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Network Meeting Utrecht (Fall 2019)

27 October 2019 29 October 2019

The 27th NETLIPSE Network Meeting took place in Utrecht on the 28th and 29th of October 2019. We would like to thank the Dutch Railway Infrastructure Manager ProRail for all their support during this Network Meeting and all participants for their active and interesting contributions to discussions. We hope to see you all at the next Network Meeting in Parma on 18th and 19th of May 2020!

NETLIPSE Management Team

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

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Day 1: Monday, October 28th

NETLIPSE chairman Hans Ruijter (Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands) opens the 27th Network Meeting in Utrecht with a special thanks to our host of the event: the Dutch Railway Infrastructure Manager ProRail. With 75 delegates from 15 countries signed up, there is an all-time record of participants. We have a very interesting and interactive programme planned, including group discussions, parallel sessions and a visit to the Utrecht Station Area.

Director Projects Ans Rietstra (ProRail, The Netherlands) welcomes us in the ProRail Head Office: the Inktpot. A beautiful building with 22 million bricks and 21 kilometres of rail in it. Ans presents some facts and figures about the ProRail organisation and explains that the Dutch railway network is ‘second best’ in Europe, after Switzerland. One of the main challenges of ProRail is how to accommodate the growth which is expected in the upcoming years: +40% more passengers and +70% more freight via train. Furthermore, ProRail has high ambitons regarding the use of big data and becoming more sustainable.

After the introduction presentation by Ans Rietstra, Willem de Graaf (Rijkswaterstaat, The Netherlands) opens the interactive session on dealing with many stakeholders in a complex environment. Arjan Bieshaar (Schiphol, The Netherlands) and Arjan ten Napel (ProRail, The Netherlands) provide an overview of the complex Multimodal Hub Schiphol project. Schiphol is not only an airport, but also an important and busy train and bus station. The reason for this project is the major growth of Schiphol: it is currently used by twice as many passengers as it was built for. The project is currently in the planning phase and aims at improving the quality, capacity and safety of the Schiphol hub. There are many stakeholders involved and the project will be realised while the location is in full operation. The main question to the NETLIPSE group is: how to involve the stakeholders of a project in a complex environment without the risk of them disturbing the process of the project (too much)?

Next Gillian Worley (Department for Transport, United Kingdom) presents the Greater Manchester project. Just like Schiphol, the reason for this project is the +30% growth of the use of the railway. The objective of the project is not only to solve todays problems, but also tomorrows problems and to build a future proof system. Although the urban area is not that big (approximately 1,5 km2), it has all the challenges you can think of. The biggest challenge of the project is to keep Manchester open for business. Other challenges relate to the tensions between stakeholders, the variety of train and freight services on the tracks and the balance between disruption versus the speed of delivery. The question to the group is: how do you decide your blockade / delivery strategy?

Karin Malmquist (Trafikverket, Sweden) presents the Västlänken railway project: an 8 km double track railway project, including a 6 km long tunnel under central city of Gothenburg, with an underground partly existing of clay and partly of rock. The execution of the project started in 2018 and the project is divided in 6 contracts. The project is realised in the middle of the city, which results in many involved stakeholders and a strong influence from politics and the NIMBY’s. The main stakeholders are represented in a steering group, a coordination group and/or working groups. An interesting important ‘stakeholder’ is a group of old trees in the city. Karin’s question to the group is: what experience do you have from projects in similar situations and how did you manage to succeed?

Finally, Kees Rutten (ProRail, The Netherlands) recognizes the challenges in Manchester, Gothenburg and Schiphol, because the city of Amsterdam is dealing with the same issues. That is the main reason that the project Amsterdam Accessible was started. A project in which the ministry, municipality, province, ProRail and the transport region are involved. In the Amsterdam Area, there are currently approximately 100 different projects realised by 6 different parties. This requires good coordination, e.g. by clustering the projects, and good cooperation. The main dilemma is: is it smart to cluster project together?  

After the presentations, we split up into four groups and have interesting discussions on the four questions posed by the presenters. The group gives some advice:

  • Schiphol.
    It is important to know the interests of your stakeholders and to decide, based on their interests, what the level of involvement should be. Be transparent from the start. Also tell your stakeholders what you do not know.
  • Greater Manchester.
    Discuss the project in an early stage, communicate about the short and long term impact and align stakeholders. Focus also on minor interventions and seek collaboration with other partners, e.g. working from home instead of travelling.
  • Västlänken.
    Celebrate milestones together with the local communities.
  • Amsterdam Accessible.
    Have personal contact with your stakeholders, but use artificial intelligence to see where possible bottlenecks in the network are. Connect all governance issues, see which parties have more influence and use pathway decision structures.

