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Network Meeting Bratislava (Spring 2018)

9 April 2018 10 April 2018

The 24th NETLIPSE Network Meeting took place in Bratislava on the 9th and 10th of April 2018. We would like to thank the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic for hosting this Network Meeting and all participants and presenters for their active and interesting contributions. We hope to see you all at the next Network Meeting in Norway on 12th/13th of November 2018!

NETLIPSE Management Team

>> Please, scroll down for summary, presentations and photos!


Day 1

Hans Ruijter (The Netherlands), as Deputy Chairman of NETLIPSE, opened this 24th Network Meeting in Bratislava with a special thanks to the host of this event: the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic. We look forward to an interesting and interactive programme.

Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic – Thank you for organising and hosting this NETLIPSE event!

The Minister of Transport and Construction, Mr. Árpád Érsek welcomes all the NETLIPSE delegates and is happy to host this event with project management experts from thirteen European countries. He is pleased to welcome everybody to this location near the river Danube: a river that connects the Slovak Republic to many other European countries and has a great potential. The Minister elaborates on the major projects and challenges in the Slovak Republic, regarding waterways, roads and railways.

Gabriel Meszaros (Slovak Republic) presents the potential of the Danube river with his presentation and nicely animated video on the Danubebus. Due to the large increase of the population of Bratislava, the city and its surroundings are dealing with major traffic jams and the car is getting less attractive as a mode of transport. The Danubebus provides a good alternative: a quick and environmental-friendly way to travel by boat between Bratislava and the surrounding villages at rush hours.

As the Minister already told the delegates in the room, there are some ‘missing links’ between Bratislava and the east of Slovakia. One of these missing links is the Visnove tunnel: the biggest tunnel in the Slovak Republic. Jiří Hájek (Slovak Republic) tells us about this special and difficult project in his presentation ‘How to (not) execute a project?’. The project has a long history, was cancelled and restarted. The most important lesson learnt is the importance of a good preparation. The presentation is followed by an interesting discussion on project preparations and documentation, Public-Private-Partnerships and cooperation with the contractor.

After the coffee break Pau Lian Staal-Ong (The Netherlands) explains that we will split up in three groups for the three parallel sessions on:

  • Partnering and alliances, hosted by Liikennevirasto

  • Challenges of DBFM, hosted by Rijkswaterstaat

  • Different incentive structures in tender and contract set-ups, hosted by Vejdirektoratet.

In their parallel sessions, Pekka Petäjäniemi and Mauri Mäkiaho (Finland) share their experiences with over forty alliance projects. This results in interesting questions and discussions. How is it possible to deliver a project with a very small client team? How is it possible to cooperate when you do not trust the other party? One of the conclusions is that the basis of the alliance model is trust and openness.

Ferdinand Bockhoudt (The Netherlands) facilitates interactive sessions on DBFM (Design, Build, Finance, Maintain) contracts. Apart from sharing his experiences in The Netherlands, there are interesting discussions on e.g. quality and risk management. Delegates conclude that ther DBFM-projects in their countries were within time and budget, but achieving the required quality is a challenge. Furthermore, the groups discusses the tools that could be used to decide if a project is suited for a DBFM-contract or not.

Helle Lange (Denmark) asks subgroups in her parallel sessions to define circumstances that should lead to a certain contract set-up. In groups, the delegates discuss  different tender procedures, evaluation criteria and contract forms. In addition to the aspects that the Danish Road Directorate has indicated, the groups conclude that the maturity of the client organisation is an important aspect when choosing a certain contract set-up. The more integrated the contract, the more mature the client organisation needs to be.

After a tea break Mr. Juraj Méry of the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic welcomes the NETLIPSE delegates and thanks them for sharing their experiences. Mr. Méry is happy to host this Network Meeting, where so many cultures meet and discuss infrastructure projects.

Arjan Bieshaar (The Netherlands) from Schiphol Airport has a question for the audience: how does the Schiphol Group ensure that they get enough competition in an overstrained market? Due to a large growth of passengers at Schiphol Airport, there is an urgency to build extra capacity in the upcoming years. In two groups, the NETLIPSE delegates discuss several questions on international competition and tendering processes. As a result of the discussions, there are many suggestions, e.g. regarding the size of the tendered projects, possible barriers for client organisations and contractors, risk distribution possibilities, tender criteria and the dialogue with the market.

