This summer was unusually warm and sunny - ideal conditions for experiencing the performance of the new structure against the traditional one.
In two previous posts Office expansion & Hi-Con main office expansion - moving in I have explained the process of innovating, designing, building and erecting our new main office expansion. If you missed it earlier, here is the complete timelapse of the installation and exterior completion:
We have now experienced working in our floating modular CRC i2® building for the past 6 months and would like to invite you inside and share the experience with us.
Interior view as seen when entering from the old administration building.
So, can we tell the difference between working in the traditional concrete-and-brick-building and our new UHPC creation? I’ll let some of my colleagues sharing the new offices with me answer that question:
Julie Nayberg Thomsen, Group Brand Manager:
“I am working in the outermost room in the new building, with plenty of light and a view to the nature surrounding Hjallerup. So, despite an internal joke, that we who are placed in the expansion have been sent to the pit, it is quite nice to get the opportunity to work in new, light and open office spaces – and even made from our own products “
Morten Møller Madsen, Key Account Manager, Balconies and staircases, DK:
” It’s nice with so much daylight – and even from two sides, and we have plenty of space, even with 4 in each office room. The office gets quite hot, and it is difficult to get the air moving or create a draught – without having the papers on the table flying around. The building looks really nice and is a good example of what we can do in CRC – I always get good response when we have people visiting. Good thing it got painted on the outside though!”
Bendt Aarup, Group R&D Manager:
” Good sized rooms and really great acoustic properties, However, we are placed a little aside from the rest of the Hi-Con staff – and we could use air-conditioning!”
Kristian F. Worm, Sales - Balconies & staircases, DK:
“The rooms are nice and spacious - It’s a change though, that people are looking into the offices as they pass by in the aisle. I could use some frosted glass. And I miss our air condition unit from our old office – the new building is very, very hot “
Torsten Skov, Sales - Balconies & staircases, DK:
“It’s light and pleasant with a view to forest and fields. It gets quite warm when the sun is out – blinds or another form of shading would be nice. Apart from that it’s kind of cool to see our own material in the walls, both indoors and outdoors, forming the impressively thin walls. I’m quite happy with our new building!”
To follow up on the statements from my colleagues, a couple of comments:
It was hot in the new building during summer, and still is! However, the combination of highly insulated elements keeping the daytime heat out, and low internal thermal mass made it possible to cool the building by opening all the windows in the morning (as shown in the first photo). In this way, the new building was kept 3-4˚C cooler than the existing office, despite the large window area facing south.
Even so, it is apparently possible to insulate a building too much 😊.
Another observation was that the combination of an exposed concrete roof and hot, sunny weather results in some noise as the roof plates expand and contracts. It is not surprising, as the black surface gets really hot, but with daily temperature dilations under the conditions this summer of around 5 mm we have learned to live with a series of bumping noises during the day as the building reacts.
Of course, this should have been anticipated, and could easily be avoided by adding a layer of insulation on top of the roof plates, but since we want to demonstrate the impervious nature of CRC i2® by using the raw CRC i2® partially as the actual roof, we must live with it!
Whereas most of the roof is covered with roofing felt directly on the CRC i2® roof plates, the small plate closest to the existing building is left exposed to demonstrate that even a thin CRC i2® plate is impervious to water.
We also learned, that although thermally and environmentally efficient, the low weight of the building made it more sensitive to vibration – when the vibrating tables in the production are running at full capacity, it could be heard in the building as the radiators started resonating. This despite some 20 meters distance to the nearest vibrating table. It was solved in a very low-tech way with small rubber inlays in the radiators …
As the attentive reader may have noticed, the outside surfaces were painted using a semi-transparent silicate-based paint. This is often necessary with colored concrete surfaces, because lime efflorescence is very difficult to avoid - especially when building during the cold and moist months of the year. By using semi-transparent paint rather than opaque, the concrete ‘feel’ and the expression of a living material is maintained.
Finally, a little curious detail about CRC i2® as interior walls: they are slightly magnetic – so it is possible to use the raw walls directly as a bulletin board:
So, the main experience is that the lightweight CRC box modules are (terribly) thermally efficient, but the “sweatbox effect” apart, work well as inspiring offices and working space for us here at Hi-Con.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief insight into living in CRC i2® box modules, and as always, you are most welcome to visit our Wordpress blog if you have questions or comments.
Bendt Kjær Aarup Group Material Development Manager