Discover Benelux, Issue 30, June 2016

Page 13

Discover Benelux | Design | Top Belgian Architecture and Design Guide

Designing property that increases business value TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: TOM LEYMAN AND STL & C°

Commercial property is an important asset for small and medium-sized enterprises. Making alterations to offices or opening up a new shop in a different location has to make financial sense. Architect Tom Leyman understands this. He advises SMEs in East Flanders on their property portfolio and makes modern designs for them. Most of Leyman’s clients have been with him for many years. He has seen and helped them grow. A local baker, for instance, that started off with just one bakery, now owns a dozen shops in which he sells his products. Leyman advised on which properties or plots to buy and, when necessary, made plans to renovate the building or built an entirely new shop. In association with the client, he also included the construction of residential properties in some of the plans. These

“That is how it works with most of my clients in the private sector,” Tom Leyman explains. “I mainly work for family-owned small and medium-sized enterprises and it often starts with just the design of a warehouse, shop or office space. But with almost all of them I have also drafted longterm master plans for the maintenance of their property portfolio. We regularly have meetings to analyse their needs. For instance, extensions and alterations to existing property, structural design changes that are needed to comply with new regulations or possibilities to build residential property to let. And I have also designed some of the houses my clients live in.”

Flanders and he is up-to-date with policies and regulations. Furthermore, he deals with many tender and procurement processes. What helps is that he has extensive experience with designing public projects, such as schools and private health care projects. A recent project is the restoration of a monumental school building and old castle that are joined together. The in-between building will be taken down and replaced by a glass passage, which reinstates the unique features of the buildings, both listed as cultural heritage. Among other things, the buildings will both be renovated to comply with the latest regulations. “Since this project we have been involved in more projects to renovate and upgrade monuments,” Leyman says.

Leyman, who also employs four other architects, knows the property market in

residential apartments are now rented out, generating extra revenue for the client.

Issue 30 | June 2016 | 13