With their upcoming office building in the center of Odense, the Danish Building and Property Agency will be bidding farewell to what has bound construction together in Denmark for centuries: stone, sand and gravel from our underground.
26 November 2021
Instead, wood will play the leading role as a building material in the six-story building consisting of 31,000 square meters. It will have space for 1,600 employees distributed over eight state institutions, who will occupy the office hub at the beginning of 2025.
NCC: BREAKTHROUGH ON THE WAY
The Danish Building and Property Agency will thus be following a new direction and the project on Lerchesgade in Odense has already made the turnkey contractor think and work in a very goal-oriented way.
–This project marks a breakthrough and establishes new standards, because it is not just a hybrid solution. The project in Odense is a solid timber solution with the load-bearing elements in wood and the building may be the challenge that makes the construction industry work in a new way. This is why Lerchesgade is on our minds 24/7, says Martin Manthorpe, Director of strategy and business development at NCC.
He notes that there are several new-builds in wood in the pipeline and that NCC is well equipped to solve these tasks.
–As a Nordic concern, we draw on the experiences that NCC in Norway and Sweden have had with regard to building in wood. We are generally very interested in introducing more wood into the industry. Building materials traditionally deliver poor carbon accounting, but by using more wood in the construction, we reap massive carbon savings, assesses Martin Manthorpe.
EARLY TASK FORCE
The fact that the office building in Odense is in a category of its own became apparent with the early establishment of a special task force focusing exclusively on Lerchesgade.
–We have carried out ten to twelve internal interviews with relevant professionals in Norway and Sweden. We wanted to avoid encountering something that others already had experience with, says Lars Ørvad, Divisional Manager at NCC Vest and tasked with the overall managerial responsibility for the project in Odense.
He originally trained as a carpenter and building constructor. So it is perhaps understandable that he is looking forward to the fragrance of wood spreading when Lerchesdage reaches up towards the sky…
–The Danish Building and Property Agency has dared to walk the line with the use of wood in this office building project. This will send a very strong signal to the construction industry and it is a privilege for me to be a part of such a visionary project, says Lars Ørvad.
NEW CONCEPT: MOISTURE MANAGEMENT
When preparing a construction project like the one in Odense, business-as-usual applies in many situations, such as dialogues with engineers, consultants and planners. But because this is a case of a construction in wood, great demands are associated with the material itself in terms of handling and logistics.
We operate with no less than a moisture strategy. We also talk about moisture management, because handling water and moisture incorrectly can create a bad partnership with wood. This moisture strategy also means that we have a great deal of focus on covering the house and closing it off as quickly as possible to keep water out, says the divisional manager.
On a more practical level, the moisture strategy also includes tools that are located in a container and can be used when needed.
We have wet/dry vacuum cleaners and special swabs that can lead the water to where it cannot damage the wood. The moisture strategy also plays a crucial role here. If this fails, we will not achieve our goals. This was an issue that our Nordic colleagues underlined repeatedly, stresses Lars Ørvad.
The Danish Building and Property Agency’s vision for the office building in Lerchesgade is rooted in stated wishes for sustainability. One of the goals is to create a synergy between the environmental, social and economic perspective. When wood is used as the load-bearing and pervasive material, then the construction responds in a very concrete way to the current climate situation – regardless of the usefulness of the final declarations of various summits.
Lerchesgade acts! This means, for example, that the building utilizes the fact that wood has embedded CO2 through the air throughout its lifetime. Wood can be seen as a CO2 store, and the sustainable aspect is heightened by the replacing of the felled tree with the planting of a new one. NCC will be using certified wood bearing the so-called FSC and PEFC mark in the Odense building.
A LITTLE ADVENTURE
Lars Ørvad senses that his colleagues in the construction industry are following the progress of the Danish Construction and Property Agency’s project very closely.
–Not everyone will build in wood, but the interest in wood as a building material is enormous. Both consultants and suppliers have opened their eyes, and as the turnkey contractor on one of Denmark’s most ambitious projects, NCC is often invited to hold speeches about the particular discipline required to build in wood. And in this way, it is a bit of an adventure working on Lerchesgade, says Lars Ørvad, pointing at some of the papers that form the basis of it all.
WoodHub is an office building comprising 31,000 square meters, six floors in height and with space for 1,600 workplaces.
The ground floor will include functions for citizens and the building’s edge zones will support city life by e.g. allowing access to the internal garden of the office building.
Eight state institutions will move into the house on Lerchesgade when the construction is ready for occupancy in 2025.
Text: Søren Egert / NXT // Photo: Jonathan Grevsen and Stine Skøtt Olesen / NXT