Quatuor-Building C, Belgium

A project incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals to create an outstanding office space

Project Details

  • Scheme & Version: BREEAM International New Construction 2016
  • Certification Stage: Design Stage
  • Rating: Outstanding
  • Overall Score:  91.0%

Project Team

  • Developer / Client: Befimmo sa
  • Architect: Jaspers-Eyers Architects
  • Building Services: VK Architects & Engineers
  • Stability Establis
  • Constructor: BESIX
  • Assessor Company: Bopro nv
  • Ecologist: AvantGarden
  • Acoustic: De Fonseca
  • PM/QQS/Safety: BOPRO
  • Control: SECO

About the Building

Quatuor is a four tower complex of more than 60,000 m² in the North area of Brussels. It benefits from a prime location close to the city centre, the metro and the Gare du Nord train station. Consisting of four autonomous office buildings (A – The Host, B – The Piano, C – The Cloud, D – The Bank) that form an architectural unit, the project is designed to ensure very extensive flexibility in terms of occupation.

The construction of the complex required some delicate and complicated preliminary work including heavy structural demolition works – of the Noord building and its 40,000 m² of offices – the removal of foundations, decontamination of soil and fine dismantling of the material to recover as much as possible. 40 tons of materials have been recovered. By giving cabinets, shelves, glass doors… a new life, circular economy is stimulated.

The building C, with the area of 18.742 m2 and 14 floors has been awarded by the Interim Design Stage Certificate BREEAM “Outstanding” with very high score of 91.0%. The other 3 towers are attempting to follow in its footsteps and achieve the same rating so that the sustainable impact of the  project will be on an even bigger scale.

Quatuor meets the highest quality, innovation and environmental performance standards to create a unique working experience in order to offer occupants a valuable, sustainable, healthy and comfortable environment.

To achieve that, Quatuor will create an urban link between different adjacent neighborhoods, with great access to public and alternative modes of transport and amenities. Jaspers-Eyers Architects have designed the building with rounded and soft volumes, a living fordable inner area and walkways connecting the 4 buildings and garden terraces above the base. The sloping roofs add dynamism and allow installation of photovoltaic panels facing south. Triple glazing,  aluminum joinery and Portuguese natural stone will be used for the facades and local blue stone for the skirting boards.

Befimmo emphasizes the responsible sourcing, and durability of the used materials, as well as environmental product declarations. In co-operation with VK Engineers and Jaspers Eyers Architects the design led to a great energy performance, with maximum aim to reduce water consumption, pollution and waste from the construction process as well as the operation of the building.

About the BREEAM assessment

Befimmo incorporated the United Nations SDG’s and BREEAM in its business strategy. The SDG’s were translated in Befimmo’s strategy by means of 6 strategic axes (integration in the city, the world of work, setting an example, mobility, dialogue and use of resources). Most of the buildings in its portfolio are BREEAM certified. When buildings are being refurbished or new projects are being developed the BREEAM certification is applied.
From a very early design and during construction phase of Quatuor, everything has been done to protect our valuable environment. All of this results in a ‘BREEAM Outstanding’, a certification which takes into account the entire lifecycle of a building, from construction until use, with a specific attention to the well-being of its occupants.
The building management, choice of HVAC systems and energy sources, materials and maintenance has been adapted to better control and reduce consumption in balance with improvement of the user comfort.

In the Management category a score of 16/18 was achieved. The Befimmo had an exemplary approach in consulting with all stakeholders.  Newsletters detailing updates on the project were sent on a regular basis to the neighbourhood and twice yearly information groups are held. A local artist was invited to paint the fence of the construction site to improve the aesthetics of the surroundings during the works. During the summer urban gardening sessions are organised for the children from the neighbourhood.

In the Health and Wellbeing category a score of 8/10 was achieved. Befimmo focuses on work life balance by provision of an enjoyable and efficient workspace, with ideal internal lighting levels, thermal comfort, air and water quality, and outstanding acoustic performance to create happy and productive employees. The design also includes safe and barrier free access for persons with disabilities.

In the Energy category a score of 23/24 was achieved. Due to the intention to reach the passive building, the energy performance almost reaches the maximum possible credits, thanks to energy saving solutions, as:

  • Effective thermal insulation and triple glazing,
  • Solar panels on the roof and integrated in the facades,
  • Geothermal heating and cooling
  • Highly efficient heat-recuperation on the ventilation,
  • LED lighting.

The entire HVAC installation is equipped with DDC regulation and a management system of the building to control  the production and distribution of energy.

In the Transport category a score of 9/9 was achieved. The location of the building offers outstanding access by public transport and other modes of transport and the building is surrounded by a wide range of amenities.

