Incorporating balcony enclosures into your development is easier than you may think. We have detailed below the process carried out for the renovation of
Barton Village, carried out by City West Housing Trust.
City West Housing Trust employed the services of HLP Design and their consultants Savills. What to do with the balconies was a major part of the design and consultation process. There were major problems with the balconies leading to water ingress and corrosion of the main building structure. The balcony slabs were showing signs of decay. Balconies weren't being used by residents and they were proving to be a large problem area.
Initially the proposal was to enclose the balconies with curtain walling. However, this would have effectively made the balconies part of the primary facade which would have meant they would become a room in the apartment. There were several reasons why this option was rejected:
- Reinforcing balcony slabs was required to cope with the additional imposed load of curtain walling
- Light influx would have been reduced and would have impacted on the light levels in the adjacent room
- Adequate light and ventilation could have been a problem, particularly in summer
- Change of use from balcony to additional room that would be very small and of little use
- Loss of balcony space and therefore reduction of classified amenity space
- Loss of outdoor space for residents to enjoy
The process of finding a solution continued. A Customer Steering Group was formed who were involved in the whole process including contractor selection. Windoor had been working on blocks in the area and were invited by City West to inspect the blocks at Barton Village and investigate the possibilities. The desire of the clients, residents, architectural design and the programme of the main contractors, Bullock Construction, were met whilst meeting the structural and financial constraints of the project. A design including a sunspace for every apartment was submitted.
The contract for sunspaces went out to tender. System specification and its value in terms of energy efficiency, the supply chain and timely fulfilment, partnering and training facilities throughout the whole process were all part of the tender specification and of course the price. City West awarded the contract to Windoor and the final design was agreed. A sample balcony was created for the approval of City West staff and residents.
Windoor worked alongside HLP Design providing all the technical information and project drawings required to complete the renovation and completion of the wintergardens. The partnership was also strengthened by the positive partnering between Windoor, the Main Contractor Bullock Construction and the specialist sub-contractor installer McKean Developments Limited.
Around the table the 'order of works' was determined to ensure minimal disruption to the renovation schedule and the swift installation of the balcony stacks once 'wet works' were complete.
Pre-fabricated in the Windoor factory, the system arrives on site ready to be fixed to the building. The interface between the balcony and the facade is made with aluminium flashings and EPDM gaskets. The process is clean and can be done alongside other trades with little or no disruption. The balconies were installed over the winter and even under the horrendous weather conditions the project was comleted ahead of schedule.
Once the external works were complete, the process of installing the floors and ceilings within the balcony spaces commenced. In this instance, City West had chosen timber decking as a floor finish and Gyproc ceiling board with a painted finish.
Once the whole renovation was complete, the residents moved back in. Training by Windoor was provided to tenants on the use of balconies, together with information on how to obtain maximum energy efficiency by managing the system appropriately.
The free solar energy provided by the enclosed balconies was a significant contributing factor to this development achieving the Energy Efficient Retrofit/Refurbishment of the Year Award at the Energy Awards in London. Following completion of this first block a further three blocks were completed resulting in the stunning upgrade of Barton Village.