Giant tent cuts three months off the building schedule

Better quality and finished ahead of schedule. The client and the contractor are currently evaluating the construction of the Laboratory and Logistics Building at New Hospital and Mental Health Bispebjerg. As one of the first of its kind in Denmark it is built entirely under a tent.

“Because of the cover, we can cut three months off the schedule. But the biggest difference is the quality we can deliver when the building is finished next year,” says Senior Project Manager Ronan O’Reilly from New Hospital and New Mental Health Bispebjerg. Photo: Byggeriets Billedbank.

The 32 meter high tent, which has been covering the building site at Bispebjerg Hospital for just over a year, has just been taken down. Hidden below was a building, which has been spared wind and rain during the first stages of the construction process until the building was watertight.

“It is a completely different way of building,” says Senior Project Manager Ronan O’Reilly, who heads up the construction of the Laboratory and Logistics Building, a part of New Hospital and Mental Health Bispebjerg.


The 32 meter tall white tent, which has been covering the building site ate Bispebjerg Hospital for just over a year, has just been taken down. It reveals a building which has been protected against wind and rain in the first stages of the building process. Photo: Byggeriets Billedbank.


“Because of the cover, we can cut three months off the schedule. But the biggest difference is the quality of the building we have now and the finished building we will be able to hand over next year,” says Ronan O’Reilly. Bert van der Plaat, Project Director at the projects main contractor, Per Aarsleff A/S, backs this up:

”It is not uncommon that you find damp in new buildings and this summer has been unusually wet. Despite this, we are almost 100 percent certain that there is no damp in this building because it was protected by the tent,” says Bert van der Plaat.

We have had to change the way we think

It is only the third time in Denmark, that a building has been built under a complete cover like this, where incorporated cranes cover all lifting needs related to the shell & core works including the mounting of the facade.

”Part of the challenge was to sell the idea to the contractors and get them to bid for the job. I have to admit that even I was unsure if it was possible to build the Laboratory and Logistics Building using overhead cranes, mounted on tracks under the roof, instead of using several tower cranes,” says Senior Project Manager Ronan O’Reilly.



It is only the third time, in Denmark, that a building has been built under a complete cover like this, where incorporated cranes carry out all lifting jobs in relation to the shell and façade montage. Photo: Byggeriets Billedbank.


Five main contractors bid for the project and Per Aarsleff A/S was chosen. Project Director Bert van der Plaat explains that his biggest concern was the cranes.

”I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to manouvre around the building in order to mount the facade. But it hasn’t been a problem. Using the overhead cranes meant that we had to think differently, plan in more detail to make sure that we did everything in the right order. It was challenging at times but we managed it.”

No need to take wind and weather into account

New Hospital and Mental Health Bispebjerg were able to cut three months off the time schedule by keeping out the Danish weather.

”While building the shell we didn’t experience any weather related problems. For example, we were able to attach the facade elements in all kinds of weather because we didn’t have to think about the wind affecting the crane. Some days the roofers saved several hours because they were protected against the rain,” says Bert van der Plaat.



”It has been a positive experience working under a cover,” says Project Director Bert van der Plaat from Per Aarsleff A/S. Photo: Byggeriets Billedbank.


”You cannot remove risks in relation to wind and weather but you can control them and that is what we have done,” says Ronan  O’Reilly. He is very happy with the process, which gives him more time to test the building’s functions and ensures that he can hand it over with high quality, from day one. This is partly possible because the shell has been dry throughout the construction process and the work on plaster walls, installations and painting has started earlier than otherwise.

Great to do something not many others have done before

”Working under a cover has been a positive experience,” says Bert van der Plaat from Per Aarsleff A/S.

”The workers have felt that it was colder in spring and warmer in the summer and it gets dark quickly during the afternoon and evening. But on the other hand we don’t bother the neighbours with our lights and lamps. All in all it has been an interesting experience. And exiting to try something not many have done before,” he says.

The Laboratory and Logistics Building is expected to be ready in the summer of 2018, where the functions are tested in preparation for commissioning in the autumn of the same year. Until then there is still a lot of internal work to be carried out as well as the montage of the sun shading on the facade.

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