Loïc Thomas: another way to do my job
What is your background?
I am an engineer-architect, I studied in Lyon, at the INSA and the ENSA.
I was project manager for 4 years at GSE. Then I joined a design office, Bétom Ingénierie, with which I experimented with project management for all trades. In January 2017, I was recruited by OpenBox Co Design&Build as project manager.
How did you get to OpenBox?
I was looking for another way to do my job after these first professional experiences. Our job is to be an orchestra conductor, a project organiser, but I longed to do it differently: I thought that we could have a privileged relationship with the project owners, in confidence.
Meeting Bertrand Chabanne coincided with my desire to manage projects differently. The Co Design&Build proposal really struck a chord with me: Knowing that we can, as project owner and contractor, have the same interests and work together for the benefit of the project. To be side by side and not face to face...
What are your missions today?
Today, I am the operations manager.
I'm involved from the study phase of the bid by providing my expertise on the technical choices, carrying out the risk analysis and monitoring the submission of the bid. I organise the progress of the project and the workload of the teams, and I support the project managers on the operations. I ensure the consistency of the operations and guarantee their profitability.
I also participate in the development of the company's short and medium-term strategy to ensure that we remain focused on our guidelines and values.
Customer relations are also important and I ensure that transparency and dialogue are respected at all stages of the project.
I'm one of the oldest at OpenBox, I've seen the company being built: I have a bit of hindsight on what we've put in place, on our working methods that I can share, with the Co Design&Build guideline.
What do you appreciate at OpenBox?
The way this company works, which gives everyone a place. The Co Design&Build principle is also applied internally. We can propose ideas, to question choices, for the projects and also for the way the company operates, which allows us to be agile, to test, to change.
The decision chain is short, we talk about it, we think together and test.
A key word?
Trust: initiating new ideas, questioning the way things work, all this can be done because trust is established and cultivated. Your approach will immediately be well perceived, listened to, and considered in a positive and benevolent way.
Trust is the ideal framework for initiative, creativity, and the involvement of everyone.
An anecdote about OpenBox and its team?
I like our Friday morning meeting: everyone brings the croissants in turn, and we have a real moment together. Some of us are on video from a construction site. Then we have a weekly meeting where all useful information can be shared and discussed, about the projects, commercial leads, but also about internal operations and communication. We exchange and organise ourselves to move forward.
Do you have a passion?
I practice judo. I did it as a child until high school and I took it up again a few years ago. I have a black belt and I'm preparing my second dan.
Some people tell me that the way I am at work reflects my judo practice. It probably helps me to take things in perspective, step by step: in judo, you are sensitive to your environment, you listen to your opponent, and you adapt your attitude accordingly.
One of the founding principles of judo is Jita Yuwa Kyoei: Mutual aid and prosperity. It is the idea that a whole is more than the sum of its parts and it is a philosophy that I try to apply in my work.
Industrial wasteland in Lille Seclin
On a 50,000 m² plot of land, OpenBox will transform a brownfield site and build a 23,000 m² logistics centre in Lille-Seclin for P3 Logistics Parks.
Using former industrial wasteland avoids the artificialisation of new land. This project is part of a clear desire to participate in the objective of "zero net artificialisation" as Christophe Chauvard, Managing Director France at P3, points out.
"In view of the future objective of 'zero net artificialisation' set by the Climate Law and the Afilog charter to which we are a signatory, it is essential for P3 Logistic Parks to give priority to the rehabilitation of brownfield sites and the transformation of existing buildings. The future logistics centre in Seclin is a very good illustration and demonstration of our ability to redevelop former industrial sites, to accompany a cessation of activity by the seller and we are proud to be accompanied by innovative partners such as OpenBox on this project.
Demolition and asbestos removal work has begun.
Construction will start in September 2022: 4 cells and offices.
Delivery is scheduled for summer 2023.
The building aims to achieve Breeam Excellent certification and the BiodiverCity® label.
Project management: Kritéria Développement
Architect: A26 architectures
BioMérieux worksite event
OpenBox is building a tri-temperature logistics building for bioMérieux in Saint-Vulbas in the Ain region. Before the delivery scheduled for spring 2022, OpenBox and bioMérieux invited the workers, elected officials, project partners and employees to share a festive moment around the traditional leg of lamb.
More than a hundred people attended the event, including Alain Mérieux, President of Institut Mérieux and founder of bioMérieux, Alexandre Mérieux, Chairman and CEO of bioMérieux, Charles de la Verpillière, Member of Parliament for the Ain region, Marcel Jacquin, Mayor of Saint-Vulbas, and Hugues de Beaupuy, Director General of the Syndicat Mixte du Parc Industriel de la Plaine de l'Ain.
