Commissioned by a social housing company, the two existing apartment blocks in the Drie Hofsteden in Courtrai have been thoroughly renovated. At the same time, a third apartment block was built. This renovation project is partly a component of an ECO Life project with European subsidies. The ambition level for the new construction results in low energy consumption. In order to give the project a natural look, MOSO® Bamboo X-treme® was selected for finishing the façade of the new building. The ecological advantages of the CO2 neutral bamboo cladding fit in very well with this project.
Fire resistant bamboo cladding
The Drie Hofsteden complex consists of three apartment blocks. “The façades of the other two buildings are made of white crepi with panels, wooden slats and white metal. For the intermediate building, we wanted to make wood the main material of the façade,” says architect Nancy Latruwe of B2Ai. “However, according to Belgian legislation for medium and high-rise buildings, cladding must comply with fire reaction class B-s3, d1. Without fire retardant treatment, no wood known to us meets this class. In contrast to soft woods, such as pine, tropical hardwood is difficult or impossible to impregnate. Such treatment with a fire retardant is, in any case, environmentally harmful and requires maintenance. We were pleasantly surprised when a colleague discovered that Bamboo X-treme® does not need to be treated with flame retardant to comply with class B-s3, d1. The choice of wood species for this project was, therefore, quickly made.
“A fire-resistant treatment costs about 17 euros per square metre. You get a 10 year warranty on it, but if you read the warranty conditions carefully, you have to carry out local repairs about every two years and that involves an aerial work platform. We actually wanted to get rid of this environmentally unfriendly system of treatment. Bamboo proved to be the perfect alternative. After installation, façades with Bamboo X-treme®cladding do not require periodic maintenance. Due to the high stability, the boards remain flat in place in contrast to other natural materials. The savings are, therefore, not only in the treatment, but also in the maintenance of the façade. The total cost over the lifetime of the façade are thus lower,” concludes the architect. Due to the great satisfaction with the use of bamboo in this project, B2Ai has now also used bamboo as cladding in other projects.