At the end of day 1, Pau Lian Staal-Ong (The Netherlands) elaborates on the IPAT (Infrastructure Project Assessment Tool® developed by NETLIPSE): the history, the recently executed review and the proposed ‘new and improved’ IPAT. Alexandra Stassais-Söderblom (Sweden) shares her experience as an IPAT client and as an assessor. As a client, she comments that the value of the IPAT is mainly in the experienced project managers from abroad, who help you with your project. Pekka Petäjäniemi (Finland) explains that the Finnish Transport Administration has set up an IPAT programme for the period 2018-2020, consisting of 2 IPATs each year. According to Pekka the IPAT is not only valuable for your project, but also for yourself. Lars Westermark (Finland) mentions receiving a very useful report on his E18 project and describes having valuable conversations during the interview days.

The IPATs are of great importance to the NETLIPSE Network. If you are interested in finding our more about the IPAT tool and assessment process or would like to submit a project for an IPAT assessment, please contact Pau Lian Staal-Ong via info@netlipse.eu.

In parallel during the Network Meeting day, Claudia Ringhofer from WU Wien invited project professionals to participate in individual sessions to discuss their professional careers. The sessions are part of the Careers@Projects research project that is currently being carried out by Vienna University of Economics and Business and University College Dublin.

At around 17:00 the Monday programme ended and the delegates prepared for a lovely dinner, hosted by the Slovak Ministry of Transport and Construction.

Day 2

Because it is Hans Ruijter’s birthday, we start the day by singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in 13 languages simultaneously!

Per-Olov Karlsson (Sweden) introduces the group discussion on project culture with an interesting comparison to a football team. After his introduction, Eva Nordberg (Sweden) shares her experiences in the Mälaren Line Project: a €1,7 billion 20 kilometres rail project. Eva tells us about two of the focus areas of the project: leadership and employeeship, and how these focus areas can be influenced by structure and culture. She explains how the core values of Trafikverket (Reliable, Engaged and Brave) are practiced in the Mälaren Line Project. She ends her presentation with five elements to improve a project culture.

Gilbert Peiker (Germany) elaborates on his experiences with project culture with examples from two Autobahndirektion Südbayern projects: the A99 Munich motorway ring road and the A3 Regensburg-Rosenhof. He compares large infrastructure projects to an engine: the project team is ‘the oil’. Internal and external communication is one of the most important factors in the projects. The Autobahndirektion organised an active participation process for external stakeholders and a mentoring system to improve the internal processes. Gilbert ends his presentation – and starts the group discussion – with his top five criteria for a positive project culture.

Key factors for a positive project culture are discussed in six groups. In addition to the success factors that Eva and Gilbert defined, each group proposes additional factors. All delegates vote on the factors and select, via the voting system, the most important ones. ‘Make people proud of what they are doing’ and ‘celebrate success and communicate about it’ were selected as the most important influencers on project team culture!  

Sven Jesenković (Croatia) presents the challenging ‘Pelješac Bridge project’. The complete project, of over €500 million, is 33 kilometres long and includes several bridges, of which one is the 2,4 kilometre long Pelješac Bridge. One of the reasons for the project, is that people strongly rely on road travel but currently have to cross two (time-consuming) country borders (Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina) within a 10 kilometre span. Mr. Jesenković  shares the main risks of the projects such as the coordination with neighbouring country Bosnia & Herzegovina.

As a final presentation of this morning, Sebastian Kussl (Norway) provides a ‘sneak preview’ on the next NETLIPSE Network Meeting which will take place in Norway. He elaborates on the rail, water and road projects in his country. With a video he shows us the country’s largest, challenging and innovative road project: the E39. We are already looking forward to the meeting in Norway!

We end the Network Meeting with a beautiful boat tour over the Danube river. We travel upstream towards the Port of Bratislava. During the boat tour,  a lovely lunch is arranged by the Ministry, as well as two interesting project presentations. Zuzana Šebestová (Slovak Republic) elaborates on the dredging works in the Danube river, which is part of a set of rehabilitation measures in the river. And finally, Gabriel Szekeres (Slovak Republic) presents  the Port of Bratislava: one of the three important international ports in Slovakia, located close to the major Port of Vienna. Gabriel and his colleagues are currently working on several feasibility studies for possible improvements to the port.

On arriving at the Port of Bratislava, we look back on two very successful and interactive days thanks to our host the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic and all delegates present.

We hope to meet you all on November 12th and 13th 2018 in Norway!




9 April 2018
10 April 2018