Projecting a better image

Richard Twiddy of F. H. Brundle explains how the right balcony can elevate the entire feel of a property.

Whether it is a place for peaceful reflection or a feature spot to host a gathering, there are many reasons why installing a balcony can be the right choice for a development.

Housebuilders and developers must look into the minds of potential buyers and create the right ambience and aspiration at the right price.

The advantages

As well as a visual attraction, balconies undoubtedly add value to a property – and certainly more value than the cost of installing a balcony in the first place.

They are a great selling feature as homeowners want to spend more time outdoors than ever before, and the balcony offers the perfect platform to do just that. But it goes even further. Balconies allow the outdoors to come inside, with fresh air and sunlight improving the wellbeing of the homeowner. As well as this, balconies can still be low maintenance.

Whatever the situation or location, a balcony offers so many advantages. Not only do they provide the opportunity for some wonderful views of a garden or wider landscape, but also a space for growing plants, fruit or vegetables, or the perfect summertime venue for socialising.

Choosing the right balcony

There are number of key things to consider when trying to choose the right balcony for a development.

You need to consider the style of the property you are building to ensure the balcony fits in with the theme and its surroundings. A stainless steel or aluminium balcony can look ultra-modern and further enhance a contemporary property, or if a more traditional look is required, a wrought iron design with a powder-coated finish might just be what is required.

What types of balconies are there?

There are balcony styles to suit all budgets and designs. Options include pre-assembled posts with glass clamps and glass infills, aluminium channel and spigots offering frameless glass balustrades and Juliet option.

Aluminium channel systems that provide a frameless glass balustrade have become increasingly popular, as the glass is secured at low level, allowing an uninter- rupted view. It is also quick to install, as well as low-maintenance and cost effective.

French balconies offer an easy-on-the- eye and easy-to-install solution for both homes and office blocks, with a range of heights and accessories to fit any space. A cost-effective option, the Juliet balcony allows homeowners to enjoy fresh air and light, while also providing protection for an open French door. The balcony offers no floor space, but aesthetically it looks good, being nearly flush with the building.

Newer Juliet balconies boast a revolutionary ‘slide and click’ design for quick installation and can be mounted directly on the masonry, covering widths of up to 3,000 mm. They also offer varying glass thickness, to cover a range of applications.

Alternatively, you could build an integrated system where the balcony is a seamless part of the structure.

When designing and installing balconies, safety has to be paramount. A developer, builder or architect must ensure is that it is the right balcony type for the end user.

There are a wide range of balcony systems on the market, with regulations helping to ensure the developer uses the right balcony in the right application. Balconies tested to BS6180 will provide reassurance on the loading capabilities of the selected product.

Current design trends

Designs are changing all the time, with  consumer lifestyles being a key driver. The biggest difference is people wanting to spend more time outdoors, sitting in the sun and enjoying the delights of outdoor living. Developers are being driven to meet this need by adding balconies and at the same time differentiate their properties with the balcony design.

To meet these changing trends, there has been an increase in lower maintenance stainless steel, aluminium and glass products. The frameless balconies have become increasingly popular as they offer an uninterrupted view.

How can the right balcony elevate my property?

A balcony offers so much; privacy, an uninterrupted view, a chance to escape, and an ideal way of bringing some personality to a property.

As a developer it’s worth bearing in mind that when leaving a newly-built house, often the first thing a prospective buyer will remember is the exquisite balcony.

Richard Twiddy is head of design at F. H. Brundle