Sanitary block of the Itterbeek Chiro

Extension + refurbishment

  • Building Type : Other building
  • Construction Year : 2018
  • Delivery year : 2019
  • Address 1 - street : Plankenstraat 23 1701 DILBEEK, Belgique
  • Climate zone : [Cfb] Marine Mild Winter, warm summer, no dry season.

  • Net Floor Area : 15 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 55 000 €
  • Cost/m2 : 3666.67 €/m2
  • Primary energy need :
    (Calculation method : Other )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
51 à 90B
91 à 150C
151 à 230D
231 à 330E
331 à 450F
> 450G
Energy-intensive building

In 2018 Rotor was contacted by the municipality of Dilbeek to intervene in the festival "De Blik van Breugel" celebrating the 450th anniversary of the death of the famous painter Pierre Breugel, in Itterbeek, on the outskirts of Brussels. This festival took place from the beginning of April to the end of October 2019.

Rotor was contacted to design the pavilion for the festival (more information about the pavilion). This project was the perfect opportunity for the commune to highlight the use of reused materials.

It turned out that the municipality of Dilbeek was planning to build, at the same time, a new sanitary block for the members of the Chiro d'Itterbeek (youth organization), their premises being located in an old L-shaped farmhouse in the center of Itterbeek, right in front of the small church of Sint-Anna-Pede. This project could be perfectly combined with the need to provide sanitary facilities for the visitors of the festival 'De Blik van Breugel'. So a second assignment - the construction of a sanitary block next to the old farmhouse - came to Rotor. During the design phase, we proposed to the municipality of Dilbeek that we develop an exemplary project in which we would use a maximum of reusable building materials. In terms of tendering, this resulted in a design and construction contract for Rotor as designer-contractor, in association with the company CC Autrement. Little is known about the history of the farm where the toilet block was built. The building itself is the property of the Itterbeek church administration, which makes it available to the Chiro of Itterbeek. The sanitary block is the property of the municipality of Dilbeek.

This small building project is therefore an extension of the existing farmhouse, which, although completely new, consists of less than a third of new materials (in % mass). The majority of the materials are, on the one hand, materials recovered from various Belgian operators and, on the other hand, surplus from construction sites.

The facade, for example, is entirely made of bricks and joinery of reuse. The interior of the sanitary block is mainly made of reused materials sold by RotorDC. For example, the floor covering is made of ceramic tiles from a former Everheide elementary school (Brussels region) dating from the 1930s. The sanitary appliances (urinals, toilets and suspended washbasins), the lighting and the mirrors were also recovered, before finding their new destination in this project. The load-bearing structure, both the concrete blocks and the framework and associated thermal insulation, came from site surplus or surplus production. The tiles are surplus from the renovation of a villa in Brussels.

The scale of this project is modest but all the phases of a classic new construction project were carried out (foundations, sewers, shell, plumbing, electricity and interior design). The ambition to work as much as possible with reused materials was therefore explored at all levels. The objective of this small project was to show what is possible to implement and, at the same time, to identify the main logistical and organizational obstacles that can hinder material reuse projects. In this sense, the project was also an important learning experience for all involved.

If you had to do it again?

The construction site went well because the communication between the participants was fluid and easy. The question of materials was carefully thought out beforehand in order to try to use as many reused materials as possible while avoiding the need for the construction company to go and find materials in many different places. A few very specific dealers were therefore chosen. It is important to keep this point in mind for actors who also want to use a lot of reused materials. Site logistics is an important point of attention when working with reused elements. A few points for improvement in the future: Pay more attention to the finishing of the pipes that are to remain visible. Concerning the implementation of the bricks we will try in the future to use a mortar bastard rather than a cement-based mortar. The same applies to the installation of tiles.

See more details about this project

Photo credit

Rotor asbl-vzw


    Commune de Dilbeek

Construction Manager

    Rotor asbl-vzw


    Construction company

    CC Autrement







Energy consumption


    We do not have precise information on the current consumption of the building. The building is mainly used on weekends. The consumption is limited to : - sporadic lighting of the 5 lights ; - turning on the ventilation & pump for rainwater ; - use of rainwater for the 4 toilets & 2 urinals ; - use of city water for the 3 sinks.


