The outer ring road Parkstad Limburg project (BPL) has a clear objective: ensuring better accessibility of and for the Parkstad region. To this end consortium BPL (Boskalis, Rasenberg, and Besix) commissioned by the Province of Limburg in the Netherlands, aims to achieve a rapid connection between the municipalities in the region and good links to national and international roads. The outer ring road offers plenty of opportunities for economic and touristic development, and improves livability and road safety in the region. Following a positive assessment by the Council of State on 11 March 2015, the project’s execution is in full swing. To ensure that the project is completed within the time frame, contract terms and budget, the collaboration between the Province and the consortium is crucial. Both organizations use Relatics for the reliable, transparent, and traceable management of all the relevant project information. So the project information is always up to date. When anything changes, it’s immediately clear to all stakeholders so that they can take the appropriate action.
BPL and Relatics
The new outer ring road for Parkstad Limburg will eventually cover 26 km of roadway (modifying 14 kilometers of existing road and with 12 kilometers of new road) as well as 39 civil engineering structures. “A project of this scope with so many stakeholders generates an enormous amount of information and documents,” says Jos Eussen, Project Control Manager who is responsible for budget, planning and risk management and control for the Province of Limburg. “To control the project and its outcome, we want to know exactly what’s happening and whether it’s progressing according to the contract. Relatics gives us that overview.”
System-oriented contract management demands a clear information structure
Maintaining control does not mean that the Province double-checks every step; the checks are risk-based. Eussen: “Prior to the project, but also during the realization, risk analyses are continuously carried out and existing risks are adjusted depending on the latest developments. Through system-based contract management we monitor the process to determine how the consortium deals with the risks we have (collectively) estimated. But this demands a clear information structure, clear agreements, transparent communication, and commitment from all the stakeholders: clients, contractors, and third parties.”
Clear connections between the requirements, risks and control measures
The audit procedure for products and processes plays an important role in process control. Eussen: “We identified the risks and their level of urgency. In that context, it’s also imperative to know the requirements related to a specific risk. “All these are managed in Relatics. It’s there that we can establish connections between the requirements, risks, and control measures. This functionality contributes directly to controllability, since an up-to-date overview is always available. Moreover, information can be presented visually, improving the quality of information provided and enabling us to collaborate effectively with the consortium.”
An overview with a single click
The Province keeps track of all of its findings in the Relatics audit module, so it has all the information needed for setting up the audit and the audit itself. “The auditing procedure has been incorporated into a digital workflow – from the audit plan, audits, findings, and identification of any risks to adjustment or escalation. This completes the Plan Do Check Act circle (PDCA), and the entire procedure is completely transparent, securing the relevant information exchange.”
Outer ring road Parkstad Limburg
Stefan Koopman, September 2016
Information exchange according to the contract
The Information Coordinator for the consortium, Willemijn Eggels, regularly collaborates with Jos Eussen. Besides handling the functional development for Relatics within the consortium, she also makes sure that all the relevant project information is registered, processed, and shared on time with all the stakeholders. “I ensure that communication and information exchange with the Province is arranged according to the contract. Once a work package is audited and completed, I make sure that all the documents are accurate and are delivered on time. From our perspective, that’s important because payments depend on these documents.”
Everyone sees the same processes
The end result created outside does occasionally deviate from the design, says Eggels. “That may be caused by various factors, such as environmental conditions. Deviations don’t have to be a problem, as long as they are clearly motivated and registered. From our side, that demands the discipline to record and process information accurately. After all, the client wants to know right away if anything changes, so they can conduct targeted audits as needed. From my point of view, it’s very practical for them to be working in the same system and seeing the same processes. As a result, we all work with consistent and accurate information, which prevents misunderstandings and errors.”
Outer ring road Parkstad Limburg
Stefan Koopman, September 2016
Immediate access to up-to-date information
Eggels is enthusiastic about the benefits of Relatics. “We have immediate access to all project information, rather than having to collate it from different Excel sheets or consult printed records in a binder. Information in Relatics is always up-to-date. If anything changes, it’s immediately clear to all those involved.” That’s very important for the successful collaboration between the Province and the consortium. Eussen explains: “It’s incredibly practical to have all the information combined in Relatics. The workflows and export function make it relatively simple to follow the process and exchange documents. We can generate targeted reports from different perspectives for the various stakeholders. It’s always clear what we’re talking about and how specific choices were made. That provides a good basis for consultation and constructive collaboration.”
About Jos Eussen
For more than 10 years, Jos Eussen is a freelance professional in project control at Eussen Technisch Projectmanagement. He’s specialized in general project control and risk management. His customers are mostly ministries, provincial governments and (local) authorities. He’s involved in mayor projects like Buitenring Parkstad Limburg (26 km highway connecting several cities), A2 Maastricht (tunnelling highway Maastricht) and several smaller projects.
About Willemijn Eggels
After completing her study HBO Civil Engineering, Willemijn Eggels started in 2013 on the project Outer Ring Parkstad Limburg in the position of “employee Project Management”. She is particularly concerned with quality- and information management. This includes among others thing monitoring of defects, testing and the functional management of Relatics.