The Poort van Dendermonde, that’s the name of the new prison located along the Dender River in the town of Dendermonde. On the outside, the striking star-shaped cell block serves as a focal point. And inside, our electrical panels power the entire site. Account manager Jens Oosterbos and project engineer Hans Hoeyberghs will take you on a tour.
Electrical panels prison Poort van Dendermonde
The Poort van Dendermonde consists of four buildings: entrance, services, logistics, and, of course, the cells themselves. With a capacity of 444, it is one of the larger prisons in Belgium.
Jens: “We engineered and built the electrical panels for the entire prison, around 80 in total. From the panels for the kitchen to the ones at the cell level.”
Hans: “Especially the cell panels with their access modules are quite specific. But technically, we knew exactly what to do. We had previously fabricated the panels for the Haren Prison – the largest prison in the country – a while back. That experience is invaluable. It’s one of the reasons why the client chose us.”
Jens: “Material shortages were the biggest challenge. They still pose an uncertain factor, but the situation has improved these past months. During the execution of the project in mid-2021 to early 2022, it was a really tough period for the Poort van Dendermonde. We always keep panel and switchgear materials up to 630A in stock. But materials above 630A were hard to come by. We had to move heaven and earth to get our materials here on time. It was truly a search for solutions.”
“We had to move heaven and earth.”
Jens Oosterbos, account manager
Hans: “One part of the solution: ordering materials even before the designs were finally approved. That means analyzing each design separately. Asking questions like: What are the components that won’t change? Which parts are we 100% certain about? It’s not our usual way of working, but it was a way to meet the deadlines.”
Jens: “The second part of the solution: delivering electrical panels that weren’t entirely complete. We already provided the wiring on terminals. This way, the panels could start heading to the construction site, and the technicians from the installation company could proceed. As soon as we received the missing components, we went to Dendermonde to install them on-site. It required extra effort on our part, but this way, the installation company could start placing and connecting the panels, and no time was wasted.”
Hans: “It certainly demanded more than the usual flexibility from our team, both from our panel builders in the workshop and our on-site technicians. Hats off to them – we truly have an amazing team.”
About the electrical panels
Design, construction, and mechanical and electrical connection of:
- 3 main panels in ELSTEEL
- 32 distribution panels for the panels
- 55 distribution panels for the cells
About the prison
- Location: Site in Zwijvekekouter, between the Oud Klooster, the Dendermonde-Gent railway line, and the Dender River.
- Site area: 11 hectares or 110,000 square meters
- Above-ground surface area: 45,000 square meters
- Gross surface area: approximately 31,000 square meters
- Capacity: space for 444 detainees
- Comprises four main sections:
- Entrance building with a courtroom
- Service building: administration, sports hall, and visitor complex.
- Logistics building: workshops, kitchen, and laundry.
- The cells, spread across four wings with three floors, with a central supervision core.
- Four courtyards and two green walks.
Copyright pictures: Koen Mutton Photography