When it comes to answering the question of how much brise soleil costs, we’d love to give you a definitive answer.
- The final cost of a brise soleil system will depend on many variables
- There is a large range of materials, coatings and system types available
- System size and project location (where on the building and where in the country) will also affect costs
- Converting bespoke designs to standard products can save money without compromising design intent
- It’s important to talk to a brise soleil specialist early in the design and planning process
But it doesn’t come with a standard price tag – there are just too many variables.
These variables are well known, though – and contribute to a versatile product that can be constructed from a range of materials, with many different designs and finishes for any number of construction projects.
Aluminium is the most popular material for brise soleil, although timber is also used. Aluminium can be less expensive, but it’s never quite as simple as that. Higher grade aluminium (6063 or 55HX and J57S) costs more but responds better to protective coatings that help it last longer.
Timber definitely needs more expensive protective treatment and, being heavier, may require more expensive fittings. Either way, be aware that the cost of both has risen sharply in recent times.
Here, we’re usually talking about the difference between anodising and powder-coating for aluminium. Anodising increases resistance to wear and corrosion, and has an A1 fire rating. But... it’s more expensive.
Standard powder-coating is more cost-effective but doesn’t last as long. However, recent innovations make it a good option. For example, premium powder-coating can look like anodising at much less cost.
The fixing substrate
Costs will vary depending on whether the brise soleil is being attached directly to a curtain wall, steel sub-structure or pre-cast concrete frame. Fixing to a curtain wall is easiest and cheapest, partly because only small, lightweight brise soleil systems can be used. The costs of fixing to steel can be controlled by liaising with steelwork contractors to pre-drill holes prior to construction. Fixing to concrete may also require resin anchors, which increases cost.
A quick look at the wide range of brise soleil systems on the market will tell you that options (and costs) will vary widely. And that’s before you include the bespoke systems that are designed for aesthetic as well as solar shading purposes.
Small blades within pre-assembled cassettes will reduce installation time, while larger, heavier blades require more work on site. Meanwhile, advanced systems with many components will increase the cost of materials, fabrication, assembly, coating and installation.
Yes, size matters. However, as well as the factors mentioned above, it’s important to factor in the cost of heavy-duty brackets and the cost of lifting machinery on site.
The very nature of brise soleil means it’s likely to be installed high above the ground. So, expensive. But site accessibility may also have an impact on cost. You need to think about geographical location too – and potential shipping costs.
What’s the best way to keep on top of the budget?
Understanding the many variables will help, but it’s no substitute for experience. Talking to a brise soleil specialist as soon as possible (pre-tender is best) can help avoid simple but expensive pitfalls. Minor adjustments to the specification that turn non-standard components into ‘off-the-shelf’ could save thousands – and have little or no effect on the overall design intent.
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