Organisation - January 6, 2010

Bats delay building work

Pipistrelles delay asbestos removal in rear wing of Restaurant of the Future. Building work can only start after March.

Sorry Sir... the ceiling is fully booked!
An unknown number of pipistrelles (bats) have delayed building work on the roof of the rear wing of Building 115, which also houses the Restaurant of the Future, by months. The animals, who weigh no more than about eight grams, are currently in hibernation.
Grontmij noticed back in September during the obligatory flora and fauna study that the building was home to pipistrelles: they were not only flying around the building but were also disappearing inside. Grontmij says the bats are almost certainly now using the building to hibernate in.
It turned out not to be technically possible to carry out the building work, which includes the removal of asbestos, without disturbing the bats. Accordingly, the timetable for the renovation work was amended at the end of December, allowing the Restaurant of the Future to stay open. The builders will only be able to start work after March, when the bats have finished hibernating.  
 'If this had been the first time ...', says Eric van der Meer, project manager for Building and Accommodation Management. 'Last summer we had to halt demolition work at the Dreijen because of the possibility of bats in a building.' It goes with the territory, according to Van der Meer. 'But of course it is much easier to just carry on making plans. This way the university lives up to its environmentally friendly image.' The new roof will be constructed so that Building 115 still has enough openings for the bats, and so they will only be temporarily deprived of their home. Next winter they will again be able to sleep undisturbed through the cold period.