, glass clamps are removed.
  7. The hoist jib is raised until the bottom of the glass is above the deck and manoeuvred back to a position where the panel can be safely removed from the slings.
  8. The frame is turned through 90˚ and re-loaded with the replacement panel and secured as previously.
  9. The hoist is then manoeuvred back to the gap and up to the deck stop.
  10. The replacement glass panel is moved into position and fixings secured.
  11. The panel is then spaced and adjusted for height, then finally tightened.
  12. With the panel securely fixed, any fascias, capping and handrails can be reinstalled.