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Building a curling rink

Curling Club Zemst

Welcome to the blog about the construction of the curling rink in Zemst (Belgium).

We started the blog to provide an answer to a lot of questions we have received from several similar (future) projects. With these FAQ's we hope to support the construction of more curling rinks across the world.

Give us your feedback! Raise your questions! And get in contact!

Driesstraat 8
1982 Elewijt (Zemst)

Tackling some challenges in the construction

The building Posted on Wed, November 22, 2017 22:53:11

The internal works

After deciding
the outlay for the construction and the surface, we focused on the internal
structure. A real challenge was the construction of the split between the hot
area and the cold area. As said, we wanted our cafeteria to be +70 cm higher
than the surface of the ice. But without having a full concrete foundation, we
had to fork out a way to support the split wall.

The plan
beneath gives a good insight in how we did it:

And some pictures (more can be found on our Facebook-page:

The final concept

The building Posted on Tue, November 21, 2017 14:24:07

As of January 2016, we started to work towards a final concept: A
3-sheeter for 500.000 euro. (Bearing in mind that we needed to foresee also a
vast amount of money for ‘loose’ equipment like e.g. an Ice Master, hacks, pre-printed
curling sheets,…)

Important for us was also that we had a cozy bar, with a nice view over
the ice and accessible for wheelchairs, but without any elevators (and/or

We sat together with a lot of potential suppliers and finally came to
some interesting conclusions.

1. The building plans:

(Picture above is the final cafetaria plan)

2. The surface:

The proposed building site in Zemst was next to a small fosse/ditch.
After some measurements we came to the conclusion that the ground was a little
instable for a heavy building. Also, we needed to look for a solution that we
wouldn’t have an issue with groundwater that would freeze under the building.
Or water seeping through the walls.

We could just go for a full concrete floor. But due to the unstable
ground, that would have costed a lot, as we also needed to invest in foundation
to support the weight.

So, to do this in a cost effective way, we decided to build just a full concrete
ring as a foundation for the building. And fill the ring with several layers,
as described in the picture underneath:

From top to bottom:

– Piping / Cooling
– 25 cm Styrodur 3000CS Insulation (10cm + 10cm + 5cm)
– 5 cm screed (just to make it level)
– EPDM cloth (to avoid water seeping in)
– 20 cm stabilizer (broken brick concrete)
– The ground

We chose not to invest in soil heating under the ice. Instead, we
invested more in insulation. 25cm to be exact. We chose to have it in 2 layers
of 10cm and 1 of 5 cm. The idea behind this, is that – if we would need soil
heating to be installed, we could just remove 5 cm and put the soil heating in
place. (After being open for several months now, we can say that soil heating
is not needed).

As we wanted the bar to be 70 cm higher than the ice surface, we put an
additional ring of insulated concrete panels that we could use to raise the
surface on the foundation ring.

3. The outside

We chose for a steel construction, that was the most cost effective. Our
construction details:

– Company:
– Steal structure
61.25 m – 16.3 m
– Roof and
wall panels, 150 mm insulation
– Interior
glass wall between the ice part and bar.
– A ring of
insulated concrete panels
– Estimated price: 165.000 – 200.000 euro

The beginning…

Business plan Posted on Sun, November 19, 2017 14:19:39


a dedicated curling facility was a dream for a long time already. Several
potential projects passed… But it was always a ‘chicken or the egg’-story. A
curling rink would gain the interest for the sport, but you need interest in
the sport to raise enough ‘willingness to invest’ in curling…

we had our first challenge…

1: Grow the interest

2013 the members of ‘Curling Club Zemst’ (at that time known as ‘Curling Club
Mechelen’) took the challenge to grow the sport in Belgium. Being the only club
in Belgium, with only 20 playing members we took upon us, as a first challenge,
to expand to other locations. The previous board members of the club would
focus on that and a new board took over ‘Curling Club Zemst’.

In the following two years 2 additional clubs started (‘Campina Turnhout’ and ‘Curling
Club Gent’) and together we tripled the amount of active players. We also started a
competition together with the Dutch club ‘Curling Club Tilburg’. But, all these
clubs each had a maximum of 4 hours a week on hockey ice. This has 2 major

Due to the growing interest, the supply and
demand just cannot be met. Mainly the hours were usually not possible. The main
reason why more than 90 % of the people that try curling didn’t continue. It
was just not feasible in their schedule.

Secondly, the quality of the ice (the lack of
quality for curling) had a huge influence. Many tried it for a while but stopped
because of the poor ice quality.

2: Cultivate the interest by creating a common dream

A first way to
achieve our dream was the Portable Curling Facility (PCF) Program of the World
Curling Federation (
We entered following documents and ended up second to Turku, Finland.

It’s always a pity to end up second. But, after some great feedback by Richard Harding, Leif Öhman and Darrell Ell (all WCF), we decided to go for our own project. A project where we would not be limited by the specifications that were imposed by anyone.

In the end, we already worked out a business plan, we had a location that we could have free of charge thanks to the community of Zemst (,…

So, we decided: “We’ll just do it ourselves!”

Challenge 3: Back to the drawing board

We sat around
the table with an architect (
to define what would be feasible for the initial PCF budget, which was about
400.000 euro. It was a hard pickle… Nobody really knew anything about the
equipment that was needed to build a curling rink. So we talked – very high-level
with all sorts of potential suppliers – and looked for a way to make it work.
(Later we will go deeper into the details of the equipment.)

A design for a 2-sheeter was
made and we faced the next challenge…

Challenge 4: Getting the

To achieve our
goal, we assumed we needed 400.000 euro. And we only had 20.000 on our bank
account. So, quite a gap to fill. Luckily, the ‘World Curling Federation’ provides
several loan possibilities. And that could cover already a big part of the
money needed. But we still lacked 150.000 euro.

So we started a
reward based crowdfunding. People could support us by coming to our club to
have a try at curling, becoming a member of the club or simply supporting us
financially. Partners like Palm Brewers (,
WeLoveWalls and Cas Moor provided also some cool rewards like bottles of beer
and personalized barstools. We aimed for €30.000 as a goal, (which then was one of the biggest reward based crowdfundings ever in Belgium!) with
the idea: ‘If we can manage this, we can manage everything…

And we did: We
raised more than 32.000 euro in total. A great success! More info on the
crowdfunding can be found on:

Thanks to the crowdfunding success, we got a lot of media attention

And thanks to that media attention we also managed to gather a subsidy of 100.000 euro via the local government ( and the bank behind the crowdfunding website was willing to give us an additional loan if needed.

And so we ended up with a bigger budget than we had ever hoped for… and opening the potential to go for a bigger dream: ‘building a 3-sheeter instead of a 2-sheeter’.

Read more on the next challenges in our next blog post!