Five Factors for MMC Success

9th October, 2019

Modular solutions are a fast-developing trend in the residential building sector reacting to factors like the skills shortages, Brexit uncertainty and efficiency.

Sapphire is at the forefront of this trend when it comes to offsite-manufactured balconies. Thanks to their commitment to product innovation they have developed pioneering balcony design and installation techniques for beautiful, high quality balconies that can be installed faster than any other on the market with improved safety. Sapphire's patent-protected Glide- On™ system is the first real alternative to traditional balconies, combining the benefits of prefinished Cassette® balconies with rapid installation using their own innovative connectors.

Five factors for success

Sapphire believe the approach to balconies needs to include 5 key areas;

1. Quick install

With many of the MMC crane time becomes the major constraint. An approach which can minimise this could drastically reduce cost and provide greater flexibility. The simplicity of Sapphire's unique Glide-On™ approach has allowed time required for install to be dramatically reduced.

2. Lightweight

MMC often attempt to reduce slab thicknesses but thinner slabs and different materials are often not as strong as traditional RC frames. Minimising the forces with a lighter balcony can reduce the strain on the connections and help ensure rigid balconies are achieved. Sapphire Cassette® frames are made using mechanically fixed aluminium, resulting in balcony can be 1/3 of the weight of a typical bolt-on steel frame.

3. Complete offsite manufacture

With minimising labour on site being a key driver to modular builds, ensuring a balcony is fully assembled offsite including all soffits and fixings is essential, as well as high quality control standards. Not only do Sapphire's 'Balcony Passport™' app means that balcony quality checks need to be made and documented, before a balcony can reach the next stage.

4. Standardised yet flexible

Combining a modular approach with bespoke sizes means that tried and tested design details can be used to create an efficient product which still looks bespoke. Sapphire's Cassette® balconies work to a typical 400mm module yet are made to the exact dimensions and unique aesthetic detail required.

5. Design-focused approach

Offsite manufacture requires maximum coordination to achieve optimal success. Not only does this design out issues which would have been detected on site, but lessons are learnt and can be applied from the outset.

Offsite in action

Sapphire's Glide-On™ Cassette® Balconies are well proven on modular construction projects, one of which is Pomona Wharf in Manchester. After hitting the target of 23 balconies in one day, installers went on to install a further 34 balconies in just 6 hours and 13 minutes. That's average of 10.9 minutes per balcony - a new record for Sapphire and beyond the possibilities of traditional bolt-on balconies.

Trinity in Salford, Manchester featured bespoke anchors cast into precast concrete panels and achieved an average of over 30 balconies installed per day and excellent rigidity. Sapphire's Rigid.Ready.Right. brand promise guarantees balconies will achieve L/360 rigidity every time.

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