The project concerns the extension of the International Distribution Centre as well as the fitting out of offices and social premises on the site.
"After the study phase, carried out by OpenBox, the experience and competitiveness of OpenBox on this type of highly technical building, the proposed schedule and the support in obtaining the energy saving certificate convinced bioMérieux to trust us for the construction phase, within the framework of a Real Estate Development Contract (CPI)", said David Fitoussi, Director of OpenBox.
A tri-temperature building
With a surface area of 4,700 m², the future tri-temperature building includes an area for frozen products with temperatures maintained between -31° and -19°C, an area for cold products maintained between 2° and 8°C and an area between 15° and 25°C.
The project is being carried out on an operational site, a constraint that requires very precise organisation of the site, with the safety of the people working on the site always a priority.
A co-design and build project
The client is involved in all phases of the project using the Co Design&Build method. This method fosters trust and establishes a real collaboration for the benefit of the project. Regularly informed, in particular of the purchase price and remuneration of OpenBox, and consulted on the choices, bioMérieux is fully involved in its project.
Transparency is also one of the pillars of the Co-Design&Build: both parties have agreed on a distribution of the savings that could be obtained during the project.
Designed by the architectural firm tj archi, the project benefited from the expertise of the design offices Oxy Ingénierie and CEBATEC.
The first earthworks began in May 2021, and the project will be delivered next spring.
Congratulations to the finishers of the Run in Lyon half-marathon, Loïc, Thomas, Bertrand, supported by the whole OpenBox team!
Despite the bad weather and the wind, the atmosphere was there to accompany them!
Joint interview with Colin Olszak, Astron’s Business Development Manager Car Parks, and Bertrand Chabanne, CEO of OpenBox.
OpenBox Co Design&Build signed a partnership agreement on 30 March 2021 to offer its customers Astron parking solutions.
Building well ventilated multi-storey car parks is an ideal way to free up space, which is a significant benefit at a time when land is becoming increasingly scarce.
Bertrand Chabanne, What do you hope to achieve with this partnership?
B.C - We wanted to offer something new to our customers who work in manufacturing, logistics, loading, distribution or investment. We know that land is a rare and precious resource these days. It used to be less burdensome and much easier to develop or buy, so we used not to have to wonder too much about attaching a car park to a building, and this would inevitably take up considerable space on the ground. But today it is harder to get land to build on. Moreover, because of environmental concerns we are keen to find new solutions for making sensible use of land. That is a factor that all of us – customers and builders – really want to take into account.
Well ventilated multi-storey car parks represent a solution for making the most of land, whether for new building ground or existing sites: by raising the car park, we optimise the available land. On existing sites we can reclaim part of the land used for the spread-out car park and allocate it to something else, such as an extension of the building.
This partnership with ASTRON, who specialise in new generation multi-storey car parks, enables us to provide cutting-edge expertise of a very specific product: ASTRON’s parking solutions are well designed, with simple and efficient flow management and fit perfectly into our sites, whether they are commercial buildings, offices or logistics platforms.
Given the target of zero development on green-field sites, we know that the future will be about doing more with existing land. The same applies to the logistics sector, with which we are very familiar: multi-storey buildings and automation make it possible to produce more with less land.
Why did you choose ASTRON?
B.C - When we started looking closely into the question of car parks for our customers, it was natural that I turned to ASTRON. Teaming up with them was the obvious step because I began my career at ASTRON Buildings. Working with companies that I trust and respect gives our Open Box customers more value and security.
What is more, both our companies share the same vision of partnerships as a way to increase strength for the benefit of the customer. With Co Design&Build, collaboration lies at the heart of OpenBox’s strategy in terms of the relationship with our customers and suppliers. ASTRON provides construction solutions through a Europe-wide network of partners. Our two companies bank on using partnerships to grow.
In concrete terms, how does it work?
B.C - ASTRON is a manufacturer that designs and makes industrialised buildings that we distribute to our customer category. OpenBox remains a special contact throughout the project. We support them with drawing up specifications to cover the whole project. OpenBox alone is responsible to the customer for performance. However, from the outset we work with ASTRON on the design and pricing policy for a tailor-made car park that will perfectly meet the user’s needs (location, size, purposes, etc.)
Detailed design of the industrialised building then begins before it is manufactured in ASTRON’s plants and delivered to the site to be assembled. Assembly is performed by ASTRON-approved assemblers. In addition to the structure, OpenBox is also responsible for all of the associated trades, including road systems, carcassing, electricity and finishings.
As for other operations, OpenBox gives firm commitments regarding pricing, deadlines, service and, as part of Co Design&Build, transparency, collaboration and shared savings.
