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Deutsche Welle Bonn

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Alteration of the Schürmann Building: Major challenges for the OBO team

It was a particularly special challenge for OBO Projekt- und Systemtechnik GmbH, the engineering service division of the OBO corporate group. Namely, the alteration of the former Schürmann Building in Bonn to become the new headquarters of the "Deutsche Welle".

In the past, the Schürmann Building, originally conceived as a building for members of parliament, often received bad press. Today, around 1,000 employees work in the modernised building. The specialists from OBO BETTERMANN have to be thanked for making this possible at all. Together with additional experts, they turned the office building into one of the most modern media complexes in Europe.

Between January 2000 and March 2003, seven upper storeys and four basements had to be altered to permit a completely different type of use. A challenging task for OBO's engineers and technicians was to connect the cable routes and vertical shafts in such a way as to meet the high demands of a modern radio station. A much greater number of cables and thus cable support systems had to be additionally housed. On completion of the alterations, the OBO team had routed around 38,000 metres of cable trays of type MKS, SKS and cable ladders of different construction heights.

The greatest challenge to the engineers and technicians from OBO BETTERMANN was to install the different cable support systems in a relatively small space and avoid collisions with other units such as air-conditioning and ventilation ducts. This task was further impeded by the fact that, besides the conventional routing of energy and data cables, an installation with function maintenance had also to be planned. According to the current standards, these different routing types may not be combined in close proximity. In addition, the load on the cable trays and cable ladders is limited to 10 or 20 kg. In order to increase the load capability and install the large quantities of function maintenance cables, sometimes two cable trays were mounted on one bracket and secured with threaded rods.

This required a high level of flexibility and ideas from the OBO specialists. Frequently, those responsible had to find new methods to implement the complex electrical installation together with all the other expansion features.

Most of the solutions were implemented with KTS components, combined with special constructions. In addition, fire protection ducts had to be installed in some areas. These heavyweight ducts were also securely anchored using OBO mounting systems.

However, the greatest challenge for all those involved was the tight schedule. All in all, not an everyday task for the professionals from OBO. However, the team under the leadership of the experienced OBO Construction Manager, Roland Scholz, also mastered this challenge, thanks to exact planning, perfect organisation and refined logistics for delivery and mounting.