    • No heating system
    • No domestic hot water system
    • No cooling system
    • Single flow
    • No renewable energy systems

Biodiversity approach

    The project addresses the need for new sanitary facilities for the Chiro, which occupies the existing building. The building was designed in brick to best fit into the existing building environment, which is also constructed of brick. As mentioned earlier, two types of reused bricks were used: a yellow industrial brick and a rougher country kiln brick, including a classic version and a finer version. These bricks were laid in successive layers that repeat. The old red brick ensures the integration of the new building on the existing gable of the old farmhouse, while retaining its individuality through an atypical masonry pattern. The layered construction is an allusion to the masonry (sand-lime stone and brick in successive layers) of the Sint-Anna-Pede Chapel on the neighboring site.



    Gros œuvre / Structure, maçonnerie, façade


    Autres / Autres

    Directory of retailers of reused materials in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.


    Reusable bricks

Construction and exploitation costs

  • 55 000

Reuse : same function or different function

    • Structural works
    • Structural framework
    • Roofing
    • Facades
    • Outdoor joineries
    • Floorings
    • Isulation
    • Electricity
    • Plumbing

    Facing bricks - 30m².

    Three types of bricks were used: a yellow industrial brick and a rougher country oven brick, including a classic version and a finer version. These bricks were laid in successive layers that are repeated. The old red brick ensures the integration of the new building on the existing gable of the old farmhouse while retaining its individuality through an atypical masonry pattern. The layered construction is an allusion to the masonry (sand-lime stone and brick in successive layers) of the Sint-Anna-Pede chapel on the neighboring site.

    Exterior facade lintels - 5ml: 2 reused steel U-profiles joined together to form a lintel.

    Roof tiles - 20m²

    Exterior woodwork - 2 doors and 2 windows in wood.

    Floor tiles - 14m². These tiles come from a former Everheide elementary school dating from the 30s and located in the Brussels region (Evere).

    Wall tiles - 11m².

    Sanitary facilities: 4 toilet bowls, 2 Duravit urinals, 3 art deco sinks and a urinal divider.

    Furniture: 2 bars for PMR and a changing table.

    Lighting: 5 light fixtures

    Floor & wall insulation: 43,3 m²

    Ceiling insulation: 18m²

    Concrete blocks: 48m²

    Wooden frame: 49,2 ml

    Facing bricks - reuse - purchased via opalis dealer Franck

    Exterior facade lintels - reuse - purchased via reseller opalis Gebruiktebouwmaterialen. Reused steel profiles to be assembled into lintels.

    Roof tiles - reuse - leftovers from a Brussels building site (donation)

    Exterior joinery - reuse - bought via reseller opalis Namur Croisade poverty and Gebruiktebouwmaterialen

    Floor tiles - reuse - bought via opalis dealer RotorDC

    Wall tiles - reuse - bought via reseller opalis RotorDC

    Sanitaryware - reuse - purchased through opalis dealer RotorDC

    Furniture - reuse - purchased via classified ads (marketplace)

    Lighting - reuse - purchased via opalis reseller RotorDC

    Floor insulation - construction surplus - bought via reseller opalis Gebruiktebouwmaterialen

    Wall insulation - construction surplus/end of stock/quality B materials - purchased via opalis dealer Bouwstocks

    Ceiling insulation - surplus/end of stock/quality B materials - purchased via opalis Bouwstocks dealer

    Concrete blocks - construction surplus/end of stock/quality B materials - bought via opalis Bouwstocks dealer

    Wooden frame - construction surplus/end of stock/quality B materials - bought via opalis Bouwstocks dealer

Sustainable design

    Bricks: importance of choosing reused bricks that blend well with the existing built environment. Research on the way of laying bricks (details in the tab "urban environment").
    Brick is a stable material on the reuse market in Belgium. Discussions were held with the supplier (Franck) to see if a more in-depth study could be carried out in order to realize a mortar based on powder of damaged bricks. Unfortunately, this option could not be developed.

