Can brise soleil systems be built offsite?

The construction industry is embracing modern methods of construction in which offsite fabrication and assembly can lead to faster build programmes, reduced cost, less waste, and improved health and safety on building sites.

In a nutshell: 

  • Modern methods of construction (MMC) can be applied to brise soleil projects
  • Offsite construction reduces time working at height and minimises disruption to other sub-contractors and the public
  • Offsite construction for brise soleil systems is based on ‘cassette’ assemblies
  • Timber and large aluminium systems may not be suitable for offsite construction if it compromises safety
  • Façade specialists can advise what designs are suitable for offsite fabrication and assembly

But can MMC (and modular construction in particular) be applied to brise soleil projects? The short answer is yes. Many suppliers are embracing offsite construction with ‘cassette’ assemblies for standard and bespoke brise soleil systems.

However, the longer answer begins with ‘it depends’, and is often determined by the size and weight of the system.

Although the majority of brise soleil systems have aluminium blades, timber is still popular. But it’s also heavier. Even larger aluminium systems can be heavy and unwieldy. And on construction sites, where health and safety is paramount, anything that increases the risk during lifting, handling and installation should be avoided.

Façade specialists can advise on a project-by-project basis what designs are suitable for offsite fabrication and assembly, and what systems need to be constructed onsite. Even then there will be variables, with larger systems (say, over 3m for vertical brise soleil systems) best split into more manageable, multiple sections.

The benefits of offsite construction are significant, especially where access is difficult. It reduces time working at height and minimises the disruption to other sub-contractors and the public. However, it’s still important to weigh up all the pros and cons – your façade specialist will help you with this.

Did you know?

Maple’s range of brise soleil systems, including our lightweight Zenith blade system and Aurora aerofoil blades, use a modular cassette design for quick and efficient installation.

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