Reichstag in Berlin

Building for democracy Successful modernisation of the Parliament Building in Berlin

  • Building Type: Corporate Facilities Constructions
  • Pad: Natural Stone
  • Solution: Restoration of Old Subfloors
  • Brand: Codex
  • City: 10000
  • Country: International

The story of the parliament building in Berlin is closely connected with the history of Germany itself. Now, the Berlin parliament stands again as a stage at the centre-point of political activity in Germany.With the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the Bundestag ruling in 1991 to move the seat of parliament and administration to Berlin, the parliament has edged ever closer to that centre-point. Following an international architect competition in 1992, the British star architect, Sir Norman Foster, was commissioned to do the alteration design works.

The new parliament

When the German Bundestag took occupation of the modernised parliament building in September 1999, from the old building came a modern 'Arbeits'- parliament that met all the requirements for the latest in communications, office and workplace technology. At the same time, while keeping the original fabric of the building, the old building structures were laid open and the interior decorations from the sixties were removed, all in accordance with listed building regulations.
Although the time had come, it was a long journey! From the original building, only the frontage was kept – it was already a challenge for the construction trades but under time pressure as well. This also applied to the Berlin office of the company, Fliesen Rabe based in Kiel, who carried out all of the tiling work. There were always more than 20 tilers on site. Throughout the whole project, they were supported by a project adviser from the Ulm-based construction chemicals manufacturer, codex, who was also responsible for the special construction recommendations. All the kitchens, the sanitation areas, as well as the bistros and food service areas in the parliament building were laid with ceramic tiles. In total, 6,000 m² of tiles were installed on walls and almost 3,000 m² on floors.

Strong repairs to screed cracks
The screed subfloor had the job of evenly distributing any loads from above and transferring them without damage through to the base slab. In screed cracks, movement can occur that causes damage to the ceramic tiling above. For this reason, prior to any surface preparation and tiling work, existing screed cracks must be strongly and permanently repaired. They often arise from movement during construction work or from deformation due to thermal and mechanical influences. With UZIN KR 416, a low viscosity, multipurpose acrylic resin, the existing joints and cracks, mainly in the kitchen areas, were strongly resin-bonded. In the food areas, the floors were prepared with codex Fliesengrund, a solvent-free protective primer and bonding agent. This strengthened the surface and provided the optimum preparation for the materials to follow. The installation of the ABK tiles was with a cement-based, plasticised and flexible thin-bed mortar, codex Power Flex.

Epoxy resin systems in the kitchen areas
In the kitchen areas, that have high exposure to fats and acids, an epoxy system was used as a primer and sealer. To provide a moisture-barrier, the installation team from Rabe primed with UZIN PE 460, a pure, high-quality, 2-component epoxy resin. Once the primer was fully hardened, codex Epoxidicht, a flexible epoxy resin bonded damp-proofing agent, was applied ‘in system’. In corners and at connection with walls, codex seal products, joint seal-tape, angle-seals and seal-collars, were bonded in place. Installation of the 20 x 20 ceramics was on a cement-based, plasticised, flexible thin-bed mortar, codex Power Flex.

Alternative damp-proofing in sanitary areas
The shower and WC areas were primed with codex Fliesengrund and, when this was completely dry, a dispersion damp-proofing agent was applied. This type of damp-proofing is an especially suitable alternative as a measure against penetration of surface water and to protect moisture-sensitive substrates in wet areas. As, in this case, there would be no permanent, standing water, the installation could proceed again with codex Power Flex.

As a "connecting link", the grout must relieve stresses and be load-bearing. Therefore, all of the tiles installed by Rabe were grouted with a flexible, water-impermeable, rapid setting grout mortar. Deciding factors were also the ease of application and, due to the very tight time schedule, the early access onto the grouted tiles. With Brillant Flex from codex, Rabe could walk on the tiles after only 2 – 3 hours; full drying was achieved after 24 hours. Due to these properties, this grout was used in all areas, therefore in sanitary areas, kitchens and food service areas.

High demand on logisticswas put on the installers by the main contractor, Bundesbaugesellschaft Berlin mbH. As the site is sealed off and protected by security guards, special delivery times were necessary for the delivery of materials. Generally, delivery vehicles had to have entry permits. The company Rabe issued an order and, within 48 hours, the installation products were delivered to the construction site from Ulm.