There are no obvious signs of recession in the centre of Rotterdam; wherever you look there are busy construction sites. One of these is next to Central Station and the famous NN (Nationale Nederlanden) Tower, the location of the mail sorting centre on the Delftseplein. For many years and from all parts of the world mail has arrived here to be distributed among the inhabitants of Rotterdam and the surrounding municipalities. Now as we approach the end of 2009 we are witnessing the creation of a modern, prestigious 70 metre high building complex named ‘Central Post’ which will house offices, shops and restaurants.
The renovation activities were started in 2006 by construction company Dura Vermeer for developer LSI and real estate company Fortress. Danny Blankespoor is the general foreman on the renovation project. He explains this massive undertaking, “There will be an extra six floors added to the building making a total of 13. Plus there will be two more levels of parking with 320 spaces.”
The saying ‘time is money’ is never more true than in the construction industry. The faster the construction activities are completed, the better. And there are heavy penalties for projects that are not completed on time. In order to work during the cold and wet winter months, Dura Vermeer needed Polygon’s specialised skills in humidity and climate Solutions. Blankespoor says, “I hadn’t worked with them before but my colleague Aart de Boer advised me to call Polygon as they were the experts. Because of the low temperature and the high humidity it was necessary to use heating equipment to dry the building. If the humidity is not at the right level, the painting, stucco and other decorative treatments can’t be carried out.”
John Zirkzee, Polygon’s humidity specialist from the Temporary Climate Solutions division was the contact person on site. He was faced with a challenging application; not particularly because of the complexity, but more because of the height of the building. Normally the heaters are placed on the ground floor outside the building, but Dura Vermeer had multiple floors that needed to be dried and limited access at ground level.
In normal situations the heated air is blown into buildings through large flexible pipes. But because of concerns over heat loss coupled with the lack of space, it was decided to place the heating units inside the building. The advantage of this approach is that as the space is heated the warm air is reused which speeds up the heating process. Another advantage is that it makes major savings on the cost of fuel. On the ground floor there is an extra large fuel tank containing 11,500 litres of fuel which supplies all five heaters. The fuel is then pumped up to a height of approximately 60 metres.
Blankespoor concludes, “Working with Polygon has been great. The specialists worked really well with us to ensure that there were no pipes on the floors. If there was a problem, they were on site really quickly, so there was no need for us to worry about the drying process, we could just concentrate on our own work. Thanks to the input of Polygon our project is right on track. And that of course is the most important thing.”