Peter van de Pol, Schoneveld Breeding

“We occasionally had some fierce but useful brainstorm sessions”

"We were looking for a party with whom we could share thoughts in a comprehensive way, who would be able to look over our shoulder, and with whom we could work together as a construction team. Because cooperation, communication and full transparency are extremely important to us. That's who I am and that's how our company is run. We chose Technokas from three parties. In the end, it is not just a matter of the right company but also of the right guy.”

For the construction of their new main location in Twello, Schoneveld was looking for a party that could do more than just build a greenhouse. "I believe that many companies can build a greenhouse, so what’s important to me is: are they capable of thinking along in a comprehensive way and are they capable of thinking out-of-the-box", says Peter van de Pol, Managing Director of Schoneveld Breeding.

Custom-made service

“A breeding company by definition requires customization”, the director continues. "The choice is then automatically restricted to a few companies. In 2015, after twelve years of preparation, we drew up the plans for our new main location. In 2016, we selected three parties and conducted a reference study. Technokas simply felt best. I had and still have a good relationship with Maurice. In the end, it is not just a matter of the right company but also of the right guy.” It was the first time that Schoneveld decided to work with Technokas. "Many of our customers were already doing business with them. We spoke quite extensively with Rob Olsthoorn of OK Plant and certainly went into depth with things during this conversation.”

New building

This new building was desperately needed because Schoneveld was in urgent need of expansion, renewal and sustainability. Van de Pol blames politics for the fact that this step could only be realised in 2018. "We were already stuck in 2008, with 120 employees. We should have moved to Bergerden in that year, but we didn't like that. Most employees lived three minutes away from work by bike, which would become three quarters of an hour by car. We also wanted to maintain a position in the urban triangle of Apeldoorn, Deventer and Zutphen. We therefore started lobbying towards the municipality, the province and even national politics.

A Foundation Preserve Horticulture Urban Triangle was set up, in which 28 horticultural entrepreneurs took their seats alongside Schoneveld. "From 2004 to 2012 we were busy maintaining our greenhouse horticultural position in the Urban Triangle and subsequently changing the land-use plan of the new location. The land-use plan was agricultural but had to become greenhouse horticultural. We also wanted to promote sustainability and exchange biogas with a waste processor. This has not yet been achieved, because the waste company has now been taken over twice. But the intention to make it more sustainable is there.

Breeding Greenhouses

At the new main location – for the breeding and seed production of the Cyclamen Super Series, Primula Touch Me, Primula Paradiso, Ranonkel Sprinkles and Campanula Florentes – 1.4 hectares of breeding greenhouses, 8,000 m2 of processing areas, a laboratory and an office were created. Technokas was commissioned to realise the breeding greenhouses – consisting of seven departments and a surrounding corridor for guided tours – the processing area, and the heating installations, both in the greenhouses and in the utility buildings. Technokas was also responsible for the complete planning and coordination between all involved installers, and for the integration of all necessary installations in the breeding greenhouses.

Fine-meshed insect screens were installed in the vents in order to prevent undesired pollination. And to compensate the loss of air capacity, the Venlo greenhouse was fitted with two-sided ridge ventilation vents along the full length. In the seven departments, different types of glass were incorporated, diffuse as well clear glass. For the heating installation, a hoistable top heating net and floor heating was chosen. In the deck of the processing areas, polycarbonate plates with vents were installed. The facades were made of sandwich panels and frame strips with 22 mm insulation glass.

Experience center

“One of the reasons for choosing Technokas was the high level of finish”, Van de Pol continues. "For example, I did not want the heating pipes along the corridor to be visible. Because that would obstruct the view on the plants in the greenhouses. Another example: I did not want the cable ducts to be visible either, so they had to be hidden behind the purlin. My goal is not only to be able to breed and grow here, but also to be attractive to the public. Ultimately, we would like to turn this location into an experience center, where we can share our story with the customers and set up a network of ambassadors for our company and our products.”

To spread the risks, the construction of the office and laboratory was outsourced to a building contractor from Deventer. "Technokas could have done this too – I saw what they did for OK Plant – but at that time their capacity played a role as well. There were some tensions between the greenhouse builder and the utility builder – they are from two completely different worlds – but I think they learned a lot from each other along the way. There was always a willingness to work things out. Besides that, I had deliberately chosen to appoint an external construction manager, in order to have someone monitoring the process, planning and quality of the project.”

A United Construction Team

When asked whether he would recommend Technokas, a resolute answer is given: "Absolutely. In a nutshell: there was a spirit of doing things together, as a united construction team. They don’t have the attitude of putting down a price and treat any exceeding of it as contract extras. They certainly weren't the cheapest, but otherwise you end up more expensive. It's not only about whether you can actively contribute technical issues, but also about having the creativity to develop the elements I just mentioned. I think that integral design is a good term in this context.”

Finally: "I told Maurice: We share the same working spirit. You are as much a control freak as I am. We both want to create something beautiful, something that we’re proud of. But I do not only want to show that it works, but also how it works, and that we are actively aiming at sustainability. I guess he often must have thought: I've got it right now, and then I pushed it again a little further. We occasionally had some fierce but useful brainstorm sessions, but you know: no shine without friction.”

Technokas has carried out the following activities for this client: heating, custom-made greenhouse, business facilities, energy and climate calculations, and advice