Solid renovations result in magnificent office
Since September, our colleagues from Ghent are able to use our office in Zwijnaarde, where we renovated the former head office of Thomas Cook into a beautiful office building. Renovations that did not go quite as smoothly as planned!
Extensive round of study
Before the actual renovation, there was a study period. Only half of building plans we had were correct, with inaccuracies ranging from incorrect dimensions to things that were simply not shown on the plans. A surveyor re-measured the entire building, after which our drawing team was able to draw in new, accurate plans. The next step was to see how we could put our 'Colruyt Group puzzle' together in this location.
For our office buildings, we normally work with modular blocks of 1.80 metre by 1.80 metre. This was no easy feat in Zwijnaarde. We had to make choices to make all pieces of the puzzle fit. It's like moving when you buy a house: your old furniture does not always fit seamlessly into those new spaces. Moreover, we had to take into account the carrying capacity of the floor, which is only 300 kg/m², where in our other buildings we work with 500 kg/m². We only found this out after the purchase.
After the extensive study round, we started the works in June 2020. This stage again had its challenges. Three companies were still headquartered in the building under a lease of several months. Disassembling a building with people still working in it is no simple task. Moreover, we could not check everything in those places in advance, so we had to make an estimate here and there without knowing how everything was put together exactly.
We started with the clean-up of the underground car park. We decided to keep our technical units in the basement. This required certain adjustments, including the construction of new shafts. Many installations were in bad shape, but we kept as many as possible. Where necessary, we replaced or revised parts. We could not 'save' all installations, but the burners, for example, did remain in place, albeit with some new parts.
Smart material management
Everything is becoming more expensive, as we experience every day. This is certainly no different for building materials. Thanks to our construction team, we were relatively unaffected by that. Early in the project, they made a good estimate of our needs in terms of insulation and other building materials. At the time, we expected the prices to soar and decided to purchase a lot of materials well in advance. Some materials were kept in stock for months before actually being used. Thanks to the large underground car park, there was no lack of space.