    Doors: find hardware compatible with the holes in the reused doors. More adaptation to do than on a new door but the cost is in the labor rather than in the new materials. In the end, buying and renovating a reused door is less expensive than buying a new one.

    Tiles: the tiles used on the Brussels site were not present in sufficient number. We had to find the model and order the few missing pieces. The quantity indicated at the beginning by the donor was not correct. Monetary gain on the lot recovered for free on site (be careful with the transport to be taken into account), small loss of time to find the missing tiles. In the end, no money was lost on this item.

    Beyond the reused materials, other materials come from suppliers who sell materials coming from the end of stocks, remains of building sites or even materials decommissioned from factories. The materials concerned are :

    • floor, wall and ceiling insulation
    • concrete blocks
    • wooden frame

    Adaptability - The current size and function of the building does not allow for much change. If a washroom is no longer needed in this location, it may be possible in the future to remove the partition between the PRM toilet and the other toilets and make it a single room.

    Reversibility - Apart from the floor slab and screed that were poured in place, the hollow concrete blocks, all the elements can be disassembled and reused in the future.
    Most of the materials used in the project are sturdy materials that will stand the test of time: terracotta bricks, glazed terracotta tiles, wood joinery, thick ceramic tiles for the floor, glazed ceramic tiles for the walls, sanitary facilities.

    Concernant les matériaux neufs, les cloisons de séparation entre les wc sont réalisées avec des panneaux de trespa, matériau très durable dans le temps nécessitant peu d'entretien. Des recherches avaient été effectuées pour trouver ces éléments sur le marché du réemploi, malheureusement aucun lot ne correspondait aux quantités nécessaires pour le projet. Ce sont pourtant des éléments qui sont fréquemment rencontrés dans les immeubles de bureaux qui sont réaménagés et transformés aurjoud'hui.
    Ces panneaux peuvent être facilement démontés et désassemblés. Ils habillent également le bati-support des WC afin de permettre facilement d'accéder à ces derniers en cas de problèmes, sans abimer l'habillage extérieur.

    Dans un soucis d'économie de matière, les murs (existants et neufs) n'ont pas été enduits. Seules les portions de mur exposées aux projections d'eau ont été carrelées. La présence du carrelage au sol et au mur rend aisé le nettoyage du pavillon.

Environmental assessment

    Materials: thanks to the use of many reused elements and elements coming from surplus of building site or end of stock, the building site made it possible to avoid the production of new material and the impacts which are related to it. The use of end-of-stock materials and decommissioned materials avoided the dumping of this material.
    In terms of limiting transport, most of the materials come from the Brussels region.

    Water: a rainwater tank has been installed to supply the toilets and urinals.

    The following impact calculation does not include the PMR bars and the changing table. 

    Categories Avoided CO2 (kg)  Avoided water consumption (m3) Avoided waste (kg)
    Outdoor facilities 0 0 0
    Exterior fittings / Locksmithing - Metalwork 0 0 0
    Carpentry 329.684 3.188056 121.8929603
    Partitions 0 0 0
    Coverage 316.68 1.6648 174.740227
    Roofing / Exterior fittings 0 0 0
    Lighting 49.79989167 0.263489159 49.44712877
    Safety lights 0 0 0
    Climatic engineering equipment 0 0 0
    Electrical equipment 0 0 0
    Facades 832.17 4.519935 320.988147
    False ceilings 0 0 0
    False floors 0 0 0
    False ceilings 0 0 0
    Structural work 799.5339659 5.156268908 2822.925737
    Sanitary installations 709.9528965 8.071864726 473.920472
    Insulation 901.8775712 11.21286413 307.5790675
    Exterior carpentry 69.69763128 0.633247986 86.79619772
    Interior carpentry 173.326208 3.49438386 225.0903078
    Furniture 0 0 0
    Paint 0 0 0
    Plumbing 0 0 0
    Floor coverings 221.9516576 47.40818975 457.6578169
    Floor and wall coverings 0 0 0
    Wall coverings 168.0289638 37.24929195 359.5882847
    Building security 0 0 0
    Locksmithing - metalwork 0 0 0
    VRD 0 0 0
      Avoided CO2 (kg)  Avoided water consumption (m3) Avoided waste (kg)
    TOTAL 4572.702786 122.8623915 5400.626347
      Km in a small car Nb of rectangular bathtubs nb of years of household waste of a French person
    Equivalent  36582 819 11
    Equivalent trip from Paris to Nice 42.0    
    Sentence to copy below      
    The reuse operation saved the equivalent of 36582 kilometers travelled by a small car, or 42 Paris-Nice trips, 819 rectangular bathtubs filled with water and 11 years of household waste of a French person