Before the coffee break, Pau Lian Staal-Ong (NETLIPSE, The Netherlands) introduces the three parallel interactive sessions.

Sustainability in contracts

In a joint Danish and Swedish session, Adnan Kahn (Vejdirektoratet, Denmark) and Therese Lundblad (Trafikverket, Sweden) share how they incorporated sustainability goals in their projects. Adnan elaborates on the starting phase of the project to include climate impact in procurement. After a market research, they involved market parties via a dialogue. The biggest challenge is that you underestimate the size of the project. Therese presents Trafikverket’s main tasks and the Swedish climate goals: Trafikverket should be climate neutral in 2045. In order to reach the ambitious climate goals, Trafikverket uses a model: Klimatkalkyl. With this model they set a baseline for the emissions of the project and a functional requirement to reduce the emissions with a certain percentage. After the joint presentation there is an interesting discussion on how to implement sustainability requirements in the tender phase, how to guarantee that the contractor handles these requirements as they promise in the contract (by bonuses or fees), and how to get the mindset of project teams and contractors right and about the variety of models in different countries, which might be difficult for the contractors.

BIM and Digitalisation

Heidi Kotiranta (Väylä, Finland) presents the Finnish BIM strategy, the policies and guidelines and the experience of Väylä so far. Additionally, Akseli Nurmi (Väylä, Finland) elaborates on the use of BIM in his project and explains in which phases BIM is used (procurement analysis and preparation for procurement, planning phase, building and quality control). It is interesting to notice that many countries are struggling with the same issues regarding BIM and digitalisation. Countries use different approaches e.g. when it comes to the maintenance of the digital programme and the application of BIM in the maintenance phase. We conclude that not all digital programmes are perfectly made for the client organisation.

Results and learnings from IPAT Assessments

After the opening words by Marian Bosch-Rekveldt, Sahana R. Reddy (TU Delft, The Netherlands) shortly provides an overview of her research into the IPAT Assessments and what lessons we can learn for future project management. Afterwards, the group reacts to the trends identified in the research. We discuss to what extent we recognize these trends in practice. There are interesting discussions on e.g. collaboration with the contractor and the influence of politics in projects. Afterwards, Outi Leuhtonen and Anna Tarhonen (Väylä, Finland) present the proposed Finnish IPAT Programme for the period 2017-2020. Until now, five Finnish projects have been assessed in the last years. Väylä analysed the various IPAT reports, identified conclusions over all their projects and formulates several areas for improvement, e.g. regarding risk management, transfer of information, organisation and personnel, ambitions on sustainability and stakeholder management. As a result of this analysis, Väylä is developing a project management handbook.

Between the two rounds of parallel interactive sessions, a delicious lunch is served. After the sessions there is a short plenary feedback and Eric Mackay (ProRail, The Netherlands) opens the afternoon session on integration between infrastructure and urban development.

The first perspective is provided by Alexander Schütte (Municipality of Utrecht, The Netherlands) who presents the Utrecht Central Station area. The slogan of the project is “restore, connect and give meaning”. Highlights of the project are the largest bicycle parking of the world with 12.500 parking places and the fact that there are many different projects and contracts on a relatively small urban area. After an overview of the project, Alexander presents eight lessons learnt, namely: the importance of  taking the ‘directors’ seat as municipality,  acting pennywise/pound foolish, that it takes two to tango, acting  soft and trusting each other, work step by step, sometimes agreeing to disagree and change hats once in a while to see issues from another perspective. Finally he tells the audience to forget about the classic project management (e.g. iron triangle) approach: you cannot control everything and you have to be adaptive. Alexander’s question to the group is: how to retain the knowledge developed in the project?

Second perspective is presented by Giovanni Visconti (Sistemi Urbani S.p.A., Italy), Christian Vitali (Vitali S.p.A.)  and Attilio Gobbi (Gobbi Architettura, Italy) present the Bergamo Porta Sud project. Firstly, Giovanni explains the role and activities of Sistemi Urbani, the real estate asset manager. Based on an analysis of railway and real estate developments, Giovanni concluded that important factors for success are the flexibility of the project and the central location of the real estate, connected to public transport. Christian Vitali provides a brief overview of the Bergamo Porta Sud project. The project has three public functions, namely an intermodal platform, a hospital and a high school. Attilio Gobbi explains that although the Bergamo city centre is old and historic, they work in the project on creating a city of the future. Typical for Bergamo is that all infrastructure is close to the city centre, but is not connected. There are many similarities with the Utrecht station area. The main question for the group is: how can we make a plan so the value of our real estate around an infrastructure project will rise?

