New headquarters for BNP Paribas Fortis: the challenge
You may wonder why BNP Paribas Fortis has decided to replace its existing headquarters with a new building. It seems a great deal of expense and effort, so there must be good reasons for it.
All Brussels employees at one location
BNP Paribas Fortis is currently dispersed between different buildings in the capital. The new way of working implemented within the bank includes desk sharing and teleworking which results in less office space per employee. BNP Paribas Fortis is not as big as it used to be, either. This has given us the opportunity to bring together all Brussels employees in one cluster of buildings.
Why not renovate?
The option of a complete renovation of the existing building has been studied in detail. However, there are fundamental problems with the existing building. The majority of the useful space is not in the two towers, or even in the connecting block, but is in the basement. Many of the workspaces were conceived to house services like the print and post room and a data centre. Consequence? They have limited natural light and so are very unpleasant to use by today’s office standards.
Another major problem is the poor ratio of usable to total floor space, combined with outdated technical facilities. This makes the use of the building per employee extremely expensive, and is bad for the environment.
Renovation would solve some of the problems, but the cost, both financially and environmentally, would be almost as high as the cost of demolition and construction of a new building. We have therefore opted for a new building.
New headquarters for BNP Paribas Fortis remain in the heart of Brussels
It was a conscious choice to remain in the capital: as the country’s biggest bank we play a major role in the economic life of Belgium and we want to maintain our presence in the country’s economic heart.
Another crucial factor is accessibility for our workforce. BNP Paribas Fortis and its predecessors have always favoured public transport as the main way of getting to work, and due to the proximity of Central Station, this is a perfect location.
The new building also gives us a great opportunity to blend in more effectively with the urban surroundings. This is in line with BNP Paribas Fortis’s ambition to be a force for change, and also to give a physical form to the connection between the bank and the community.
It is an opportunity that we have seized with both hands.