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Boels Rental is called in to help on the most diverse projects. One of the most special projects is facilitating the maintenance of the Hollandsche IJssel flood barrier. Because the weir is completely surrounded by water, the Boels construction hoists were transported to the site by boats and assembled from pontoons in the river.
Five questions to Pieter de Backker, Account Manager at Boels Rental Construction Hoists/Site Preparation about this water-rich project.
Maintenance on a weir surrounded by water creates extra challenges. What does the project entail?
The Hollandse IJssel is a major waterway that flows between Nieuwegein and Rotterdam and is one of the busiest inland shipping routes to Germany. On both sides of the Hollandse IJssel waterway is the Randstad, the lowest and most densely populated region of the Netherlands. The flood defence system was built in 1958, protecting the surrounding land from storm surges and flooding. Pieter: “Of course, a structure like this needs to be properly maintained and that’s a massive job. Two towers measuring 45 metres rise up on either side of the river. Suspended between them are the floodgates, each 80 metres wide and 11.5 metres high! Boels provides on this huge maintenance project for its client Hollandia Services for Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management. We placed the construction hoists on big pontoons in the river, which will remain there for several months.”
People and materials need to move from place to place for the maintenance work on the Hollandsche IJssel flood barrier. What were the client’s requirements and what did Boels deliver for this project?
Pieter: “We installed construction hoists to move the technicians, large frames and equipment to the top of the towers. On each tower we placed a 35-metre high, 1,500 kg passenger/goods lift. The preparation time alone took a very long time. Our work planner, Gilbert Roesen, measured up everything on site and took care of the drawings. The lifts were modified specifically for each position. After two weeks of assembly and installation, the lifts were put into operation after inspection by Aboma. We will be picking up two of the lifts after 16 weeks, the other maintenance work will be completed after 21 weeks. Our service technician will stay on hand in the meantime, should there be any issues.”
Not an everyday request for Boels Rental. What is so unique about this project?
“What makes this project special is its size and location,” says Pieter. “The weir is an enormous and impressive structure. So we’re really proud to be a part of this massive project. Preparing building sites and installing construction lifts are jobs we do every day. It’s not often we get to build these lifts from pontoons in the water. So a particularly unique project for us. The towers are in and near the water. That meant the only way for us to transport the lifts to the site was by boat. We installed the entire structure of the construction hoist from pontoons. Thanks to close cooperation with our client, we managed to do this successfully.”
Working safely always has first priority. What other challenges does this project face?
“Safety is always paramount, so with this project as well,” Pieter says. “But everyone has to look out for each other even more, considering how busy this waterway is. Boats and ships constantly travel in both directions here. That means carrying out work on the weir can be dangerous. There have to be strict agreements on safety and everyone needs to be vigilant for the implementation to be successful.”
Collaboration with the customer to achieve a successful end result. What added value does Boels Rental offer in this project?
Pieter: “Firstly, thanks to our extensive range, we can supply the right material. We also firmly believe that thorough preparation is half the work. That’s why we worked out every detail of our SHE plan (Safety, Health, Environment) and incorporated it later into the full SHE plan of Hollandia Services. In fact, we were even complimented on our thorough approach. And for pleasant cooperation and a successful result – that’s ultimately why we go through all the trouble!”