[Check out the Italian news article here]

Third perspective is provided by Jenny Bergh (Trafikverket, Sweden) who presents the Mälaren line project, which includes the expansion from 2 to 4 tracks and the building of 4 stations. Jenny focuses on the tunnel under the city of Sundbyberg and concludes that it is impossible to build in the middle of a city without disturbing the inhabitants of the city. When the railway is tunnelled, it is possible to realise buildings and real estate development in the area. The main challenge of the project is realising the work while retaining a full service on two tracks and retaining the critical functions for the municipality. The main question of Jenny for the group is: how do you promote/implement successful cooperation between the transport administration and the municipality?

After the three presentations, we discuss the questions posed in small groups and have a plenary discussion, e.g. on what makes an area around an infrastructure project valuable (e.g. green, water). Now it is time to have a look at one of the projects! We split up in three groups and walk around the Utrecht Station Area to see the beautiful station square, the mall, the largest bicycle parking in the world, the station and the urban development in the area.

After an interesting day we have a dinner in restaurant Humphrey’s, located near one of the Utrecht canals.

Day 2: Tuesday, October 29th

NETLIPSE Director Pau Lian Staal-Ong (NETLIPSE, The Netherlands) opens the second day of the Network Meeting. Because there are some new faces in the room, Pau Lian provides us with a brief overview of the NETLIPSE history, the development of the IPAT assessment tool and which sponsors and partners are currently involved in the network. Is your logo not in this overview? As public client organisation you are more than welcome to join as sponsor or partner! Pau Lian asks the delegates in the room to visit the NETLIPSE website, because all presentations from the past 26 Network Meetings, research results and articles are available online.

Mauri Mäkiaho (Väylä, Finland) introduces Väylä’s IPAT programme which they introduced in the Väylä organisation for the period 2017-2020. Already five projects have been assessed and there are two more planned for next year. After next year Väylä intends to sign on for another 8 IPAT assessments, including having more than one assessment carried out at specific milestone moments in one project.

Pekka Petajaniemi (Väylä, Finland) opens the session on safety and social responsibility, noting the large number of bicycles he has seen in Utrecht and the limited number of helmets worn.

Johan Brantmark (Trafikverket, Sweden) provides a brief overview of the Stockholm Bypass Project, a project within a large city built on water. The Bypass Road will function as a ring road and 18 of the 21 km is a tunnel. The total workforce is 1400 persons, divided over 14 contracts. The main challenges are finding the right people and skills, dealing with the increased globalisation and the larger contracts. Johan addresses the social requirements in the Swedish contracts and the ‘Zero-vision’ (zero accidents). He has formulated several good practices from Trafikverket, such as an active client presence on site, handing out a safety award and sharing lessons learnt in the organisation.

After a short overview of the Storstrøm Bridge project, Vibeke Schiøler Sørensen (Vejdirektoratet, Denmark) elaborates on CSR in the contract and discusses the CSR requirements, the labour clause and the trainee clause in the contract. She emphasizes that it is important to inform parties during the tender phase about CSR in the contract and keep the focus on this subject after signing the contract, e.g. by inviting the labour unions to regularly inform the workers. Furthermore, in the project they implemented an e-learning module, based on principles of gamification. Before someone works on site, they have to take a test in an online ‘game environment’. This is a good way to experience issues before they occur in practice and it results in proactive behaviour from workers and an increased safety awareness.

After these presentations there is an interesting discussion on the involvement of labour unions, the number of accidents in projects in the various countries and about dividing projects into different contracts.

After the coffee break, Ľuboš Ďurič (Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development, Slovakia) presents a cross-border bridge project between Slovakia and Hungary. Due to the speed and weight limits, the current bridge is a bottleneck in the network and a new 600 meter long bridge is being built. The location of the bridge is very important for ongoing (freight) traffic and trucks have to make extremely long detours when the bridge is not accessible. The project is currently in the construction phase and will finish next year. The work has to be realised whilst all boat traffic continues travelling on the river. After the presentation Ľuboš elaborates on the management of the client organisation, EU funding and the project costs.

