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.
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
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.
Following handover of the head office premises and the new Papeteries Pichon logistical platform, leading supplier in school supplies (Manutan Group), OpenBox has issued a cheque for €408,120 to its client
It is thanks to the innovative Co Design&Build method which enabled this handover of a portion of the savings made during the construction project.
It's in Veauche, near Saint-Etienne, at the new premises of Papeteries Pichon, that Bertrand Chabanne issued a cheque for €408,120 to Thierry Cappé, Managing Director.
This amount corresponds to return of a portion of the savings made during construction, using the innovative Co Design&Build method. By signing the design-construction agreement in June 2018, both parties agreed on a distribution of improved profit margins made throughout the term of the project. After handover of the premises and lifting of all reserves, the amount was shared between OpenBox and its client, following certification of accounts.
Issue of a cheque in this manner is unique on the design and construction market for professional premises where it is customary for the contractor to retain all profits. It is an illustration of the scale of Co Design&Build and shows that it is entirely possible to work differently without requiring guarantees of results and transparency.
Beyond the financial aspect, the Co Design&Build method promotes trust and leads to a genuine collaboration towards successful project completion. Les Papeteries Pichon was informed throughout the project, notably in terms of purchase prices and remuneration of OpenBox, as well as being consulted in choices, and was fully involved in the design and construction of its premises.
“We are of course delighted with the savings made over this operation and the fruitful collaboration with OpenBox”, stated Thierry Cappé.
“This working method is a win-win for everyone involved as the interests of the client and constructor are in line with each other”, stated Bertrand Chabanne. “The proposal made by Co Design&Build was the best when considering the entire value chain, from architectural design to completion”.
Teams from Les Papeteries Pichon progressively begin to occupy these new premises including automated warehouses and a head office spanning a total of 21,600 m².
Automation of the logistical chain was a key challenge. The teams from Les Papeteries Pichon, Etyo (Assistant Project Manager) and OpenBox worked in close collaboration with Savoye, to integrate automation solutions from as early as the building design phase (order storage and preparation). The building was one of the very first in France to integrate a 12,000 m² unit, thanks to the new decree in April 2017 which allows for twofold increase in surface areas of storage units which had until then been capped at 6,000 m².
With XXL Atelier, special attention was also placed on the architectural design of the buildings, notably offices and communal areas so as to assist the well-being of employees and meet the requirements of Manutan Group, in harmony with its subsidiary Manutan France which was certified “Best Workplaces 2020” by the Great Place to Work institute.
In recent years, land shortages and rising costs have driven companies to seek solutions for optimising their investments. The issues are pressing and builders are innovating to find ways of increasing clear height while keeping operations viable.
Technical solutions are known but it is essential to analyse the specificities of each type of merchandise and every clients’ requirements in order to find made-to-measure solutions for gaining the clear height needed for each operation - and at an acceptable cost. That is where Co Design&Build becomes so valuable: by co-designing the project with our clients and all partners, we reach decisions collectively about balancing the demand for increased storage with the necessity of respecting budgets.
It is important to recognise that several constraints limit the options. Firstly, the cost of sprinkler systems increases significantly if aiming for floor to roof height of more than 13.70m. To comply with prevailing regulations (APSAD or NFPA) and keep up with technical developments in terms of fire protection, it is necessary to adapt and choose the optimal ratio.
What is more, the load on the roof and, more particularly, the building of solar power plants, must be factored into the size of the frame. The material used in the structure – wood or concrete – has a big influence on costs but also on floor space and the amount of space needed for laying grids. A balance must be struck between reducing posts and increasing height and between functionality and aesthetics.
The choice of rainwater drainage system often carries strategic importance when looking for height: avoid under paving systems and opt instead for swales that carry water towards the front (but which often impact storage height). Alternatively, a stench trap solution is ideal for achieving more height (but does have consequences for maintenance) and a more traditional gravity-based solutions is also possible (but takes up more space). Our teams examine all of these options carefully to determine the most suitable for each given case.
In the two recent OpenBox projects, this issue of clear height was at the heart of discussions. In one case, in order to cope with unusual pallets stored four tiers off the surface, we chose a wooden frame and were able to reach clear height of 10.5m with a span of 29m, with floor to roof height of 12.2m, and all at a cost that satisfied the parties. This project also involved a rooftop solar power plant that added 25kg/m² to the load.
In the case of the Barjane project in Louvres, a concrete frame was used and clear height reached 12.2m (surface +5 storage) with a span of 24m and floor to roof height of 13.7m. This resulted in gaining an additional level of storage, representing 20% more storage space across the whole building.
The increased use of stock picking systems in mezzanine (heavily driven by e-Commerce) is another reason to seek more vertical clearance in projects.
OpenBox’s expertise is continually challegned by our clients’ needs : with them, we innovate on a daily basis.
The construction work entrusted to OpenBox got under way with smiles and an October sun,
The future Barjane Distribution Centre is located in the Commune of Louvres, in the Butte aux Bergers Business Park set up by Grand Paris Aménagement in close proximity to Paris and Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.
Barjane chose OpenBox to erect this 37,700m² building, which is to meet high architectural, landscaping and environmental standards while enabling cutting-edge logistics business.
ba&sh will occupy a 12,000m² logistics unit and around 750m² of office space. The size of their new warehouse and its layout are intended to support the international expansion of the brand’s women’s prêt-à-porter range.
SeD Supply Chain Solutions will cover 18,000m² and 500m² of offices: the planned clearance height for the project (12.20m) will allow a mechanical reduction of 20% of pallet storage costs.
During the ceremony, these two “tenants” reiterated the benefits that they will enjoy thanks to this new tool and stressed the importance of delivery deadlines.
OpenBox rises to this challenge. All of the project’s phases are carried out with the innovative Co Design&Build method, which is based on transparency and collaboration between the various stakeholders, with co-design serving the overall interest of the project.
The architect is Agence Franc.
Barjane wanted the project to include a strong corporate social responsibility commitment: "This new aims to have HQE certification and will use the latest innovations regarding renewable energies, energy optimisation and the reduction of maintenance costs," said Hasna Berkia-Guez, Barjane’s quality and sustainable development manager.
OpenBox worked particularly hard on this aspect, with the site having a low environmental impact and by implementing actions to preserve biodiversity, arrange alternative management of rainwater, and so on.
With Julie Barlatier Prieuret, CEO of Barjane, Pierre-Arnaud Grenade, CEO of ba&sh, et de Christophe Dubois, Chairman of SeD logistique.
At OpenBox , we are convinced that collective intelligence is a strength. This fall, we gathered out of the office, at La Bulle Work Place, to think and improve the way we work together, starting from our strengths. Transparency, agility and pugnacity are qualities that we nurture every day to satisfy our customers.