For the construction of the new Keijzershof and Tuindershof housing projects in the municipality of Pijnacker-Nootdorp, the Delfland water board (Hoogheemraadschap) faced a specific challenge: how to drain off the rainwater? They asked GKB Realisatie to improve the drainage system by creating an alternative route via the Pijnackerse Vaart canal, in the Delfgauw Zuidpolder. This project entailed broadening a 4 kilometer-long existing canal as well as building bridges, culverts and dams. For this project, the Hoogheemraadschap opted for an integrated contract (UAV-GC), making GKB responsible for both the design and implementation. To deliver the desired quality through a transparent process that the client can easily monitor, GKB chose to manage all project information using Relatics.
The alternative Pijnackerse Vaart drainage system offers a good example of a well-integrated project. The Delfland Hoogheemraadschap commissioned GKB to build part of an additional drainage route in the Pijnacker polder. The Hoogheemraadschap chose to work on the basis of an integrated (UAV-GC) contract in order to interfere as little as possible with GKB’s process and product. The goal of the project was to create an efficient drainage route, while meeting the objectives of the water board’s Clean Water and Sufficient Water programs. The requirements and definitive design for the drainage route had already been determined. Besides the width of the canal and its minimum water capacity, the requirements included the construction of natural banks (‘Natuurvriendelijke Oever’, NVO). As Sjaak Oversluizen, Project Supervisor at GBK Visie, explains: “We first stored and specified all the requirements using Relatics, and incorporated these in a verification plan. Next, we elaborated the designs for the different elements, and in that process we encountered several matters that called for some improvement. Based on the original requirements and specifications, we then submitted some suggestions to improve the overall design; for instance to effectively solve the bottlenecks created where the canal narrows due to existing bridges.”
All agreements transparently documented
Working in wet peatlands is a logistical challenge. For example, GKB had to figure out a transportation route for the required equipment and for the 60,000 m3 of excavated earth. In situations like this, it is essential to communicate carefully with the landowners, who are often farmers. Oversluizen: “The Hoogheemraadschap had already made agreements with the farmers and landowners, which were part of the contract. Before embarking on implementation, we first went to talk to these parties again just to verify the agreements and to see if any changes were necessary. We made reports of these meetings and all the agreements using Relatics. As a result, we could easily check whether all the agreements between the client, the contractor and third parties were clear. This way, we could avoid any surprises and unnecessary discussions.”
Project information is always up-to-date
Oversluizen considers it a major advantage that all project information is stored centrally in Relatics. “All documents such as contracts, designs, work schedules and permits are kept in a single system. This makes things easier, not just in the office but also for the people working in the field. Previously, these people would travel out to the field with huge stacks of paper. Now, they have instant access to the latest information using a tablet.” This is also very useful when controlling the work. “For example, when excavating we check for deviations every 50 meters. Colleagues used to keep track of this on forms, which were later copied at the office. Now, control data is entered electronically and processed immediately. This very much speeds up the process and reduces the chance of errors. For that, it does require that all parties bring enough discipline to the job. Everyone who works with Relatics has to enter the information accurately and consistently.”
Client can monitor the control process
The processes supported by Relatics are another important added value, says Oversluizen. “The Hoogheemraadschap leaves a great deal of the implementation responsibility to us. At the same time, the client wants to remain fully informed of the progress. To monitor the work processes, all risks were identified in advance and linked to specific project activities. The control process is based on the principle of a logical process structure. All control elements are carried out at the right time and documented in the right manner. The results are then shared with the client according to a predetermined schedule, by providing a link to the online control report. This avoids creating a huge paper flow, while the client can monitor the project at every step of the way.”
Bridge Pijnackerse Vaart
Relatics simplifies working with integrated contracts
Another advantage of working with Relatics, says Oversluizen, is that he can instantly see what tasks are still outstanding. “It’s very easy to create new action items. In addition, I am alerted automatically to any actions which are still outstanding. This way, no tasks are neglected or forgotten, which contributes to our reputation for reliability.” The effectiveness of the logical structure provided by Relatics is apparent in every phase of a project. The implementation phase of the current project was recently rounded off. “We are now in the monitoring phase, which means that the project is no longer our main daily activity. Still, if the client or another stakeholder has any question for us, it’s no problem at all to provide a quick answer. Because all the relevant information is always just a few mouse clicks away.”
Oversluizen concludes: “Relatics makes it much easier to work with integrated contracts. All information is stored logically and is easily accessible. So we can always show exactly what we are doing to achieve the best results for our customers. In this project, the customer wasn’t just pleased with the final result but also with the entire process and the collaboration. We have taken full responsibility for the implementation and showed initiative. At the same time the Hoogheemraadschap could easily monitor the progress, also in relation to the original goals and principles. They remained in control, ultimately. By storing and managing all project information in Relatics, our customers can feel confident that we are right on top of it.”
Based in Barendrecht, GKB Groep has been shaping public space for over 70 years. Originally active in managing greenery, this family business steadily evolved to become today’s GKB Groep. The Kraaijeveld family is still the company owner, and a good part of the workforce. Today, GKB Groep possesses all the necessary disciplines and skills to tackle public space challenges and issues in an attractive, economical and sustainable way. Besides direct implementation and maintenance, GKB Groep also acts as a consultant for a wide range of projects. The company has its own steelworks and machine division, as well as its own land bank. GKB Visie is the company’s design and engineering division that looks after the designs, permits, engineering, drawings and other preparatory work. The company likes to take on challenges on the basis of integrated contracts, having performed around fifteen such projects in the past three years.
About Sjaak Oversluizen
Engineer Sjaak Oversluizen has been working for GKB for 4.5 years. Initially employed as a work planner, today Oversluizen works as a project supervisor. He is mainly responsible for civil engineering projects on the basis of integrated contracts.