The southern ring road in the city of Groningen is the main traffic artery in the northern Netherlands. It is important not only for traffic to and from the city, but also for traffic that passes by Groningen. However, the current ring road can no longer adequately process the growing amount of traffic. That is why the City of Groningen, the province and the central government created a plan to rebuild the southern ring road. The design and realisation of the “Aanpak Ring Zuid” project are in the hands of a consortium, Combinatie Herepoort, consisting of Max Bögl, Züblin, Oosterhof Holman Infra, Koninklijke Sjouke Dijkstra, Roelofs Wegenbouw and Jansma Drachten. The Aanpak Ring Zuid is a complex project due to its size, location, and the involvement of several disciplines. To ensure optimal collaboration between all the parties, the consortium has chosen to rely on Relatics for the project’s information management. All parties maintain simple overview, can perfectly monitor progress and have the guarantee to always work with the most up-to-date information available.
Ensuring better accessibility, safety, and quality of life
By rebuilding 12 kilometres of ring road, Groningen wishes to make the city more accessible while simultaneously improving safety and quality of life. In order to realise that, the existing road is being modified. Besides adding new connections, the road will also be built partially below-grade, in a way not seen before in the Netherlands. New artworks will be added and existing works renovated. Preserving Groningen’s accessibility while carrying out the work is a major concern. The commissioning authority has therefore imposed limits on the maximum permissible delays on specific routes. These requirements significantly affect the preparation and planning of the construction work. Combinatie Herepoort is currently completing the definitive design based on a broad range of requirements, after which work will start in the summer of 2017. According to the schedule, the work should be completed in spring 2021.
Logical linkage of requirements, agreements, and risks
Sander Roesink is Project Manager at Combinatie Herepoort on behalf of Max Bögl. “At the beginning of the project, we received over 3,500 requirements from the client, which were also managed in a Relatics environment. We then got to work with them in our own Relatics configuration, in which we create logical links between requirements, objects, interfaces and risks.” That creates a strong basis for the design phase. Roesink continues: “We grouped the requirements for each partner so that they could personally analyse and verify the requirements and then start designing. Furthermore, all choices have been transparently recorded and everyone is working on their specific tasks using the same basic information. This helps us maintain a clear overview, which is very important in this case, as we have agreed with the client that we will realise the design within one year. That demands a great deal of efficiency.”
The future Julianaplein, gateway to the city of Groningen
Easy to properly organise work and to cooperate efficiently
According to Roesink, using Relatics was a ‘no-brainer’, since just about everyone in the market is familiar with it nowadays. And if someone isn’t, all it takes to get them started are some brief instructions. “The time pressure during the design phase is high, and we need to work with various partners. But we still have to make every decision very carefully and to document the processes in a transparent and verifiable manner. Relatics is a very functional tool that allows us to show that we are fulfilling the requirements and are in control throughout the entire project, from design to execution.” Roesink has noticed that the people working on the project are excited to use Relatics. “New people often ask me for a login code. Project members experienced that the structure of Relatics helps organize their own work and to cooperate more efficiently, for instance by adding and sharing certain reports. Before, reports were often kept in separate lists and shared individually. Because information is now clearly and centrally stored and easily accessible for all project members, it decreases the risk of errors. Moreover, it helps assure the continuity of the project.”
Enriching project information and better risk control
In addition to the cooperation in Combinatie Herepoort, liaising with the client is also crucial. “They have their own account to keep an eye on things. In short, they always know what we’re doing and why. When we talk, it’s always on the basis of the same up-to-date information. I can really tell that they’re monitoring the progress – if we create a deviation one day, the client will often have noted it by next morning.” In the meantime, the collaboration through Relatics has gone even further. “Rijkswaterstaat now wants weekly overviews of any new risks and the related control measures. Previously, they used their own spreadsheet with macros, which was quite complex and was often sent back and forth. Now, we manage that list together in Relatics. An additional advantage is that we can also link other information to the risks, such as the persons in charge. That way, we can control the risks more effectively.”
Aanpak Ring Zuid, Groningen
Interest in Relatics from German parent company
Roesink has noticed that his colleagues at the German parent company are closely following the developments around project information management in the Netherlands. “In Germany, the responsibility in large projects are more on the side of the client. They barely use integrated contracts there yet, which means that contractors are often not exposed to the project requirements. They do realise, however, that a clear information structure really improves one’s grip on a project. Relatics logically connects all elements and ensures that project information is up to date and available. As far as I am concerned, no spreadsheet can compete with that. On top of that, everyone always works with the same information. That makes a project more transparent and controlled, and ultimately saves on failure-related expenses. That’s interesting for any project, whether in the Netherlands or abroad.”
About Max Bögl
Max Bögl Nederland, part of the Max Bögl Group, has been active in the Netherlands for fifteen years. In recent years, the company has been involved in high-profile projects such as the Hanzeboog bridge across the IJssel at Zwolle and the Fletcher Hotel besides the A2/A9 motorway. Other prominent projects are the Noord/Zuid metro line in Amsterdam and the striking Stadsbrug bridge across the Waal River in Nijmegen. Max Bögl creates technical, innovative and fitting solutions in infrastructure, utility construction and energy, for which it draws on the knowledge and experience of 6000 highly qualified workers around the world.
About Sander Roesink
Sander Roesink graduated from the Delft University of Technology (Civil Engineering). He has been employed at Max Bögl Netherlands since 2007 as a contract manager with responsibility for the organisation of project management. He has been the Project manager for the Aanpak Ring Zuid project in Groningen since May 2015. He has been working with Systems Engineering and Relatics since 2006.