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Exclusive: DOKVAST sets sustainability bar high
2014-06-04
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The quartet of sustainable, large scale logistic buildings is almost complete, Jos Klanderman concludes. "Seven years ago we delivered our first major distribution premises; 40,000 m² for Dobologic, Rhenus Contract Logistics and Bakker Logistics at Katsbogten business park in Tilburg. That was followed in 2013 by 60,000 m² for Rhenus Logistics - the largest logistics construction project that year – in Son Breugel.”

This was followed by two projects at the new Vossenberg West II business park in Tilburg, developed specifically for distribution. These projects also involved sizeable floor space: 45,000 and 46,000 m². Not a bad achievement for a developer who has only been in business for seven years. Klanderman speaks about the start: "I had already gained considerable experience in consulting, architecture and project management. Project manager Edwin Clout and I both have twenty years’ experience in the logistics world and have executed dozens of projects. Although the crisis dealt a blow to this market, logistics has certainly gone further as an economic sector. There are still opportunities here."

Substantial demand

The style of project development has certainly changed, admits Klanderman. "When the crisis began, the construction of risky development projects came to a standstill and failed to get off the ground. You need to have a client with whom you can then enter into the process. We are fortunate that we currently have enough clients, and there are fewer suitable properties available. There are some smaller, 10,000 m² halls, but the demand is mainly for larger, high-quality buildings of 40,000 to 50,000 m². Not a single logistics building fits that category in Brabant. The market is subject to upscaling and with this size you can achieve efficiency savings.” The floor space for the new generation of distribution buildings is even rising to 80,000 m², according to Klanderman.

The fact that many examples of this can now be seen in Tilburg is no coincidence: "The municipality is very active in presenting itself as a logistics city. All modalities are present here: road, rail, water with the Wilhemina Canal and two ports. Add to this competitive land prices and the attractive workforce potential. Companies doing business with Belgium and Germany would prefer to be based in the southern Netherlands and Tilburg is seen as the perfect hub.” The DOKVAST director compliments the city of Tilburg for the way in which it facilitates development initiatives. ”This represents quite a challenge under the current developing protocol: if you do find a user, they want to move in tomorrow. We experienced this firsthand during the development of property for Schenker Logistics: on June 7, 2013 we signed the contract and on October 12, the first 20,000 m² came into use. That only occurs if a municipality cooperates optimally."

Investors’ requirements

According to Klanderman, the reason that the DOKVAST buildings also represent a new standard in sustainability can be traced back to a distinctly unique ambition "From our very first buildings we implemented a wide array of sustainability measures. We want to create buildings that also function well in the long term and co-exist respectfully with their surroundings and the environment in general. We continue to draw that line ever further. For example, for the Rhenus Logistics building we introduced LED lights, low-temperature heating and ample daylight. During the first phase, working with sustainability labels was not yet commonplace, but investors and tenants now ask for proof of the sustainability value of a building. For businesses, the building has become one of the means for demonstrating their corporate social responsibility and for showing that they have ‘greened’ their entire supply chain."

Working with BREEAM certification is part of that development, according to Klanderman. "Strict, independent and not so easy to obtain: favourable for us." Both he and Edwin Clout attended a course and mastered the BREEAM methodology. "We were already capable of developing a property, but you learn to watch more specifically for certain aspects: waste, ecology, materials. We did not do it for this reason - or at least not in such a comprehensive and structured way." Approximately ten criteria must be completed across nine themes: the procedure is intensive and compulsory. Klanderman: "The principle is quite simple: whatever you document, you must do. You are tested on this. If you make a commitment to having an ecologically independent report drawn up then it must also materialise at a given moment. If not, there will be no score for that point.” This won DOKVAST the ‘outstanding’ BREEAM certificate for the DB Schenker Logistics building, both for design and completion (with a score of 91.17%).

Quick decisions

The intensity of BREEAM combined with a client who would like to move into the new building tomorrow represents a tough challenge. "You must have in-house knowledge. In addition, we also act as a project manager and client combined: this allows you to make quick decisions." The choice of partners also plays a role: "We carried out our last three projects with construction company Heembouw; they had no experience with BREEAM but they did with LEAN build. This makes them progressive thinkers when it comes to partnership. Architect firm Habeon is also part of this chain, with a complete BIM-driven design process, including 3D animation. This interplay of capable parties makes for an excellent cocktail." According to Klanderman this way of working within a short timeframe is becoming the new standard. "It is spreading like wildfire, all parties in the supply chain must play their role. On the proviso that they at least want to be part of a future and demand-oriented method of building development."

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