Luxembourg’s Financial Sector Supervisory Commission, the CSSF, has a new home. The spectacular white building has recently been completed – on schedule and on budget – and the Commission will shortly take possession.
In an interview with Luxembourgish business magazine Paperjam, director of Soludec Jacques Brauch discusses this major project and some others that are already underway.
Mr. Brauch, tell us about Soludec’s role in the construction of the CSSF building.
We handled the entire project, from laying the foundations to final delivery of the keys last week. It was a significant job for us because it was one of our biggest projects in recent years: the building is close to 17,000m2 above ground, plus a further 3,000m2 of basement.
What particular challenges did this venture hold for Soludec?
Well it was originally a public tender and the estimated cost exceeded the client’s budget, but they reconsidered and we were entrusted with the job. For me, this showed great confidence in our expertise and our company; however, we did have to look for savings throughout the project, which involved great teamwork with the client. Also numerous additional requests were made throughout the development of the work, but despite this we still managed to stay within the designated 30 million euro budget.
What form did these additional requests take?
It was mainly for ease of use, for example improving access and IT facilities, including housing the servers. We still delivered the turnkey project on budget and on time, within the two year schedule. And as I said, this was possible thanks to excellent collaboration with our client.
This construction is part of a series that you have already produced from white architectural concrete?
The CSSF building could be described as monolithic in structure, with a uniform façade, defined and strongly present in its environment. We have developed a specific method for mounting and fixing the façade system. What is interesting is that the façade is self-supporting: it is not actually attached to the building, but merely leaning so to speak.
This is surely a showcase project for your company?
“Yes indeed, it will become part of our long history in the field of construction – particularly in the tertiary sector. We are delighted to have been able to bid as general contractor in a public tender and this project endorses our expertise in this area. What’s more, due to the building’s strategic location it marks the entrance to the City. I am immensely proud of this achievement.
Soludec is currently working on several other projects, such as the renovation of Le Royal Hotel. Can you tell us something about this?
Yes, this is a major renovation project with architects Spigarelli Adolfo and Origami Atelier d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme. The only part of the hotel which will be unaffected is the 1990 extension: the whole façade will be repaired and cleaned, and some major building work carried out to the rear of the property. About 150 employees are working daily on the new area, which will accommodate 160 rooms and a brand new ground floor. We are also adding an extension to the rear courtyard, which will double the size of the brasserie. The entire infrastructure will be new and the technology is being completely overhauled – electrics, heating, air conditioning, telephony; there is not a single cable or pipe that is not being replaced. Apart from the technical renovations, we will also be creating new spaces, and there will be all new furniture in the bedrooms, new bathrooms, and the lobby will be completely redesigned and refurbished. But what is even more ambitious is the lead time, because the majority of the work will be completed by November. It is a very rigorous project without any break for the traditional collective leave, enabling us to schedule final delivery for January 2016.
You also recently launched a new real estate project in rue de Strasbourg. Is Soludec involved in much building development activity?
Yes, it’s one of our three core business areas: we carry out construction for the tertiary sector – offices and large public works; engineering works and civil engineering, like the Pont Adolphe bridge which we are currently renovating; and finally residential and commercial real estate, which includes this project. It is a part of our business which is expanding rapidly. For projects such as these, the complexity lies in the acquisition of land, obtaining the various building permits, and the financial risk that such operations represent. If we put all these factors together, real estate development is probably the most complicated area. But we don’t let that deter us. This month we are launching a number of projects: two in Belval, the Plato apartments with architect Tatiana Fabeck and the Jazz apartments with Metaform, and a 20,000m2 apartment block in Hollerich comprising 150 units.
Original article in Paperjam.lu