Bleckmann and VDR Bouwgroep build the largest circular distribution centre in the Netherlands

20 June 2022

Bleckmann and VDR Bouwgroep are building the largest demonstrably circular fulfilment centre in the Netherlands. This way, they are taking concrete steps in line with their vision on sustainability. The building will have 45,600 sq m of floor space, which will be completed in the Twente region of the Netherlands by March 2023.

The circular distribution centre under construction in Almelo is a milestone for Bleckmann, VDR Bouwgroep and the logistics and construction sectors. It shows that logistics buildings can be sustainable if forces are jointly collaborating on the long term strategies and responsibilities. At the same time, it is more than a statement. This next step in sustainability aims to inspire the entire logistics sector, the construction sector, the real estate market and Governments to join the circular path when developing industrial sites for the future.

Bleckmann aims to reduce the environmental impact of its activities, so it focuses on sustainability in the construction of a new DC. To realise this, the logistics market leader for fashion, lifestyle and electronics brands works together with VDR Bouwgroep. VDR is a specialist in the construction of circular industrial business accommodation.

The challenge is huge, nobody has ever built a circular project on this scale before. The fulfilment centre has a total floor area of 45,600 sq m and an internal free height of 15.2 metres. This internal height means that the available cubic metres can be used optimally/vertically, whilst savings can be made on the scarce building lands now being made available.

Demonstrable circular construction

Building circular, attention is paid to the origin of the materials. They are non-toxic and of natural origin and dismountable at any stage. Furthermore in this construction method, waste will be reduced/limited and the most environmentally friendly options are chosen also the possibility for recycling and reuse afterwards is maximised. All this information is collected, stored and shared through an extensive Building Passport, which again; will help with utilising the latest upto date project data for future builds.

The Building Passport includes validated values for the Material Circularity Indicator (MCI), the Loosening Index (LI) and the Environmental Performance of Buildings (MPG). In addition, the building will be delivered with a take-back guarantee.

Additional investments will include heat pumps, energy-efficient installation techniques, low-cement floors and roof and wall panels contributing to reducing the carbon footprint as much as possible. Of course, solar panels will form part of the installation, for which the building will obtain the BREEAM Excellent certification.

The expertise gained from the design and construction will shared with the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), this is the Civil Service for Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands. RVO will closely monitor and collaborate with the design, construction, furnishing teams and end use of the building.

Expansion of Bleckmann campus in Twente

The new circular distribution centre is being built on the XL business park in Twente. Bleckmann already has an existing campus of over 100,000 sq m. The new site, a stone's throw away from the existing site, will enlarge the Bleckmann campus at the XL Business park. The business park has its own container terminal on the Twente Canal, so even more efforts will be made to transport containers by water from the European ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, once again helping to reduce various other forms of movement and fuel emissions.

With the expansion of this campus, the 160-year-old logistics specialist Bleckmann is strengthening its position in the region with which it has historical ties.

Mark Van Onna, General Manager Real Estate at Bleckmann: "Circular construction on this scale has never been seen before. We believe in the responsible use of the spatial environment. By building circularly, it is possible to dismantle the hall in the future and turn it into a residential area. This is a partnership at its best. In this partnership, VDR Bouwgroep can express its expertise in circular construction to the full."

Luc Baltus, Managing Director VDR Bouwgroep: "The cabinet is fully committed to circular construction. Companies must use at least 50 per cent fewer minerals, fossil fuels, metals and materials by 2030. This is greatly needed to achieve the goals of the Climate Agreement. For us as a construction team, RVO is a partner that shares information, helps us on our way and supports us. By sharing our practical knowledge and experience of circular construction with RVO, we, in turn, help the government to better align their circular principles with practice."  

Janneke Brouwer, Advisor Mia and Vamil at RVO: "By opening up incentive measures (such as MIA/Vamil) for circular initiatives, the market is encouraged to work on this new construction method. RVO is strongly committed to knowledge sharing. Instead of only testing on hard delivery requirements, RVO strives to make opportunities and bottlenecks visible to the construction sector and the government, with the aim of accelerating the circular construction.”


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Dorota Tankink
Dorota Tankink

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