Sweco makes sure information provision to client is always up-to-date

Raised bog only occurs in a few places in the Netherlands, one of which is national park De Groote Peel. The Province of Noord-Brabant has now embarked on a project titled LIFE+ Groote Peel, aimed at restoring raised bog in the area. Keeping the water level stable is indispensable to this effort, and to improve the water system, a contractor has been hired to create impermeable ground surfaces for the narrow waterways. Low embankments will also be raised, and forty controllable weirs will be constructed. Operating in a national park means that the contractor must treat the natural environment and cultural-historical assets with extreme care. The Province has appointed engineering agency Sweco to manage and supervise the project. To provide the client with a permanently updated and well-documented picture of the progress, Sweco is using mobile devices to directly record all its observations of the work in Relatics.

Located on the border between the provinces of -Noord Brabant and Limburg, De Groote Peel is a vast area of over 1500 hectares. Project activities began in July 2016 and will continue to the end of 2017. Works are carried out simultaneously at different locations and for a project of this size, it is a considerable challenge for the client to monitor whether the contractor is carrying out the project as agreed. The Province of Noord-Brabant has therefore hired Sweco to monitor the terms of the contract, to perform observations in the field, and to record and document its observations and findings. In its role as supervisor, Sweco must especially record all observed deviations from the contract terms.

On-site observations recorded on smartphone and tablet

Has van der Zanden, Procurement and Contract Management Advisor at Sweco, has been involved with the project as process manager from the start. “The Groote Peel project is not an integrated project. The job was put out to tender with a set of specifications. In principle, Sweco uses Relatics only for Systems Engineering, as part of integrated contracts. However, the availability of new functionality to record observations in the field using a smartphone or tablet motivated us to conduct a pilot project. After all, it’s extremely efficient to record observations immediately and centrally, including links to relevant documents such as work plans and risk dossiers.”

Junior Rangers Groote Peel

National Park De Groote Peel

Recording observations directly and centrally increases efficiency

“When colleagues go out to the field to monitor the work, they can prepare specific information beforehand on the desktop, for instance the work plan or scheduled materials. Once at the site, it’s very easy to record additional information like the time of day or weather conditions. This also applies to other activities such as ground work or soil research. A practical menu supports it all. They can also record their observations on their mobile devices, optionally adding photographs of the situation. All this information is recorded directly in Relatics.”

Daily reports available quickly

For Van der Zanden and his colleagues, the mobile recording of observations is a considerable improvement compared to the former situation. “Before, on-site observations were recorded using pen and paper. The observer would make notes in a notebook and sometimes take some photographs as well. Back at the office, the supervisor had to enter all the information by hand. That was a very time-consuming process and more prone to errors. Now, thanks to the fully automated registration process, the daily reports are available quickly and are always up-to-date. These reports are created every office day and form the basis for the supervision. Another very practical feature of Relatics is that all relevant information and documents are stored centrally and can easily be retrieved. A large-scale project always generates huge amounts of information, which can now be viewed and shared easily. Since the client has direct access to the Relatics environment as well, he is always fully up-to-date on the progress.”


Creating embankments in De Groote Peel

Always in step with the actual situation

Relatics also supports the process of releasing project sites. “De Groote Peel is managed by the national forestry department, Staatsbosbeheer. Based on the work schedule, they release specific areas to the contractor. This process is also managed using Relatics. The work schedule is verified and approved by various parties, for instance the ecologists of Staatsbosbeheer and the client. After the work schedule is approved, the area is released so that the contractor can start work there. It’s an important advantage to have all the contractor’s and supervisor’s documents stored and managed centrally, including all changes, risks and control measures. This way, everyone remains in step with the actual situation. Additionally, all outstanding activities are listed in a single overview, so nothing is overlooked.”

Relatics enhances the services offered

Using Relatics to support their role as project manager and supervisor has gone down well with Sweco. “It was a pilot, but the results are very positive. It is easy to store information centrally and transparently, also when on-site. Everything we record can easily be traced and verified, and the information can be shared immediately with the contractor and the client. This works very efficiently, and it allows us to keep the client well informed at all times. This functionality definitely enhances the services we offer.”

Project facts & figures

Location: De Groote Peel
Area size: 1500 hectares
Activities: removing forest (10 Ha)
building embankments (27 kilometres)
building culverts and weirs (80 in total)
installing seepage screens to a depth of 5 m (along a length of 3 km)
installing bentonite mats as a filling in the Eeuwelseloop waterway
diverting the Eeuwelseloop waterway
Timeframe: July 2016 to end 2017
Daily reports: 200+
Documents: 100+

About Sweco

Sweco is Europe’s largest engineering consultancy agency. We plan and design the cities and communities of the future. The results of our work are sustainable buildings, efficient infrastructure and access to clean water. With 14,500 employees in Northern Europe, we offer our customers the right expertise for every project. We carry out projects in 70 countries annually throughout the world.

About Has van der Zanden

Has van der Zanden

After graduating in Construction Management & Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Has joined engineering agency Sweco as its procurement and contract management adviser. Has draws up, tenders out innovative contracts, and performs contract management during the execution of projects. Has notes that construction projects are becoming increasingly complex: multi-disciplinary, large project teams, and with numerous stakeholders and intensive information exchange. These types of projects require a tool to help manage all these matters. At Sweco, they use Relatics for this purpose. Sweco has developed a number of standard project environments that are continuously optimised. This safeguards the quality and manageability of the many projects carried out by the company simultaneously.