MBS builds and installs façades for student accommodation complex in central Antwerp in record time

Limburg-based timber-frame construction company Machiels Building Solutions (MBS) began assembling the façades of a student accommodation and apartment complex this week, as part of the new Roosevelt Square development in the centre of Antwerp. Within less than a fortnight, both the front and back walls of this nine-storey building will be finished and ready for use.

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This innovative construction technique was a deliberate choice by Urbicoon, a dynamic player on the real-estate market and an investor in the Roosevelt Square project. Right from the concept phase, the building's sustainability and a high level of prefabrication were key priorities. Machiels Building Solutions' prefabricated timber-frame façade elements offer a host of benefits, not least quick construction times, reduced disruption for local residents, guaranteed quality and a top-class thermal envelope that is both air and watertight. All these factors combined make timber-frame construction a financially attractive option as well.

Machiels Building Solutions is a pioneering company developing products and solutions tailored to customers' needs. "At our industrial production facility in Genk, the timber-frame components are finished using a ventilated curtain-wall system. This system consists of innovative prefabricated brick-slip panels, produced by Limburg-based brick manufacturer Vandersanden Group. The exterior joinery of aluminium window casements is then built into the timber-frame components, which can be transported to the building site in their fully finished state. This is a first for Flanders and represents the construction method of the future", says MBS General Manager Filip Vercauteren.

This is an attitude strongly endorsed by the project's investor. "The collapsible front walls facilitate future alterations: if and when the building's purpose changes, the building can be dismantled relatively easily and given a new front wall that meets the standards applying at the time", explains Urbicoon's Managing Director Herman Vluymans.