Do car parks represent a solution for the future?
B.C - Yes, because use of them is changing, adapting. It reflects the major trends of evolving methods of travel. Tomorrow’s car park will be a hub for car pooling, recharging cars, accepting deliveries, picking up and leaving bicycles, connecting with public transport and so on.
We are already working with local authorities on projects based on sharing facilities between various companies, in high-end business parks.
Furthermore, ASTRON’s parking solutions have the benefit of being reversible: tomorrow a car park can be transformed into offices, a showroom or a production plant to reflect a change in the company. For this reason, such car parks represent a solution for the future.
Colin Olszak, what makes your well ventilated multi-storey car parks different?
C.O - Multi-storey car parks are now clearly the most economic solution for companies when compared to underground car parks or car parks under buildings on piles. Beyond the financial consideration, ASTRON wanted to gives its car parks an added value for companies. They are no longer just places to leave cars, now they are spaces for living, as an array of services for workers are concentrated there: sheltered parking, bicycle storage, recharging electric vehicles, collecting parcels, car sharing and so on. There are many services that can be enjoyed to give value to this space.
Our car parks can be adapted to meet our customers’ needs for flexibility: who can say for sure how work, travel and parking requirements will look in the future? With our solutions, we can transform car parks very easily to adapt to changes in your company. And how about using it for temporary events? The roof top could accommodate that very well!
We also put a strong emphasis on making our car parks comfortable to use, ensuring plenty of greenery on the fronts and not using pillars inside so that parking is easy. Each development is unique and designed with the customer.
The car park can reflect the brand by sporting the company colours.
How is the process of building Astron car parks eco-friendly?
C.O - Because we design our car parks to use less energy. 70% of the steel used in our car parks has been recycled. In some cases that figure is as high as 90 %. In addition, right from the design stage we look for ways to optimise the use of material in order to limit the amount of greenhouse gas produced. Less material means less transportation and that is what we want.
What do you gain from the partnership with OpenBox?
C.O - Obviously this partnership is a gateway to industry, particularly logistics, which is a market segment that OpenBox knows well. Beyond that marketing strategy, we share the same long-term vision: we want to work to promote reversibility of land and building uses in the interests of sustainability for our customers.
One step closer to E+C- certification
At present, OpenBox is constructing office space for messaging services in the Lyon region. OpenBox was selected in particular for the environmental performance of its offer and the technical solutions proposed to meet the E+C- certification and BREEAM Good rating.
Frédéric Lamblot, director of OpenBox designs, Héloïse Couvert, director of the Etamine Lyon design firm, and Geoffrey Michalet, Etamine project manager discussed this in further detail:
Why take a commitment towards achieving E+C- certification?
Frédéric Lamblot : At the outset, only BREEAM certification was the aim. However, our client wanted to go one step further, so as to comply with the group policy of being carbon neutral. The technical solutions proposed for construction of buildings form an integral part of this ambitious objective. Consequently, in the space of just a few weeks, we reviewed and adjusted our offer – notably by working in collaboration with Immasset (Assistant Contracting Authority), we studied the Etamine proposals to take account of the necessary adaptations, notably structural in nature, whilst respecting the architectural creation and managing additional costs. Our flexibility and collaborative work allowed us to make a new design proposal which met these challenges. The commitment to a result in terms of energy performance reassured the client on this key part of the specifications.
How close are you to certification?
Héloïse Couvert: Etamine was selected by OpenBox and the client to manage certification. Our design office was responsible for designs and advised OpenBox as to the possible construction solutions available.
Geoffrey Michalet : All of the buildings will be BREEAM Good certified; but the head office also wanted E1-C1 level E+C- certification. Therefore, we proposed replacing the initially planned concrete structure with a primary and secondary wooden structure, which required several adjustments to the overall design. This element has a significant impact on the Carbon footprint. In total, this represents 66 dm3 of wood per m² of surface area.
We additionally worked alongside the Fobis design office for energy requirements (the E part of the certification). LED lighting, dual-flow controlled mechanical ventilation, installation of CO² sensors, solar-controlled glazing and interior blinds, for instance, all played a significant part in energy optimisation of the building.
Héloïse Couvert: We then acted as a link to the certification body. We supervise the project and answer any questions as and when they arise. Certification will be issued upon handover of the building.
What does this represent for OpenBox?
Frédéric Lamblot: At OpenBox we are all immensely proud to be involved in this process, to construct high-performance buildings with a low carbon footprint. We are already anticipating future regulations. We strive to make proposals and be innovative, which is highly rewarding. We hope to be able to offer this certification to other clients in the near future.
