Improved availability of Beatrix sluice complex always demonstrable

The Prinses Beatrix sluice complex in the Lek canal at Nieuwegein is a major link in the shipping traffic to and from Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The shipping traffic on this route has intensified considerably in recent years, and the ships are becoming steadily larger. The goal of the project, ‘Construction of third lock chamber Prinses Beatrixsluis and expanding the Lekkanaal’ is to improve the safe passage of inland ships.


Project company Sas van Vreeswijk (BESIX, Heijmans and Jan De Nul) is responsible for the project and aims to exceed the capacity projected by Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management). Jan Denorme, Process Manager EPC (construction phase) of the company, explains: “At the end of the day, we are paid to guarantee the availability of the sluices. As we are putting considerable investments into this from the outset, it is essential that we can demonstrate the availability and reliability of the sluices afterwards.”

To increase the capacity, Sas van Vreeswijk is designing and constructing a third lock chamber. The company did not choose to implement a classic solution, as Jan Denorme explains. “With the renewed ‘Schutten XL’ design, we are improving the availability of the sluices. Our design has two sluice doors at either end. This way, the sluice remains in operation even if one sluice door malfunctions. Besides, there is more room when using the outer doors. It gives the lock chamber a total length of 297 metres, and it can accommodate two ships measuring 135 metres each.”

Restricting nuisance to a bare minimum

Although the new sluice is a key component of the project, the scope is much wider. In addition to renovating the existing sluices, the company is also expanding the Lek canal and constructing additional berths. All these construction activities are carried out with minimum nuisance for the shipping traffic and the surroundings.

The company’s role in the project is not restricted to designing, building and financing, but also encompasses the maintenance of the sluice complex and the Lek canal for a period of 27 years (DBFM). Overall, some 200 people belonging to different parties will be working on the various sub-projects. Denorme: “For a complex project of this magnitude, it’s quite a challenge to maintain a proper overview. This is important for an efficient implementation on the one hand, while on the other hand the client wants to stay on top of the progress, any deviations, and our arguments when making certain choices. We use Relatics to centralise all project information, to keep it transparent, and to demonstrably keep it permanently updated.”

“The client has his own view-only overview of any deviations and risks. That saves a lot of time as they can look up information directly, without needing to put all their questions to us. This avoids unnecessary email correspondence. At the same time, they have a constantly updated overview of the progress and of the ratio behind our choices.”

Jan Denorme | Process Manager | Sas van Vreeswijk

No parallel information flows

2018-03-14 Nieuwegein Pr. Beatrixsluis 7

In the tendering phase, all requirements and specifications were already registered in Relatics, which the combination has stored in its own workspace. “Starting from the initial situation, we could easily assign the requirements to the responsible people, so that they and their team could get to work . Certainly for a project of this size, the risk of having an overkill of Excel lists, does not help in terms of overview and efficiency. Now that we do not have any parallel information flows, everyone can quickly find the right information and the context. Besides, we also know for sure that everyone is working with the same updated information.” This also applies to Rijkswaterstaat. “The client has his own view-only overview of the deviations and risks, including links to requirements and objects. That saves a lot of time as they can look up information directly, without needing to ask us. This avoids a lot of unnecessary email correspondence. At the same time, they have a constantly updated overview of the progress and of the reasons behind our choices.”

Prioritising verifications

Denorme is very pleased with the flexibility offered by Relatics. “It is easy to expand the current workspace with extra modules. For instance, we store all the meeting reports in a separate module. It is practical to have all decisions and activities stored centrally and easily available, and linked to the responsible people. But there are more benefits. Another example of the flexibility involves prioritising the performance of verifications. It happens that a verification is not performed on time. To avoid that, we link a time lock to it in Relatics. If a verification has been assigned to a role, when logging in to ‘my page’ this person will see an updated task list with verifications and their priority. This makes it easy for people to apply the right focus. And it ensures that we fulfil our obligations towards the client.”

Dashboards as a solid basis for reports

bestaande versus eind situatie

The Relatics dashboards makes it much easier to draw up reports. “We have set up various dashboards, for instance to monitor whether verifications have been performed or whether risk control measures have been taken in time. We also have a dashboard to keep track of deviations. Besides providing an overview, this functionality is very practical for making the reports that we need to submit every month or every quarter. The dashboards offer a solid basis for this.” The ease with which relevant information can be retrieved and presented in Relatics come in handy for audits, says Denorme; for example to demonstrate the availability of the sluices during the construction work. “The third lock needs to open by the end of 2018. After that we can start renovating sluices 1 and 2, which we will do consecutively. As part of contract management, Rijkswaterstaat performs an audit every month, and it’s very easy for us to supply the required information.”

Optimising maintenance

Also after the implementation phase, it remains very practical to have all the data regarding all objects and deviations, including the history, stored clearly and coherently. “For the transition to the maintenance phase, we can easily transfer a selection of the information in Relatics. This way, the maintenance parties can quickly find all the relevant information, such as design decisions, with which to optimise the maintenance work.”