Rijkswaterstaat increases its Grip™ on flexibility with Relatics

What does information management in an infrastructure project and climbing a mountain have in common? At first glance, not much.  And yet Grip, a central application for storing, managing and unlocking all the project information in the executive agency of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (Rijkswaterstaat) has a mountain climber for its logo. Grip is configured in Relatics. Willem van de Wetering from Rijkswaterstaat explains why: “When climbing to the top of a mountain, a mountaineer sees it all: from avalanches to beautiful vistas. Getting Grip up and running has also been quite a challenging climb. The peak can be seen as a metaphor for an ideal information world. This is a world where perfectly clear specifications have been drawn up and collaboration between client and contractor runs smoothly. All the work processes are also uniformly supported by software and equally implemented. And all knowledge is documented in libraries.” Van de Wetering tells us of the steps that have been taken in the past three years to achieve that final goal.

Documenting and sharing knowledge and experience

The introduction of Grip will see Rijkswaterstaat clarifying the central framework for information management. “At a certain moment, there were two dozen projects all working within their own Relatics environment, creating isolated islands. This approach was just inefficient and expensive in the end. Everyone keeps on reinventing the wheel and there is no consensus on the best working method. Moreover, valuable knowledge and experience are not shared and could even be lost at the end of a project.” Another drawback of a fragmented approach is the lack of best practices, which are of course present in Rijkswaterstaat, but are not consistently documented and shared. “We have managed to reverse this situation working closely with the project teams.”

Create peace of mind in projects

Van de Wetering feels that storing all data in a single environment using an integrated approach, and then providing access to it within this environment can only bring big benefits. “The status of data has been documented clearly and transparently within Relatics. This creates a certain calm within projects, as there is no need to discuss it. And the calm is evident right from the start. Grip ensures that a project environment within Rijkswaterstaat is quickly made available. Therefore, the focus is immediately on achieving the project objectives.”


Present data with a single press of the button

Grip currently provides an extensive range of modules that support the entire project cycle: from strategic environment management and managing customer demands to system specifications, engaging in dialogue, risk management and contract control. This is all available for different forms of contracts, such as Design and Construct and DBFM. There are also plans to support performance-based contracts. “Regardless of the extensions and integration, the vital part is that all relevant information is documented in a structured and traceable way and can be presented with a single click of the button. This cuts out time-consuming processes and ensures the process is less error-prone. And these benefits are widely acknowledged within Rijkswaterstaat.”


Text-based versus model-based

Despite these positive results, the Grip team is not resting on its laurels, Van de Wetering emphasizes. “There are plenty of ideas for extensions and improvements, while the project teams have also supplied a host of suggestions. For instance, Grip plays an important role in the transition from ‘text-based to model-based’ concepts and approaches, documenting knowledge from manuals and books into a Grip library. This means that projects can profit immediately from this structured data. A clear example is the system of basic specifications that projects use as the starting point of the specification process.”

Optimally utilising the brainpower at Rijkswaterstaat

Van de Wetering still sees plenty of opportunities for development. “Rijkswaterstaat wants to continue to improve and utilize the brainpower within projects to maximum capacity. And Grip, based on Relatics, has an important role to play in this. The major strides we have already made by working closely with the project teams has in any case ensured that we have a better grip on our information today than we did yesterday. And that really fires me up to eventually get to the top with Grip!”

About Willem van de Wetering

As an employee of Rijkswaterstaat Willem van de Wetering has been working since four years in the field of Systems Engineering. With a small group of colleagues Van de Wetering has developed Grip, based on Systems Engineering principles. After a relatively ' green' study (Wageningen), later enriched with theology and MBA, Van de Wetering has started within a scientific environment (Systems Engineering), then ICT consultancy and finally Rijkswaterstaat. The runing theme in his work life is characterized by the words statistics, systems, change management and ICT.


Articles about Systems Engineering

Applying Relatics effectively by integrating BIM and GIS

When performing informationmanagement on a project at first the project process and the resulting information needs should be looked at. It often turns out that Relatics is not the only system in which information is recorded. Still, you want to capture the information in one place only once. In this presentation some examples will be…

Read More

New Gotthard rail tunnel, built with Swiss precision

The world’s longest rail tunnel (57 km) right through the Gotthard Massif in Switzerland is intended to reduce the journey time from Zurich to Milan by one hour. After its opening next year, the train will offer an attractive alternative to the car and plane. The building consortium* ARGE Fahrbahn Transtec Gotthard (AFTTG) has designed…

Read More

Capturing verifications of requirements unambiguously

In high quality projects, verifications and tests are explicitly captured to be able to prove that the result meets the specifications. How verifications of requirements are described differs on the project and depends on the processes and needs. This article describes one of the possible ways to capture information about verifications. The examples in this article are…

Read More

Antea Group takes control over Systems Engineering using Relatics

As an international engineering and environmental consulting firm, Antea Group combines strategic thinking and multidisciplinary perspectives with technical expertise and pragmatic action.

Read More

Croon Elektrotechniek presents Systems Engineering at CIMdata’s Workshop

Last April, CIMdata organized the workshop “European Systems Engineering and Simulation and Analysis” in Bad Homburg, Germany. During this workshop trends, experiences and ideas on Systems Engineering were discussed. Leo van Ruijven of Croon Elektrotechniek was one of the keynote speakers. In his presentation the development of a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) framework was explained…

Read More

Nijmegen Municipal Authority accelerates the testing process for a new city bridge

Nijmegen urgently needed a second bridge across the River Waal. The new city bridge must provide for better access and improve air quality in and around the city.

Read More

Systems Engineering is of major importance for Solar Team Twente

Solar Team Twente is currently taking part in the World Solar Challenge in Darwin, Australia. This biannual race follows the Stuart Highway, a 3,000 kilometre road from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south.

Read More

Manageable structures within projects and reliable information, thanks to the use of Relatics

“Relatics is widely used for Systems Engineering at Heijmans. After an earlier introduction at Infra, we are now also noticing that its use is continuing to grow in the utilities arm. 

Read More

Systems Engineering for the largest civil engineering project in the Netherlands

Maasvlakte 2 is the largest civil engineering project in the Netherlands since the Delta Works.

Read More