On 22 June 2023, BESIX Belgium-Luxembourg signed a contract for the renovation of the 60,147 m² office building ‘the Hive’ owned by BNP Paribas Fortis and located in the centre of Brussels. The project implies the full renovation and rehabilitation of the building, with a comprehensive material circularity approach and the ‘Early Contractor Involvement’ concept as from the start.
BESIX Belgium-Luxemburg will be in charge of all renovation works which imply the asbestos removal and transformation of the existing building composed of thirteen floors (five underground levels with a total of 31,352 m², a ground floor and seven upper floors, totalling 28,795 m²). Next to bringing more daylight into the building, refurbishing the technical installations, and relocating the existing unloading dock, the main objective of the renovation is to reduce the environmental footprint significantly. The renewed building will also be better integrated in the life of the neighbourhood through a mixed-use concept where different semi-public functions are interwoven with the original office function.
The rectangular above-ground volume consists of three parts: a plinth, the main building, and the crown, each with its own unique architectural form. In the existing main building, two patios will be created for the integration of natural light in the central part of the building. The building will be able to accommodate an occupancy of 2194 people on levels 1 to 7.
At levels -5 to -2, the project will provide 168 parking spaces, technical premises, and storage areas. On the ground floor and on level -1 there will be semi-public functions, including a work-café on the ground floor with an outdoor terrace, a reception area, and a co-working zone. On level -1 the building will offer an event space with kitchen, a conference centre, and an auditorium with lobby.
After the tender phase, where BESIX was chosen as preferred bidder, BESIX worked together with BNP Paribas Fortis and the designers of the project Jaspers-Eyers Architects - Brussels in a ‘Early Contractor Involvement’ set-up. This methodology ensures an ideal coordination between all parties, i.e. the client, architects, engineering consultants, and contractor, working hand-in-hand at both the design and construction stages to make the best technical and economic choices, which leads to better quality and cost control and optimises the project and the deadlines.
The ‘the Hive’ renovation is not the first project BESIX will conduct for BNP Paribas Fortis. In 2021, Besix has participated in the reconstruction of the iconic new BNP Paribas Fortis headquarters building (‘Montagne du Parc’). Also located in the heart of Brussels, this new construction project covers an area of over 100,000 m² and is designed as a passive building that meets the highest standards of innovation and environmental performance. And even before that, BESIX realised the renovation of the 15,600 m² Chancellerie project for BNP Paribas Fortis in 2014.
“BESIX is extremely proud to have been chosen for a new project by BNP Paribas Fortis. We are excited to collaborate to help develop their ambitions on the sustainability aspect. The choice of materials was based on circularity, circular economy, urban mining, and their life cycle analysis. BESIX also complied with all the aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility”, says Waldo Vanhentenrijk, Operations Manager BU Europe Belgium & Luxembourg.
The renovation works, which are set to start at the beginning of July, will comply with new provisions in the construction permit with regards to circularity in the context of the conservation of Brussels heritage. Different sorts of materials present in the existing building will be re-used in the renovation, such as marble plates. These will be dismantled and stored before being given a new life in the renovated building. Certain technical elements will also be recuperated, revised, and reinstalled in the building, like generator sets. Other elements, such as carpeting, partitions, or tiles will be the source of materials for other building sites, whether for private projects or subcontractors. This circular renovation approach reduces waste significantly and is the result of a thorough preliminary study of material life cycle and flow.