Nominee Infosteel Steel Construction Award 2022 (category Industrial Project)

New Soprema production facility in Tongeren (Belgium)

The new Soprema production facility in Tongeren is an impressive example from the long series of industrial buildings we have designed with Diamonds. At this time, around two-thirds of the planned buildings have been completed. That includes a vast hall with high-tech production lines for extruded polystyrene insulation boards (including adjoining offices) and a warehouse building. The whole project was designed by Wastiau & Co Architects and carried out by the Cordeel construction company.

View of the new Soprema production facility in Tongeren (first phase with production hall and adjacent offices at front left - warehouse building at rear right)

Diamonds structural analysis model of first phase of new Soprema production facility in Tongeren

Although the production hall (which has a length of more than 150 metres) is adjacent to the office buildings, both buildings are structurally independent. The production hall was modelled in Diamonds with reinforced concrete columns and roof beams, whereas spring elements supported the concrete columns to calculate the forces in the foundation piles. In addition to the permanent load from the green roof and the technical equipment suspended from the ceiling, the wind and snow loads are, of course, decisive for the structural design of such a building. That is where the Diamonds wind and snow load generators are invaluable, as they allow you to quickly input these rather complex loads into the structural analysis model.

Partly due to the large spans of up to 36 metres, a first analysis of the production hall showed that the bending moments were so high that prestressed concrete beams were required to support the roof. During the next steps, close cooperation with the manufacturer was necessary to design the prestressed beams accounting for the internal forces calculated by Diamonds and to feedback the characteristics of those beams into the Diamonds analysis model. All in all, it took several iterations to arrive at a structural design, which is rather unsurprising for a building of such dimensions. Thanks to Diamonds, however, the process ran very smooth, and it took only 5 days to produce the fully finished model.

Wind loads on the supporting structure of the Soprema production hall

Bending moments in the supporting structure of the Soprema production hall, as calculated with Diamonds

In the new office building, steel columns support the concrete roof slab, and a series of interior concrete walls ensure its horizontal rigidity. In addition to the classical structural design analyses of concrete and steel load-bearing elements, the calculation of roof slab deflections was of major importance. This building was designed with large glass windows on the inside and the outside. To ensure the necessary clearance required to install the windows properly, estimating the roof slab’s vertical deflections in serviceability limit state with Diamonds is crucial.

Diamonds structural analysis model of the Soprema office building

Deflection in serviceability limit state of the Soprema office building roof slab

V2S (Part of Sweco)

Engineering firm V2S was founded in 2006 by Walter Van Erum and Luc Schouteden. Since the nineties, both have built up a vast experience as site and project managers in residential and industrial construction, complemented with expertise in structural analysis for new build developments and renovations. Whereas V2S initially started as a two engineer activity, it has grown to a 14-strong team of building experts, including 10 engineers and 3 drafters/BIM modellers.

"We always work in close consultation with the client, the project developer, the architect and the contractor to detail high-quality solutions that stay within the client's budget," Walter and Luc say. "Thanks to our experience as site and project managers, we also have a sharp eye for detail and practical feasibility. We play this trump card in our structural analysis projects, for which we have been using BuildSoft software since the 1990s. From the start, we have been fans of the user-friendly BuildSoft products and BuildSoft’s top-notch customer service. So in 2006, the decision to continue using the BuildSoft structural analysis software at V2S was an easy one.

Our clients appreciate our practical approach, which is why we can count on many loyal returning customers. That is probably why our project portfolio is so broad. In addition to structural analyses for houses and villas, apartment buildings, industrial buildings and offices, we also regularly perform detail studies for façade and window fixings. In addition, there are also a whole series of special constructions that we shouldn’t overlook, such as the reconstruction of the Roman temple site in Tongeren, auxiliary structures for the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, or the 181-metre Kruinenpad in Maasmechelen where you walk between the treetops. And yes, we were also involved in the unique "Cycling through water" cycle path in Bokrijk."

As of november 2022, V2S is part of Sweco.

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