In the Water category a score of 8/8 was achieved. The sanitary fittings were been carefully chosen for their low levels of water consumption. The rainwater from the roofs is evacuated using a pressure system and is collected in a grey water tank in the underground car park for recovery.

In the Materials category a score of 9/12 was achieved. As a part of the Befimmo corporate strategy attention has been put on the origin of the materials, the life cycle, and durability of the used materials, as well as environmental product declarations.

In the Waste category a score of 4/7 was achieved. The contractor has been very responsible in the management and monitoring of the construction waste with more than 95% of the waste diverted from landfill.

In the Land Use and Ecology category a score of 10/10 was achieved. A qualified ecologist was appointed at the early concept design stage, meaning there has been significant enhancement of the ecological value by terrace greenery. In consultation with the local authorities the ecological concept has been extended to the public area.

In the Pollution category a score of 11/12 was achieved. The protection of the environment is one of the key factors for Befimmo projects during the whole construction process. It follows the BREEAM requirements during the decision making process about the cooling systems which will be equipped with leak detection, heating systems with low NOx emissions, preventing water pollution and surface water run-off by collecting the rainwater into the storm basins. The changes based on BREEAM AP advisory has been incorporated from the early design stage so the project was designed to go hand in hand with  BREEAM process.

Environmental Challenges and Green Strategy

Befimmo has fully integrated the principles of Social Responsibility within its strategy and day-to-day operations by anticipating economic, societal and environmental evolutions. Throughout the years, it has constructed a Social Responsibility strategy based on the themes that are considered as material for Befimmo and its stakeholders. Befimmo has aligned itself with the most ambitious tools and frameworks in terms of sustainable development, through the adoption of concrete targets, codes of conducts and conventions. Both on environmental, social and governance level. In 2017, Befimmo integrated 15 of the 17 United Nations SDG’s within its strategy thanks to an in-depth analysis of the 169 sub-goals of the SDG’s. It has since then fully integrated its CSR policy in its Company strategy by means of 6 strategic axes that guide its day-to-day activities (integration in the city, the world of work, setting an example, mobility, dialogue and use of resources).The BREEAM scheme offers a tool in line with this strategy. Nevertheless it was a big challenge for Befimmo to integrate its strategy in all facets of the concept of the building. Choosing to achieve an outstanding performance of the building, implies a holistic analysis from the brief and design stage. From the very beginning of the project, Befimmo  was surrounded by specialists in the various societal fields involved in the construction of a new building in a city.

The other challenges were to;

– Integrate all aspects of work life fulfillment that are championed by forward-thinking businesses and organizations.

– Set up a multidisciplinary team to create  integrated, innovative architecture with rational use of materials and implementation of efficient techniques for energy consumption and occupant comfort.

– Create a public and private green environment designed by ecologists to strengthen the green network of the district by providing friendly spaces. The spaces are designed with native species to ensure the sustainability of the site.

– Follow the Cradle to cradle principle by recovery of materials from the demolished building for reuse in other buildings.

A team of BREEAM advisers (assessor and accredited professional) was set up at the early beginning of the project design to support all the stakeholders at each step and for each decision. The criteria of the BREEAM NC has been a crucial driver to ensure that all aspects to create a sustainable building and its environment in all domains.

Benefits of assessing to BREEAM

Befimmo’s Social Responsibility is fully integrated into its strategy. At operational level, the Environmental Technical Team consists of five specialists with the task of improving the environmental performance of the portfolio. It meets regularly and its responsibilities include implementing the CSR Action Plan. These specialists include the Green Adviser who plays an important role monitoring the effectiveness of energy investments on the ground while ensuring a high level of comfort for tenants. Befimmo is applying the principles of eco-design and the circular economy at each phase of a building’s life cycle. Quatuor is going to be one of Befimmo’s best performing buildings.  The high energy performance of the building as well as the production of energy on the building and the precise and continuous control of equipment and consumption will result in a reduction in operating costs, an important added value for the occupants. The numerous investments to reduce the consumption of all kind of resources; energy, water and materials, now and in the future, reduces the real consumptions and carbon emissions and will make the building more climate resilient. Apart from the lower running costs, the facilities will help the future occupants to reach their CSR objectives.

Furthermore, Befimmo also wishes to increase its indirect impact by further stepping up its tenant-oriented approach through the services and facilities that it already offers and that it will increasingly offer them in the future. Tenant satisfaction is Befimmo’s priority, and it strives to offer quality properties in good locations, that are flexible, environmentally friendly and efficient. Now, it will endeavour more than ever to provide them with comprehensive personalised services, provide the best facilities in its buildings and be even more proactive in raising tenants’ awareness of energy and environmental issues.