Reproductibility and Innovation

    The building was constructed with a large quantity of reused materials and materials coming from construction site remains, end of stocks, decommissioned materials (see the presentation brochure for the proportions of the different types of materials). This makes this small building an innovative and exemplary project. The project is listed on the Opalis platform as an exemplary and inspiring building ( It has also been used to feed the material sheets produced within the framework of the European research project FCRBE (Facilitating the Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements) which aims to increase by +50% the volume of materials put back into circulation by 2032.
    This project works for the development of the reuse of building materials in North West Europe, thanks to the Interreg North West Europe cooperation.

    Some results of the project are already available and cover, among others :

    • The development of the Opalis platform and more particularly of the directory of retailers of reused materials in France, the Netherlands and Belgium ;
    • Two guides to assist specifiers in the realization of inventories of reuse and in the implementation of materials of reuse in public projects ;
    • Documentaries on common reuse materials ;
    • 36 pilot operations on reuse ;
    • A collection of booklets addressing common questions about reuse ;
    • A statistical analysis of the reuse sector in Northwest Europe ;
    • Contribution to efforts on the long-term effects of this project (public policies, institutional frameworks, etc.).

    This project is led by Rotor and involves the following partners: Bellastock (FR), Bruxelles-Environnement (BE), Confédération Construction (BE), Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (FR), Centre Scientifique et Technique de la Construction (BE), University of Brighton (UK), Salvo ltd (UK), The Delft University of Technology (NL), the City of Utrecht (NL) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LU). The project started in October 2018 and will end in December 2023.

    Using such materials in a "traditional" building project is therefore quite feasible and replicable thanks to the multiple tools and information available today.

    This building is a concrete example to convince many clients and architects that the reuse of materials is possible in construction projects, whether they are new or renovation.

    All the reused materials have been selected beforehand by us in order to anticipate their installation and the possible elements or works to be planned. We received samples of bricks and visited the retailers of reuse materials. For some of these materials, we bought them directly and provided them to the contractor to implement them; for others (surplus of construction site and bricks which are available in a stable way at the suppliers) it is the contractor who placed directly order at the supplier, on the basis of our advice. For the materials bought directly (specific materials whose availability is not stable on the reuse market), it was possible to store them on site before their implementation.

Water management

    Installation of a rainwater tank to supply the sanitary facilities (WC and urinals).

Reasons for participating in the competition(s)

This project, through its humble program, is intended to be exemplary in terms of its materiality and the lessons it has generated. It was a question of testing through this project the implementation of a maximum of materials of reuse while keeping reasonable the budgetary and logistic considerations.

The construction was thus carried out with materials coming from 3 different channels:

  • the reuse sector ;
  • surplus from construction sites ;
  • new construction.

Less than a third of the materials are new (in % kg).

In today's construction industry, reused materials and construction surplus are still very rarely used for new constructions and transformations; the materials are usually reduced to aggregates with little value. This modest construction project wants to show that things can be done differently and that the process to do so is not complicated.

Building candidate in the category

Prix hors-cadre

Prix hors-cadre

Trophées Bâtiments Circulaires 2022

 circular economy
 Circular Buildings 2022 Awards
 materials and solutions

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    Trophées Bâtiments Circulaires 2022