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Building Information Modeling/ Virtual Design & Construction
Skanska was commissioned to construct a new head office for Länsförsäkringar in Kalmar County. The office property was to be a high-quality environmental building and the goal was for the building to achieve top-level LEED Platinum certification, as well as GreenBuilding certification.
The Mästaren block was the first LEED project to be built by Skanska on behalf of an external customer. A reduced local environmental impact, lower energy consumption and an improved working environment for Länsförsäkringar’s employees were some of the positive effects generated by the new head office.
The project site was located in the Kvarnholmen district in central Kalmar, which means that our workspace was extremely limited. Accordingly, whenever feasible, we applied the “just in time” planning method, which entailed that materials were not stored on site.
The Kvarnholmen district is made up of older buildings from the late 1600s and early 1700s.
“The neighboring buildings are so old that the foundation was in very poor condition. We thus started with extensive foundation reinforcements and then began piling work,” explains Johan Nielsen, Project Manager at Skanska.
The office property was scheduled for completion and ready for occupation in December 2010. With floor space of 6,000 square meters, the property includes a total of some 100 workplaces, two stores and 37 parking spaces on basement level.
A reduced local environmental impact, lower energy consumption and an improved working environment for Länsförsäkringar’s employees were some of the positive effects generated by the new head office.
LEED is one of the world’s leading systems for environmental certification of buildings. Based on the number of points a building project achieves, one of four LEED levels is attained: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
For the Mästaren block, our goal is to achieve the highest possible standard: Platinum. If we succeed, this will be the highest level attained in the Nordic region. The following is a list of some of the choices we made to achieve the Platinum standard.
Platinum: • The building is heated with district heating. • Solar panels were installed on the building. • Water-efficient mixer taps and toilets were used throughout. • Significant emphasis was placed on the indoor climate, including increased air flow. • Low-emission materials were used. • All workplaces are exposed to daylight and have an outside view. • Green roofs were installed. • Measures were taken to reduce energy consumption. • Locally produced materials were chosen.
The Mästaren block will also be certified in accordance with the GreenBuilding system, which aims to enhance the efficiency of energy consumption in premises. To be approved as a GreenBuilding, the energy requirement of the building must be at least 25 percent lower than the national standard.
When Länsförsäkringar in Kalmar County decided to gather its banking and insurance operations at a single head office, Skanska was awarded the design construct contract.
The project was a commission of trust. Project planning commenced in January 2009, construction began in August of the same year and the building was scheduled for completion in December 2010.
“We maintained an incredibly strong relationship with the customer throughout the project. They appreciated our way of working and open dialog,” explains Johan Nielsen, Project Manager at Skanska.
Länsförsäkringar had previously had positive experiences of the Kvarnholmen district, located in central Kalmar, which contributed to the company’s decision to establish their head office in the area.
The office property is a top-class building from an environmental perspective. Länsförsäkringar takes a highly proactive approach to its environmental profile and it was thus particularly gratifying to be able to offer the company a concept such LEED. The building will also be certified in accordance with the GreenBuilding standard.
“The brunt of the work to environmentally adapt the building was carried out during the planning stage, when we designed all of the solutions necessary for the building to meet the requirements for LEED Platinum and GreenBuilding certification. During the construction phase, environmental adaption mainly focused on smaller details, such as protecting the material we built into the property and documenting our work in photographs,” explains Johan Nielsen.
The project employed approximately 60 people. We worked on all areas simultaneously: four stories and a basement level.
The building’s foundation was the main challenge of the project. The buildings in Kvarnholmen were built in the late 1600s and early 1700s and sit on a grillage foundation, an older type of foundation made from timber. Much of the grillage in the neighboring buildings was in such poor condition that we needed to reinforce the foundation before piling work could commence. We also lowered the groundwater level by about three meters.
The foundation was completed in December 2009 and framing work began toward the end of the year. Since it was winter and snow was falling, it was not possible to build onsite and the frame of the building was thus fully prefabricated. The frame was cast in a plant and transported to Kalmar. It took seven people nine weeks to assemble the frame.
Since the project was located in central Kalmar, space was extremely limited. Whenever feasible, we used the “just in time” planning method, which entailed that the material arrived at the site exactly when it was needed, no sooner and no later. This meant that we did not require an inventory of material and we thus had more space in which to work.
Since the buildings in the area are old, it was important that the new building fit in with its surroundings. From the street, the building appears to be two stories high, but its rising structure actually accommodates four floors in the interior portion of the property.
Building in a city environment also meant that we had to take into consideration all of the people living in and visiting the area. Information meetings and e-mail were some of the channels we used to provide information on the progress of our work and any disturbances.
The building measures 60 meters in length from street to street. In the middle, we provided access to ample daylight through two outdoor areas with glass above and below. The largest glass surface, which is located in the outdoor space facing the Åhléns department store building, is eight meters wide and a full 12 meters high.
Flexibility was a key concept throughout the project. The building had to be easily adaptable if new requirements were to arise. The walls can be removed or moved relatively easily and we created a large number of separate entrances so that the various areas of the building are easily accessible.