Sint-Jozef Campus: Belgium’s largest CLT project uses PEFC-certified timber
8 September 2023 Sustainable construction
The new Sint-Jozef campus in Ekeren, Belgium, was built in just one year using PEFC-certified, cross laminated timber (CLT). The 6,000 m² of timber used for it stores 4,400 tonnes of CO2.
The project had to meet an essential condition: it had to be sustainable. This led to the choice of PEFC-certified timber and sustainable construction techniques.
"Wood as a building material is the future. But to know whether it fits in with an ecological approach, you have to take into account its origin", explains Karel Verzelen, CEO of CLT-S, responsible for the engineering, design, delivery and assembly of the wooden structure.
Pupils from three different specialised primary and secondary schools will soon be moving into the brand-new buildings.
When CLT means speed
Laminated wood was used for the beams and columns, the floors and walls were constructed using PEFC-certified CLT panels.
"We chose CLT because of the speed of execution of this construction technique," explains Karel Verzelen.
"Everything is prefabricated, which means it can be assembled quickly on site.”
With other construction techniques, it's not always possible to stick to the plans, and measurements have to be taken on site.
"With CLT, the execution on site corresponds perfectly to the drawings. This is particularly important for precision work such as windows. We create structural elements with stable measurements that fit together perfectly on site," he continues.
"For us, aiming for sustainability is a matter of course. Thanks to our certification, we know that the wood we use comes from sustainably managed forests. We are a link in the chain that connects the forest to the consumer."
95% of the building is made of wood. Only the lift shafts consist of concrete, the technical rooms of masonry and the raised playground of concrete sheeting.
Wood, a soothing material
In addition to the durability of wood and the fast construction time, this material is also soothing. It creates the right structure and has a beneficial effect on children's behaviour.
"For the client, it was essential to work with wood on a campus housing mainly children requiring care. Its warm character has enormous advantages. That's why we opted for exposed timber both inside and out. CLT is therefore an architectural element in itself," explains Jona Michiels, Innovation Manager of the Van Roey Group, the general contractor for this project.
Photo credits: © CLT-S NV_Zorgcampus Sint-Jozef Ekeren. All rights reserved.