Published on July 16, 2019

Nice: eco-friendly deconstruction of a postal site

The deconstruction of the Nice industrial mail platform (PIC) began in January with the aim of achieving the best levels of recycling and re-use. By the end of this project, initiated and conducted by Alain Le Corre, property project manager for Poste Immo, over 97% of the materials should have been recycled or re-used.

The Nice PIC was in operation for 46 years and closed down in December 2018, with Poste Immo undertaking to deliver the completely cleared site to Nice Airport before the end of 2019. It is the end of an industrial cycle for this 10,000m2 platform, but the beginning of a new life for the majority of its supplies and materials. The PIC deconstruction operation actually plans to go well beyond the legal obligations of waste recovery set at 70% and achieve 97%.

Deconstruction which relies on re-use

Re-use is the most virtuous practice in waste recovery. It is economical and above all does not produce any waste. That is why Alain Le Corre wanted to prioritise this method: “This is the first time we have explored re-use avenues for the PIC’s materials and it has been really successful. We produced a catalogue of all the products available (framework, joinery, windows, sanitation facilities, electric transformers, etc.) which we offered to companies and organisations. We have also been able to re-use some equipment on internal construction sites and save some money! ” For example, the PIC’s air-conditioning systems and heat pumps have been installed at the Hyères, Saint Maximin mail preparation and delivery centre (PPDC) and the Carros parcel platform. A solution which provided a 50% saving whilst improving the working conditions of the employees in these centres.

Re-use to help organisations’ projects

The “Yes we camp” collective is one of the organisations which have benefited from re-using the PIC’s materials and was particularly pleased with this initiative. In fact a lot of the sanitation facilities have been re-used to equip Coco Velten, a restoration project involving the 4,000 m2 premises of the former Road Directorate to create a hybrid space for the homeless, start-up companies and charitable and cultural organisations. The collective also recovered the PIC’s metal framework for its Foresta project, in the northern districts, which will be a reception facility in a 16-hectare park dedicated to ecological innovation. For Yes you camp architect Gauthier Oddo, the Poste Immo initiative is heading in the right direction: “For each project, we try to build constructions with a low ecological footprint and that’s what is leading us to explore re-use avenues. It forces us to work differently because we are building with materials that we find, but that’s also the beauty of our projects.

Recycling of waste

The materials and equipment which could not be re-used have mostly been recovered in recycling facilities. Before work began, Poste Immo ensured that a recycling facility was identified for each type of waste and therefore set achievable recovery goals. “What has been different with this site is that the waste prevention and management aspects have been a determining factor in the choice of project manager. While the work was going on, we also made sure that the specification requirements were properly monitored, providing us with traceability of the waste,” explained Alain Le Corre.

The site should be delivered to Nice Airport by the end of the year after it has been completely decontaminated. Poste Immo will produce a detailed report on the operations to identify areas for improvement and make recommendations for future projects.