Wood-wool flakes and building regulations spice up sustainable non-residential construction in Landgraaf (the Netherlands)

The Dutch construction sector focuses heavily on eco-friendly solutions. One example of this is the ambulance station in Landgraaf. This ingenious piece of sustainable non-residential construction is an ecological tour de force. Moreover, the building also looks sustainable, with its larch exterior cladding and FSC® wood-wool flake insulation. That is why construction company Bouwbedrijf Van Gerven turned to the Belgian firm Machiels Building Solutions. The fact that the construction technology allowed work to proceed at top speed was the icing on the cake, because the new ambulance station was urgently needed. Fortunately, thanks to the efficient prefabrication in MBS's controlled production facility, the construction process was able to meet the tight schedule.

The Municipal Health Service (GGD) for South Limburg faced a major challenge recently. The organisation urgently needed a new ambulance station. Not only that but, if possible, it also had to be practical, sustainable and carbon-neutral. This led construction company Bouwbedrijf Van Gerven to choose MBS as its partner for this project. By fully engineering the project in advance, the client and the contractor had cast-iron guarantees about the timetable and the budget. After that, MBS was able to get started with this sustainable non-residential building.
 

Sustainable non-residential construction is immune to inclement weather
Speed of construction was a key factor for the ambulance station project, making this absolutely perfect for MBS because by preparing everything at our production facility in Genk, we avoid delays caused by inclement weather. Its controlled production environment also ensures that we can fit the pipes and cables required for electricity, air treatment and air conditioning in the best possible conditions. And an ambulance station has quite a lot of these... Once the prefabricated panels were ready, they went to the site for immediate installation.
 

Like a duck to Dutch water
Genk in the Belgian province of Limburg and Landgraaf in the Dutch province of the same name are only about 40 km apart, but there is a national border between them, and Belgium and the Netherlands have different fire safety legislation, building regulations and methodologies. However, thanks to various previous projects – such as the Maankwartier (Moon Quarter) in Heerlen, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, the De Kwekerij housing development and The Cube (a project involving student housing and public facilities), both of them also in Utrecht – MBS could take to this project like a duck to water. Drawing on this experience, we produced a design that complied with the Netherlands' Building Decree. This allowed us to get started quickly on rolling out a sustainable utility building. The project involved four phases: 

  1. The MBS engineers interpreted the architect's plans and translated the resulting vision into prefabricated panels in a timber frame. As an eco-friendly build was key for both the client and the architect, the engineers ensured that this sustainable vision was reflected in the finished timber-frame façade. By thinking ahead, the engineers anticipated potential production problems. Working with the architect, they optimised the design to keep production running smoothly.
     
  2. At the production facility the engineers' plans formed the basis for the quick, efficient and accurate prefabrication of the panels. MBS has a standard procedure for this that increases the speed and minimises the margin of error.
     
  3. The insulation with wood-wool flakes in this project is again anything but standard. Through strategically placed fill holes, the MBS employees blew the wood-wool flakes into the spaces between the panels in the timber frame. This enhanced the ecological added value, because this is a 100% natural product with an FSC® label (in other words, if it ever comes to that, everything can be recycled). A sticker covers the fill opening, ensuring that it remains accessible for subsequent inspection.
     
  4. The exterior cladding of the panels for this sustainable utility building was made of larch, in line with the architect's specifications. Other types of wood are also possible. Every tree species has its own characteristic appearance and its particular cost price: the combination of these determines which wood is the best choice for any given project. However, all the wood has an FSC® label, indicating that at least one sapling is planted for every tree we use. In this way we always live up to Machiels' Closing the Circle philosophy.

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