Dutch craftsmanship

Source: Trade magazine Bouwaktua - November 2018 - page 13 - Concrete house

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Dutch craftsmanship

Source: Trade magazine Bouwaktua - November 2018 - page 13 - Concrete house

De Zalmhaven as a symbol of Dutch craftsmanship

A first for Rotterdam: where the highest residential tower is being built using precast elements. At 215 metres, the sky-scraper will tower high above everything else in the Maas city. With around sixty storeys and 485 homes, it is even the highest tower in the Benelux. The Brabant company Byldis will produce industrial construction elements for the new Rotterdam icon.

The housing market is overheated. In large cities there is a serious shortage of living space. Local municipalities want to build more homes but not at the expense of everything. Greenery is (still) sacred. The only solution is to go upwards. More and more high-rises are therefore springing up in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

Whereas Amsterdam is limited to maximum height restrictions due to Schiphol, Rotterdam is much less affected by this. The skyline of the harbour city will undergo significant changes in the coming years. As well as De Zalmhaven, more residential towers will be built. In terms of height they do not come close to the sky-scraper on the Gedempte Zalmhaven.


Exceptional, says project leader Jurgen van Leeuwen about Byldis building the world’s biggest precast tower. But he doesn’t let it go to his head: this is certainly not the first high-rise construction project for the concrete company. “In the past we have supplied precast components for realised high-rise towers including the ‘Strijkijzer’ in The Hague (130-metres-high)and the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam (120 metres). The latter was also commissioned by BAM.” For expertise relating to high-rise, the company therefore does not look abroad. “In terms of construction, we trust the expertise and skill of our own engineering.”

As the construction process is primarily based on prefabrication, it is actually ‘just’ a question of stacking. The supporting facades, walls, stability cores and floors are all prefab. The number of logistical movements on the construction site is kept to a minimum thanks to an ‘optimal prefabrication’. This means that as much as possible is assembled in the factory, including natural stone, insulation, windows and installations.

“The use of a hoisting level instead of traditional tower cranes ensures that work can continue throughout the entire year without too much hindrance from poor weather conditions. ”The hoisting level is a platform with cranes that can be pushed up one floor at a time. This construction method results in an enormous building speed and significant time saving. “Limiting the construction time also means less disruption for local residents,” says Van Leeuwen.

These are not the only reasons for choosing precast. “The quality of the precast elements is particularly high because they are manufactured in a controlled environment. This is an absolute necessity for a project of this size.”

Production of the facade elements starts in June 2019. Construction is expected to begin in January 2020, at a rate of one floor a week, and will be immediately wind and watertight. The tower will be completed in 2021. BAM is the chief contractor of the project. The concrete company is supplier of precast elements for the superstructure, from the fifth up to the 59th floor.

For this project the concrete company has supplied around 770 facade elements complete with natural stone, insulation and windows; 1140 interior walls; 400 balcony plates and 250 staircases and landings. It also includes 40,000 m2 of wide slab floors. The company is also supplying and installing the windows and curtain walling of the Mid-Rise, two smaller towers of 70 metres including the plinth building.

“The use of precast elements has been on the rise in recent years,” says director Jacco van Dijk. “Our innovative concepts make it possible to complete projects within half the normal construction time, custom made and of a high quality. As such, we can realise this challenging project together with BAM with full conviction. De Zalmhaven will undoubtedly become a new symbol of Dutch craftsmanship.”

Jurgen van Leeuwen, project leader Byldis

Jurgen van Leeuwen, Project leader Byldis

"The quality of the prefab elements is particularly high because they are manufactured in a conditioned environment."
Jurgen van Leeuwen, project leader Byldis

Bouwaktua is a trade magazine for the construction sector.