Find out more about Etamine
Understanding this new certification
The construction sector represents close to 45% of national energy consumption and close to 25% of greenhouse gas emissions (source: Ministry of Ecological Transition). Learning to reinvent oneself and seek innovative technical solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings is more urgent than ever in the fight against global warming. The Energy + Carbon – (E+C-) certification was developed by the State so as to increase and promote buildings which were energy positive and with a low carbon footprint. It is a voluntary and experimental certification which is a forerunner to the future RE2020 energy regulation for new builds (of which application has been put back to summer 2021).
The E+C- certification is different to other environmental certifications in force in the construction sector as it relies on a new calculation method based on two indicators:
In early September, OpenBox issued a cheque to the value of €408,120 to its client, Papeteries Pichon. This was reimbursement for a portion of the savings made during the project. The Co Design&Build method, with which our client constructed its logistical platform and head office, can really pay off!
On the basis of several years of operations at OpenBox, we have observed that this method offers the best value when we are responsible for the entire value chain, from the architectural design phase through to final handover.
By offering the shared savings, we hope to convince more clients to trust in us for all phases of their projects: this could be a major change in how they manage their real-estate projects. However, this is the condition so as to be able to benefit from the advantages offered by Co Design&Build, which are, inter alia, financial.
If we are entrusted solely with project design, we make a commitment on results (price, deadline, services) in a framework which is restricted by the choices of other stakeholders involved. Our energy is then focused towards the consolidation of information (not always exhaustive and often contradictory), summarising, and then roll-out of resources, in very tight deadlines. With our clients, we are then less involved in co-construction and more in a relation of principal-delegate, we offer less value, and a good portion of our skills remain untapped.
Co Design&Build relies on collective intelligence. In this method of working, we progressively secure choices along with the client, from the design phase, in a concerted and coherent manner, and we commit to a service, deadline and price. The client retains the right to work with any of our counterparts if he believes we are not the most competitive at the end of the design phase. If the client decides to continue with us, he is guaranteed to be constantly informed and able to collaborate. Furthermore, all of our energy and expertise are permanently focused on continuous improvement of the project from both a qualitative and financial perspective. Our interests are shared.
And beyond the financial aspect, we have observed that this way of working offers a much more peaceful environment, fully transparent and to the overall benefit of the project.
If we once more take the example of Papeteries Pichon, we went head to head in the framework of a call for projects on the basis of a programme developed in-house. We were then conferred the task of studying the soil, conducting the topographical survey, applying for the Construction Permit and leading the ICPE study. It was during this design phase that Papeteries Pichon requested the assistance of Etyo as Assistant Contracting Authority until handover of the construction. In so doing, it had the guarantee of an expert third-party in the real-estate logistics sector, and Papeteries Pichon entrusted us with the project.
The client was involved in co-construction alongside us and was notified of all decisions taken every step of the way. It was involved in the choices to be made, understanding the technical and regulatory requirements at stake.
In line with a breakdown agreed at the time of signature of the agreement and on the basis of certified accounts, and since everything was decided in a transparent manner, we each benefitted from the savings made.
In using Co Design&Build, we are no longer working in a context of opposing interests but in a collaborative dynamic.
Logistical platform and head office covering 21,600 m², fully automated by SAVOYE.
Architect: XXL Atelier
Assistant Contracting Authority: ETYO
4th logistical platform of ACTION Group
OpenBox and BEG Ingénierie have delivered the 4th logistical platform of Dutch group ACTION close to Angers (49). Respecting the demanding and precise specifications, OpenBox was responsible for the technical and financial proposal, performance studies and selection of contractors which it coordinated for performance of the works, with a particular focus on issues of environmental compliance.
The platform’s construction site covered some 70,000 m² and began in Autumn 2019: in total a year of studies and works were necessary for the construction of 8 traditional storage units, 2 hazardous product storage units and a packaging unit. Offices and technical premises were also built to round off the project. The roofing was designed so as to integrate a photovoltaic system. The building will receive the BREEAM Very Good rating. Given the size of the operation, and to further consolidate the OpenBox commitment, the Real-Estate Development Contract was signed between BEG Ingénierie, shareholder of OpenBox and ACTION.
Construction of the extension to the STEF logistical platform at Vaulx-Milieu has officially been completed. After construction of the initial building, delivered in July 2018, which already comprised 3 units, the 4th unit covering 6,000 m² has completed the building, with the total surface area now standing at 31,000 m². Once again under controlled temperature, this unit also comprises a 1,200 m² mezzanine. Our all-round expertise of techniques and areas for attention when working on logistical platforms under controlled temperature allowed us to fulfil the requirements of our client, Real-Estate Promoter DCB LOGISTICS.