2016 Infrastructure Innovator of the Year, UK – BalconIE Ltd
The BalconIE concept has been developed to simplify, re-engineer and add a further level of safety within the construction industry from the ‘business as usual’ approach to cantilever balcony instruction.
Quoting from our sales brochure ‘The revolutionary Plate System is a new generation of building material bringing ship building and civil engineering to the threshold of a new era’ (Lloyds Register).
BalconIE TM Ltd and our partner IE Ltd have now moved this approach further providing a structurally engineered and Architecture approach, being part of a new collaborative and progressive team looking in detail at the typical and specific issues of this widely used element within the building industry.
The development team consists of a skilled and very experienced group of Architects, Project Management and specialist Engineers, supported by further 3rd party peer reviewers, ensuring every issue has been addressed within the design and development of the system.
The team agreed early in the process that the new steel plate system must exceed all codes and basic requirements, especially with subjects such as crowd loading, which currently are not a requirement of UK regulations or codes for Residential Design for example.
From experience, the ‘business as usual’ approach requires numerous components, which are fixed usually to the outer face of the substrate floor or column. To achieve these connections especially mid to high rise, requires very early design details, placing of thermal inserts into formwork, and exact setting out to ensure the loose components will allow for the eventual fixing. When presenting a final balcony unit for fixing, various issues exist such as concealed bolt connections, need to work beyond the slab edge at the outer extremities of the building, and with potentially numerous penetrations through the fabric which require weatherproofing and allowance for tolerances etc.
Instead, BalconIE Ltd have developed a single tray system, which fixes to the upper surface of the structure, using prefabricated insert channels ideally, but can be via ‘through bolt’ type arrangements. The simple trays are designed to provide inherent code compliance for all Architectural requirements such as waterproofing, upstands, overflows and drainage. Speed of install is a significant advantage of the system.
Typical installation would see the unit being landed on the upper surface of the structure, locating pre-set bolt positions within the insert rails, and simply bolted into position from the upper surface of the slab, the operatives working safely on the slab edge itself, away from the external face with safety lanyards etc., until the unit is finally bolted. The safety aspect is further enhanced by the development of the central pin connection, which can support the whole unit during the bolting procedure, exceeding shear forces and loads, hence the single pin locates and provides total safety.
The new design has looked at and tested all loadings, in addition to Thermal issues ( the system has an inbuilt Thermal resistance as well as a simple thermal break used in install), and all are exceeded in every way from simple code compliance, the units being developed for A1-A7 load type criteria factor of safety of x 1.5, furthermore the construction is 100% recyclable or reusable.
The team is led by our CEO Mr Peter Packham, a Chartered Architect and Project Manager and we are actively promoting the use of our system, please see our website, www.BalconIE.co.uk and also our sales brochure which is available on line for download.