On Wednesday 13th November 2013 Visser & Smit Bouw officially received the commission from ProRail to construct the New Utrecht Signalling Centre (NVLU) to replace the old one. Visser & Smit Bouw will be utilising BIM for the detailed engineering and coordination of the project. The BIM-model can also be used for facilities and maintenance management. ProRail are a forerunner in this respect: hardly any projects in the construction and installation sector have utilised BIM to this extent.
The new building has an area of 4500 square meters and will form the heart of the train operations of ProRail in and around Utrecht. Through the use of steel and glass, the new building will have a strong industrial character. The building will be in use 24 hours a day and will include amongst other things a reception area, plant room and a 5 meter high signalling control room. In addition, there are floors of offices and meeting rooms. The new building will accommodate 100 employees.
ARCADIS Netherlands will manage the project. The technical fit out of the building will be carried out by VolkerWessels and HOMIJ Technical Installations from Vianen.
The architects de Jong Gortemaker Algra (dJGA) have placed the users central to their design. The building’s climate control will be sustainably designed. The location of the signal room, the façade design, triple glazing, hybrid chillers and an energy roof will contribute to a comfortable working environment with plenty of natural light. Internally, the pallet of materials and design language will invoke the history of the rail company but reinterpret this in a contemporary context. The structural frame of the building will be visible, just like a traditional railway bridge.
The Signalling Centre in Utrecht processes more traffic than any other due to the busy hub at Utrecht Central Station (CS). The old centre is at the end of its life span and stands jammed between several new construction projects and the evacuation area of Utrecht CS. ProRail also wants create more space for future innovation.
ProRail has 13 signalling centres which control 7,352 junctions and 11,599 signals on 7,050 km of track; 24 hours a day 7 days a week. ProRail's signalling centres do for the rail network what air traffic control does for Schiphol. They form a vital link in a punctual and reliable railway service. For this reason most of the centres are being renovated and ProRail has replaced the old centre in Utrecht with a thirteenth brand new one. The goal is to make the railways even more reliable.
de Jong Gortemaker Algra (dJGA)
left: Mr Hans Fleer (Facilities Manager, ProRail) / right: Mr Frans Snaaijer (General Manager, Visser & Smit Bouw) © ProRail