It’s not every day that the planet’s biggest companies award new assignments. We were enormously proud when in 2019 we got to work on the major expansion of the AB InBev site in Hoegaarden. From the initial stability calculations to the opening speech of then-Prime Minister Wilmès: Project Manager Maarten Roes gladly takes us along to one of edibo’s milestones.

New production line with a tight deadline

Between May 2019 and April 2021 we signed a very prestigious realisation to our name. The world’s largest beer manufacturer AB InBev relied on us for the expansion of their Hoegaarden site, comprising of a total of 21,000 m² of new industrial constructions, including:

  • 19,500 m2 of storage and production space
  • 1,500 m2 of offices and social areas
  • 12,000 m² infrastructure developments around the new buildings

This project’s centre of gravity was the construction of an added production line for their bottling plant, where tens of thousands of additional cans and bottles will be filled on a daily basis; not to mention a deadline that was set in stone. Meanwhile, the other activities at the site would just keep going.

Design & Build as a second nature

“This project took place according to the Design & Build Principle”, Project Manager Maarten reminisces. “This means that from a very early stage we needed to come to an agreement on the overarching design and the stability plans, but, there were many architectural choices still left undecided once the project was actually launched on site.”

“In projects like this and being the main contractor responsible, you need to keep a flexible attitude towards the building consultant and the architect; in the field of planning as well as budget monitoring.”

“It’s evident that strong communication is prioritised in a project of this magnitude. Everybody needs to be aware of even the smallest adaptations. Which is exactly edibo’s forte: not only thanks to our flexible nature but also the in-house expertise required for such a project.”

The challenges

Apart from the Design & Build related challenges, our constructive challengers were also presented with a number of spicy challenges.

1. Double trouble for the new production line

“Besides the building construction and the corresponding stability calculations we also needed to guarantee the stability and bearing capacity of the concrete floor underneath the new production line”, Maarten states. “The point loads of the future production line posed a risk for setting of the concrete due to the inferior quality and irregular bearing capacity of the subsurface. Upon consultation, AB InBev ultimately decided to provide 6,000 m² of concrete floors – underneath these production lines – with a gravel foundation.”

“In order to warrant the success of both constructions – building and production line – we needed to constantly realign our priorities to those of the company responsible for those production lines. A lively, yet fascinating balancing act!”

2. Façade to the image of the legendary Hoegaarden pint

“Completing the façade was maybe not the most complex but definitely the most unique challenge. It had to resemble a tall pint of Hoegaarden. We managed this by using insulated pre-cast concrete panels at the base and white polycarbonate sheets at the top. We maintained this concept all around the building.”

3. ¿Hablas español?

“AB InBev is a BEL 20-listed company that is known all around the world. Hence, there’s a very real chance you’ll have to deal with other languages. Within this project, we cooperated with a Spanish architectural firm (Arquid) and with IPS, an international engineering firm. Site meetings were a constant mixture of English, French and Spanish.”

Typical edibo?

What is it that made this project into a tailor-made edibo cooperation? “For me, our design, stability and financial flexibility, yet also our Design & Build expertise, customer friendliness and transparent mentality were the absolute key points of this success story. The fact that we are able to succeed in delivering realisations for global actors is something that may definitely incite pride. It’s not every time the prime minister of your country gives a speech at the official opening, is it?”

What project glorifies your world?

Rest assured, we don’t only get excited for global projects. The most important aspect of a project is that we are able to cooperate in changing your world and that of your stakeholders or customers for the better.

What can we do for you? We as constructive challengers are at the ready to realise projects at a global level. Take a look at our references to get a better idea of our fields of expertise and contact us for a non-binding meeting.