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Aude Arnoux
Directrice de projets Conseil, groupe Egis
Published on December 17, 2018

Reading time : 2 min

Europe’s biggest and most innovative strongroom

Egis acted as consultant for the construction of Europe’s biggest secure currency management facility in the Paris region. This veritable "Fort Knox" - nice to look at but secure nonetheless - was inaugurated on 13 November 2018 and is now the largest and most innovative automated centre operated by any central bank anywhere in the eurozone.

Nouveau Centre Fiduciaire La Courneuve

- Crédits : J.-P. Viguier et Associés

Banque de France (BDF), which is responsible for handling and overseeing the quality of all money in circulation throughout the national territory, has initiated a major programme to upgrade and streamline its network, facilities and real estate portfolio. The flagship projects include building a currency management facility on a four hectare brownfield site at La Courneuve, Seine-Saint-Denis, just north of Paris. This centre will handle all coin flows across the Greater Paris area and about 25% of the bank notes currently in circulation throughout France.

An automated ultra-secure facility

Automated processes at the new centre will help employees to inspect approximately one billion banknotes every year. As well as being capable of resisting an attack by a tank or helicopter, the facility is also the most secure anywhere in France with doubled walls, sensors everywhere, impassable trenches, harrows and embankments!

Two existing service buildings have also been completely renovated for the comfort of employees: the shell of the first building (dating from 1923) was preserved while the second adjacent building (built in 1987) got an architectural makeover. The resulting ensemble comprises quality offices and relaxing open spaces together with a staff restaurant.

Built to the finest standards

Our mission brief from Banque de France primarily involved acting as integrator in this innovative project with a dual strategic objective: improving both the quality of service provided to cash-in-transit companies and the working conditions of employees who now enjoy much more functional amenities. Beginning in the planning phase, through the works study and development phases, Egis was tasked with ensuring that this complex building project would deliver both a high-performance industrial facility and a comfortable environment for the 350 people working there together with excellent security throughout the site. In order to do this, we needed to be familiar with the challenges Banque de France faces in its business and to factor in the overlapping issues of automation, security and urban and environmental integration.  Egis was able to juggle these different requirements and constraints to come up with the most effective work scheduling programme.

Our consulting work continued into the solution design phase where we helped BDF put together the prime contractorship duo comprising Artelia engineering group and architects Jean-Paul Viguier. Our team carefully tracked the various stages in solution design – from outline to project studies – by harnessing the expertise of our building, environmental and industrial specialists in order to provide the project owner with the best possible advice.

Our experts were also involved in overseeing the procedures necessary for developing such a complex project and, by liaising with the municipal services of La Courneuve and Plaine Commune, it was possible to obtain amendments to urban planning regulations in order to secure the building permit for Banque de France.

This currency management facility is HQE certified (i.e., High Environmental Quality) with a special focus on the preservation of rare protected plants (e.g., Draba Muralis) and animals such as pipistrelle bats for whom numerous shelters have been built.

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