5.700m2, four building phases and a series of unexpected challenges that seriously tested our flexibility. In 2019, we started renovating the former Caterpillar buildings in Gosselies. The new owners will move in soon: biotech company MaSTherCell, now acquired by the American multinational Catalent. After the renovation, the renowned company – specialised in cell and immunotherapy – will have a new production hall, lab areas, office space and a storage facility.
Two-fold start assignment
In 2019, industrial project developer CoCEPTIO submitted a quotation request for the production and installation of new steel roof constructions and technical slatted floors in the existing buildings on site. The objective was to provide future technology, such as numerous air groups and air ducts and electrical systems on a separate technical floor level above the cleanrooms.
Our constructive challengers worked out an optimised stability study, founding the cooperation between us, CoCEPTIO and the client. The big challenge during this first phase of the works was that the existing roof structure proved to be far too light to carry the intended load. Therefore, we suggested a two-level steel construction. By standardising as much as possible and by placing steel beams every 1.20m, we managed to optimise the construction.
Additional difficulty was the limited range of movement we had – just over 5 metres in height –to place the new constructions; we had to deploy specialised cranes in order to complete the works.
New owners, new developments
After the acquisition in 2020, the originally Belgian company got new, American owners at the wheel. Because this new party wanted to continue building according to their own trusted standards and BIM-methods, we had to pause the project and revise it together.
Meanwhile, it became more and more clear that additional works were required on site that were not included in the original budgeting. This led to a number of added building phases.
The soakaway below the existing concrete floors seemed to contain material that swells up when it comes into contact with water. As a result, the floors were no longer level.
As requested by the commissioner, we broke up these floors. Outside on the parking lot, we proceeded with processing the rubble of the floor material. The result: a new soakaway in crushed concrete that we could almost entirely incorporate into the building. The residual soakaway was removed and disposed.
New foundations and concrete floors
Before casting the new concrete floors, all the foundations had to be revised as well. Due to the added load to the roof constructions, the bearing capacity of the existing foundations was no longer sufficient.
After a new study, we started the deep foundations with micropiles and on-site pile-driving. Due to the limited work height, we had to drive foundation piles of 1.5 metres into the ground to then weld the end to the previous pile to the new pile, until we reached the desired depth of 10 metres.
Additional safety requirements
The medical and pharmaceutical industries are already infamous for their strict safety requirements during the building process, but ever since the American acquisition of MaSTherCell, the safety trajectory has become even more intense on site.
The building consultant sent a safety officer to the site every day and there was a daily safety meeting before initiation of the works.
Furthermore, heavy goods traffic on site was strictly limited to loading and unloading of materials. All other site activities were also meticulously supervised. So too the fire-resistant paintworks that for health reasons needed to be performed on weekends and holidays by subcontractors. We always appointed an edibosud project leader, however, to help manage these works.
Delivery in sight
Despite the added works, we managed to never postpone the ultimate deadline of this project. The summer of 2022 is still highlighted in our schedules to deliver project-Catalent. Congratulations are certainly in order for our constructive challengers, who also had a lot to do with this.
How flexible do you want your industrial contractor to be?
At edibosud, you as architect, building consultant or industrial project developer can count on a general contractor who is not fazed by the slightest diversion to the construction plans. Thanks to our strong team from work preparation to site installation, we keep the most diverging scenarios in mind, in order to shift as flexible as possible, if needed.