We have been supporting the growth and development of the Eurogarden garden centre in the vicinity of Ljubljana for many years now. In its original form, the garden centre was built and delivered in 2003. Over the years, the investor requested the addition of several canopies that were annexed to the main building and facilitated the sale and protection of goods, plants and display pieces outside the garden centre.
The investor’s wish was to transform the existing garden centre into the most state-of-the-art centre in Slovenia and in the nearby EU region, to make it more energy efficient and to improve its visual image.
Presentation of the original state and requirements of the investor
The load-bearing structure of the building was made of steel, while the walls and segmented roof were originally covered with a combination of insulated panels and sealed units. The panels had a polyurethane filling and were relatively thin and had – by today’s standards – low insulation properties. A lot of energy was needed to cool the building in the summer and to heat it up in the winter, for which the investor had to pay high operating costs.
Eurogarden Garden centre project in winter of 2004
Eurogarden Center 2020
Given the excellent experience so far and the complexity of the work needed for improving energy efficiency, the investor has again decided to hire us. The project proved difficult due to several factors; In the design phase, constant coordination with the investor was necessary to fulfil all its wishes and guarantee that they are technically feasible. We also needed a lot of technical data and information on the existing situation. During the construction phase, the biggest challenge was the assembly technology. Despite the ongoing work, the sales centre had to operate smoothly, as the closure of the facility during the renovation was not an option.
During renovation of the facility, the investor had the following key requirements:
– an affordable price
– better energy efficiency, which will reduce operating costs and enable a partial return on investment from the Ecofund grant
– a refurbished and more attractive building appearance
– work methods that will allow for uninterrupted operation of the garden centre
A wholesome offer that encompasses all the necessary works (turnkey property) We also cooperated with a partner who took care of the designing and all the administrative procedures regarding permits.
Project schedule and the individual phases
Before the start of work, we prepared a detailed plan that was later changed and adjusted several times due to the specifics of the project. Due to our flexibility and professional approach, we here at Schwarzmann were also able to overcome this challenge.
The renovation of the building took place in several phases:
1. Removal of the central dome as well as the replacement of the structure together with a new roof and wall panels
2. Removal of the existing façade, installation of a new structure and new façade cladding on the south side of the building
3. Elevation of the fabric structure awning on the north side of the garden centre
4. Removal of the existing façade, installation of a new structure and a new façade cladding on the south side of the building
5. Renovation of the existing canopy with panels on the north side of the garden centre
6. Removal of the existing façade, installation of a new structure and a new façade cladding on the south side of the building
7. Renovation of the existing canopy with panels on the north side of the garden centre
8. Removal of glass vents in the roof and installation of insulation panels with light domes
9. A renovation of the east façade will follow
In the design phase, we took into account all the necessary standards for the design of steel structures as well as all Ecofund requirements regarding subsidies for energy efficiency. For the 3D design, we used HiCAD software. Before starting the design process, the existing building was transferred to a 3D environment, which enabled a more state-of-the-art, high-quality approach to designing new assemblies and details.
We had to provide all the necessary documentation, as specified in the public call of the Ecofund. The majority of these documents was prepared by us, and some others with the help of external partners. In addition to the appropriate documentation for the installed materials, all phases had to be documented with photographs, since these are a mandatory attachment to the subsidies application. The Ecofund contributed to the successful implementation of the renovation work with a responsible attitude and complete support throughout the project process.
Biggest challenges during the project
Due to the specific nature of the project, the schedule for the production phase proved to be a special challenge. Due to adjustments and changes in the design, some assemblies would often have to be completed in a very short time. This was done successfully and without any errors.
The assembly phase already proved difficult due to troubles accessing some parts of the garden centre. For timely implementation within the agreed deadline, it was crucial to rent the appropriate construction machinery at the right time. The biggest challenge was the large car cranes, which were scheduled only for specific days and hours. Renting such machinery is costly, which is why quality planning is key to controlling the budget of the project.
The investor demanded that the installation did not interfere with business, therefore the garden centre was never closed during the building – not even for a single day. It was also important to plan work on dry days, as rain could damage exposed sales material. In the winter, we adjusted our schedule so that there were no interferences with the business or the sales material due to the low temperatures.
It was crucial for the investor to get everything in one package and through one trusted partner. At Schwarzmann, we therefore approached the project ambitiously with exciting ideas and comprehensive support to the investor during development and design as well as by optimizing efficiency in the production and assembly phases. The investor received a modern garden centre and an energy-efficient facility without interruptions to its business.