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Rotterdam's Timmerhuis relies on ArcelorMittal steel for sustainability and speed

In the early 1950s, Rotterdam began a programme to reconstruct the city’s centre, much of which had been destroyed during World War 2. One of the first buildings to be completed was the Timmerhuis on a site near Rotterdam Town Hall. The Timmerhuis included offices and shops and quickly became an icon of downtown Rotterdam.

After more than 50 years of use, the Timmerhuis fell into disrepair. Rotterdam City Council decided to demolish the existing structure and build a new Timmerhuis which is in keeping with the city’s philosophy of creating a sustainable ‘living city’. To meet this brief, the new Timmerhuis will also include more than 90 apartments as well as shops, offices and parking.

Steel by ArcelorMittal

The new Timmerhuis has already earned the nickname ‘The Cloud’ thanks to its unique steel skeleton. It has allowed the architects to design a building which appears to be floating above the open space at ground floor level.

Construction is being carried out by CSM Steelstructures – a renowned builder of high-quality steel buildings. ArcelorMittal is the sole supplier of the steel quarto plates and profiles which will form the structure of the building and allow it to be completed quickly. 

Work on the building’s steel skeleton began at the end of November 2013 with the goal of delivering the completed Timmerhuis by early 2015.

Koen Winters, Manager of CSM’s Purchasing Department, explains the advantages of using ArcelorMittal steel in the new Timmerhuis: “The plates from ArcelorMittal have low equivalent carbon content (CEV). This increases our efficiency as we need less heating in the shop. We can also order what we need directly from the factory so we have the exact sizes and number of profiles or plates that we need for the project. That results in less waste and reduces the number of penetration welds required.”

Excellent BREEAM rating

The design of the new Timmerhuis has already led to the building receiving an ‘Excellent’ rating under the internationally recognised BREEAM methodology (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology). BREEAM is one of the most important and widely used systems to measure the sustainability characteristics of modern buildings.

Factors influencing the ‘Excellent’ score include the use of steel (which can be completely recycled at the end of the building’s life) and the fact that the steel travels by sea from the mill in Gijón (Spain) to Vlissingen (the Netherlands). “ArcelorMittal is also ISO 14001 certified,” explains Winters. “This was an added advantage in the allocation of this order.”

A high level of logistical service

“ArcelorMittal has been able to provide the customer with a high level of logistical service,” notes Nicolas Dujardin, Account Manager for ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products. “This was very challenging due to the distance between the mill and the customer. The success of the project has only been possible thanks to the open communication between the customer, our local agency and the customer service team at the mill.”  

Unique plates require unique service

Three main structural steel grades have been used in the plates for the Timmerhuis: S355J0+N, S355J2+N and S355K2+N. These steels have a guaranteed minimum yield and tensile strength. They are suitable for most construction applications.

Many of the plates were ordered with specific Z-tests (Z15, Z25, Z35) and a US-test (S1E1) to establish the through thickness ductility of the steel. This was necessary because the main structure consists of ‘Vierendeel’ beams with full penetration welds between columns and beams.

Almost every plate in the new Timmerhuis is tailor-made to specific dimensions. This enabled the client to minimise waste as each plate has its own unique place in the construction.

“All of the plates for the Timmerhuis have been delivered to the customer and they are very satisfied with our service,” notes Nicolas Dujardin. “I would like to thank everybody who has made this project a success. ArcelorMittal was able to provide outstanding service, comparable with that of a local mill, but from a distance. Because ArcelorMittal is able to offer this level of service, we will continue to capture interesting steel construction projects in Western Europe.

Related information

Website Timmerhuis Rotterdam

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