Marian Bosch-Rekveldt (TU Delft, The Netherlands) introduces this year’s Research Café. There will be discussions in four corners of the room:

  • Collaborative contracting, innovation and efficiency, by Leentje Volker (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
  • Digital collaboration in projects, by Christof Kier (WU Vienna, Austria)
  • Challenges in stakeholder management, by Kristijan Robert Prebanić (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Fit for purpose: deviating from the standard practices, by Marian Bosch-Rekveldt (TU Delft, The Netherlands)

After four interactive rounds, the researchers shortly share their findings. Leentje notices that, regarding innovation, projects often don’t start with the end point in mind: what can we already do in an early phase to increase innovation or efficiency? We often start and follow regular procedures. In the session on digital collaboration it was concluded that we are in the beginning of using digital tools. Several areas attention points were concluded for the further development of tools e.g. that you need the right capabilities and competences, that accessibility of tools is important and that you have to be adaptive in the application of tools. Kristijan remarks that every project engages stakeholders, but that project managers seem to be sceptical in applying stakeholder tools and models such as a regular stakeholder analysis. It is important to keep the models simple. Don’t be too scientific and speak the language of the project manager. Finally, Marian concludes that almost everybody agreed that we need to be adaptive in order to realise better projects. How to cope with the culture of your organisation (of doing things like you did in the past) and with your current procedures is an interesting challenge in the aim to work more adaptively.

[You can download the article of Leentje Volker on Collaborative procurement strategies for infrastructure projects here]

After lunch Hans announces the dates of the two upcoming Network Meetings: May 18th-19th 2020 and November 9th-10th 2020. The next Network Meeting in spring 2020 will be in Parma, Italy! The host of the upcoming meeting, Marcello Moretti (AIPo, Italy), briefly introduces the AIPo organisation and their main projects. Parma is the Italian capital of culture in 2020, so we look forward to interesting days with a cultural touch. Regarding the travel information: there is no airport in Parma, but you can fly to Bologna, Milan Linate or Milano Malpensa and travel to Parma by train.

Per-Olov Karlsson (Trafikverket, Sweden) introduces the last session of the day about challenges in finding the right people and partners in an overstretched market. The first perspective is from Finland. Mauri Mäkiaho (Väylä, Finland) explains the resource planning of Väylä: with 7 (deputy) directors who plan the work of 38 project managers and engineers and 23 project management experts. Additionally this group decides what kind and how many consultants they need. Marja Wuori (Väylä, Finland) explains how they select their consultants. Apart from references and a quality plan, Väylä sometimes asks for an exam. Marja elaborates on a specific case: selecting a consultant for supervising the maintenance period in three PPP projects. After sharing the tender procedure and selection criteria applied, Väylä explains the success of the used quality criteria and discusses suggestions for improvement.

Christoffer Wilson (Trafikverket, Sweden) provides the second perspective based on the Stockholm Bypass project. Compared to the average of 3 bids per tender, the Stockholm Bypass project had an average of 5 bids per tender. The success factors were: the marketing (also international), the diversity of contracts (different price and type) and the scope of the contracts. Some of the main challenges during the project are that the project context is dynamic and you have to rethink and re-strategize all the time. Furthermore it can be complicated – less efficient – to work within a bigger organisation, with its own procedures and standards.

As third perspective, Cliff Krijnen (Amsterdam Metro & Tram, The Netherlands) shares the main challenge of Metro & Tram regarding capacity: how to quickly deploy high-quality capacity efficiently and at the right moment, especially during a boom period? After a brief overview of the organisation and some of the projects realised by Metro & Tram, Cliff elaborates on the Dutch job market and the challenges in finding the right people. Main challenges in programming and portfolio management are related to the complex stakeholder environment and the financing in phases. Metro & Tram already took some measures, but they don’t think it is enough. After the presentation we have an interesting discussion about how you can attract more qualified personnel as a government organisations in the current market. The discussion is based on statements on which we have to vote by putting on a red or blue hat. Finally the group also comes up with ideas for the ‘golden approach’ how to ensure sufficient staffing capacity.

At the end of the day Hans Ruijter looks back on two successful days and thanks the host ProRail for organising and hosting the Network Meeting.

We hope to meet you on May 18th and 19th 2020 at the next NETLIPSE Network Meeting in Parma! If you have suggestions for topics or speakers for the programme, please contact Pau Lian Staal-Ong (paulian.staal@atosborne.nl) or info@netlipse.eu.




27 October 2019
29 October 2019