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.
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.
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.
Marine Dumas of Etyo, Project Manager on the Papeteries Pichon project, tells us about Co Design&Build
What is your role in the Papeteries Pichon project?
We are providing project management for Papeteries Pichon. So, we have provided support from the start as technical advisers for the construction of the building up to launch of the automated process.
How is the collaboration with the OpenBox teams going?
In both design and construction, the OpenBox staff were highly attentive to our requests and they anticipated the process-related constraints from the design phase onwards, enabling the project to be completed smoothly and on time. Despite these constraints, OpenBox also created an elegant architectural style which is very appreciable for a company for which this will be the place of work.
We also appreciated the responsiveness of our contacts. The operation evolved in a professional but very pleasant atmosphere.
For you, how does Co Design&Build come to life?
At this stage of the project, what stands out most are the concepts of transparency and dialogue: we had access to all the contractors’ quotes, which is not always the case. This enabled us to measure our negotiation leverage on global purchases and to arbitrate more easily regarding the execution of additional services. All necessary information was available and all choices and decisions were made through balanced dialogue.
Was that a highlight of this project?
The special feature of this project was the integration of an automated Savoye process. Throughout the project, we had to coordinate between the construction workers and the automation technicians, who did not necessarily take the same approach. This was all done in a cooperative manner, and even enabled us to get ahead of the schedule.
OpenBox and Papeteries PICHON invited, on Thursday, March 28, the companions, elected officials and project partners to celebrate the progress of the construction of the new logistics base of Papeteries Pichon (Manutan Group) in Veauche, around the traditional "Gigot Bitume" . More than 100 people attended the event around Mr. Christian Sapy, Mayor of Veauche, Mr. Jean-Claude Schalk, Mayor of Andrézieux-Bouthéon, Mr. Guy Françon, Mayor of Saint-Bonnet-les-Oules, Mr. Thierry Cappé, Managing Director of Papeteries Pichon and Bertrand Chabanne, President of OpenBox. Guests saw a cell of 12000 m² (one of the first in France) that will house a Magmatic, as well as offices, bathed in natural light. Thierry Cappé and Bertrand Chabanne pointed out the effectiveness of the Co Design & Build method, which has been guiding teams from the beginning and has establish relationships of trust and effective collaboration.
Architect XXL Workshop / AMO: ETYO / Automation: SAVOYE
See the reference sheet
Papeteries Pichon (Manutan Group) decided to construct their new logistics platform on the Forez plain and the operation was monitored by Loïc Thomas, project manager.
OpenBox designed and executed this project: 21,600 m² of fully automated warehouse space and high-quality offices. A new Decree, published in April 2017, allows the surface area of storage units to be doubled to 12,000 m², whereas until now it had been capped at 6,000 m². The building will double the order processing capacity of Papeteries Pichon, which is growing rapidly.
We are currently raising the superstructure of the building. The slab will be poured at the beginning of 2019. This step is particularly important for the success of the operation as it is the main interface with the automated process. The structures supporting the various logistic areas are extremely sensitive to changes in position. The tolerance levels are in the order of a millimetre and have required the deployment of a finite element model in order to predict the differential settlement under each of the supports.
From the beginning of the project, the staff from OpenBox, Etyo (Project Management Assistance), Savoye and Papeteries Pichon worked together using the Co Design&Build method: regular meetings and the co-creation of solutions taking into account the technical, architectural, logistical, environmental and security constraints, as well as the transparency of procurement prices.
Special attention was paid to the architectural quality of the buildings, including the offices and common areas, in order to meet the requirements of the Manutan Group, winner of the “Best Workplaces France” label. The layout of the roadway to the offices enhances one’s arrival the site: there are walkways, a treated water retention pond on landscaped grounds, a covered gallery and common entrance for the offices and warehouses located at the rear. The architects, XXL Atelier, also designed the building to have interior patios bathed in natural light. The ergonomics, the choice of materials, the treatment of façades, the landscaped areas, everything has been designed to highlight the building and warehouses.
Construction using Co Design&Build will ultimately enable the difference between the price agreed in the contract and actual costs on the basis of certified accounting to be shared.
Why did you choose OpenBox?
Our project was strategic: there were challenges involving time, business continuity, installation... We had already managed one property project, but we did not have all the resources needed to succeed by ourselves. OpenBox provided us with support at a very early stage. However, we also conducted a competitive bidding process in order to obtain the best proposal. Their experience and knowledge of the regional eco-system, their prices and their motivation made all the difference.
Regarding the project, they were available and ready to listen, they put forward the best solutions. Their obvious knowledge of logistics and its constraints is reassuring. What's more, it's a small, dynamic and innovative company. We were attracted by their way of working and their mindset. We are proud today to have helped them to grow.
How did the collaboration with the OpenBox teams go?
We never doubted their professionalism. They are experienced and know how to find the right people. They are also very attentive and have handles our requests, even the last-minute ones. They use a model that enables this to happen. We felt we were supported before, during and on delivery of the project. Despite the difficulties associated with their profession, I believe they always have the desire to satisfy their customers.
How did the delivery process go?
Delivery is always a delicate moment. We quickly realized that OpenBox shared, as we do, the desire to maintain a steady pace and to remove any reservations as quickly as possible. They remained highly available during the acceptance period and they resolved problems as they arose.
What does Co Design&Build mean for you?
We had to ask OpenBox to adapt their proposal, which they agreed to very quickly. They were very transparent, especially regarding costs over the entire project, and changes were far easier to manage.
OpenBox has also collaborated with numerous stakeholders with a great deal of integrity (three project management assistants, a developer and an investor).
Regarding the sharing of savings, as commonly happens with Co Design&Build, we preferred not to consider this alternative during the competitive bidding stage. We only addressed this proposal after selection. They agreed to pay €60,000 for renovations to our old platform. This is a kind of variation on the sharing of savings offered by Co Design&Build.
You have been in your new building for a few months now. Are you happy with it?
Everyone is happy with our new working environment. As part of the acquisition of Transports Charvin by BBL INVEST, it was a question of successfully accommodating four of the group’s companies at the same site and making people comfortable there. We wanted a high quality, well thought-out building: the choice of materials, the architecture, the services and the organisation of the building are all elements that have created a great logistics platform to work at!
Last July, OpenBox and DCB Logistics thanked the project’s partners and associates around a traditional ‘gigot-bitume’ [leg of lamb wrapped in kraft paper and cooked in molten bitumen].
This new 23,000 m² temperature-controlled warehouse (+15°C / +18°C), which was completed at the end of July, is dedicated to food product storage, order preparation, co-packing and transportation. 3 cells were built, a fourth remaining as a further extension. OpenBox’s expertise on this type of logistics platform enabled the challenges of this complex project to be addressed with all of the stakeholders. More information on the project.
Gilles Saubier, Groupe STEF, Dominique Berger, Vaulx-Milieu, Bertrand Chabanne, OpenBox, Didier Caudard-Breille, CEO DCB International, Jean-Marc Portanguen & Laurent SEVEN, DCB Logistics, Hugues Golzio, CEO BEG Ingénierie
Crédit photos: Groupe DCB International et Béatrice Bocquet