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Haren Prison

Location Haeren, Belgium
Timeline 2013 - 2022

engineering of a new prison


This prison village will be an energy-neutral, BREEAM Very Good prison, realized in a DBFM formula. Sophisticated water management, with recovery of grey water, reduces the consumption of tap water by 77%. A structural challenge lies in the terrain's level differences, even more so as all the buildings are being constructed at the same time. The combination of all installations, including the numerous safety facilities, constitutes a real challenge.

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  • Buildings Agency
  • B2AI
  • EGM architecten
1190 places
65000 m²


The objective is to realize an energy-neutral BREEAM ‘Very Good’ project, with a 60% reduction in CO2 exhaust and a 77% reduction of tap water.

Public haren prison 1 web

The Haren prison village is one the new prisons that are to solve the problems with capacity and a delipidated penitentiary infrastructure in Belgium. Haren is realised in a DBFM-team and will accommodate 1,190 detainees. Security and energy-efficiency are important themes for VK as the engineering partner. In addition, the studies for structural engineering have been put in a very strict schedule. In 2022, this energy-neutral, BREEAM Very Good-prison will be completed.

New prisons

For some time now, the Belgian prison system has been encountering a problem regarding capacity. Various construction projects for new prison (Dendermonde, Beveren …) meet the ever growing complaint. Haren also will house a new prison, realised within a DBFM-construction.

It will be the largest prison in the country, replacing the Saint Gillis, Forest and Berkendael prisons and housing 1,190 detainees. It will contain various departments, spread over various small-scale volumes, hence the name ‘prison village’.

An ecological prison village

VK is responsible for the structural engineering, infrastructure and M&E engineering. Besides security, sustainability has been put forward as an important topic. Several passive and active measures have been integrated into the studies: automatic daylight controlled lighting, heat pumps combined with a BTES-field, trigeneration … The water usage will also be monitored and controlled. Gray water is purified and mixed with recuperated rain water for sanitary use, cleaning, washing and spraying the greenery. The objective is to realize an energy-neutral project with a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM-certificate. Various measures should result in a 60% reduction in CO2 exhaust and a 77% reduction of tap water.

Regarding structural engineering, Haren represents an extensive study in a strict schedule: from preliminary design to execution design in 6 months, including reinforcements. Fully designed in BIM, each structural element has specific parameters, such as fire resistance, acoustics and perimeter class (security class).

The ecologically well-thought out prison village is to be put into service in 2022.

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