‘Of course, we have adapted our working methods to the coronavirus measures that are in force. But for the time being, we’re making good progress. That’s partly because not many members of our team have returned to their country of origin.’ Ruud van der Thiel, construction site manager for the Valley Amsterdam construction consortium, says the new situation is taking some time to get used to. ‘I’m currently working from home for two afternoons a week. I’ve just become a father, so that can be quite a challenge sometimes. But fortunately, it’s all going fine.’
But Van der Thiel is often to be found on the Valley construction site too. ‘I need to be on site to supervise the team.’ There are ground markings on site to indicate 1.5 metres. ‘They act as a reminder. We have also appointed a coronavirus manager to monitor compliance with the regulations, give advice and answer employees’ questions.’
Keeping a distance
The Valley will have 75,000 square metres of floor space, and that is more than enough to avoid getting in each other’s way. ‘Another advantage at the moment is that the current phase involves things like installing interior walls, climate ceilings, electricity installations and sanitary facilities. That kind of work can easily be done at a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.’ Work is currently taking place on the second to the eighth floors, in both the office complex and on the residential lower sections.
Still on schedule
At the same time, the basic structure of the building is getting higher and higher. The north tower now has 16 floors and the west and south towers have 15. The north tower will eventually be the highest at 100 metres with 27 floors, the west tower will have 17 floors, and the south tower will have 21. Previously, Van der Thiel said that the builders would top out the west tower in July 2020, the south tower in August and the north tower in October. So, is the team still on schedule? ‘Coronavirus is throwing up some unexpected challenges, but we are still on track.’
Despite the uncertainty, there’s no shortage of team spirit and motivation. Van der Thiel: ‘That’s something I’m very proud of. The builders are keeping a cool head and morale in the team is good. I also have the impression that everyone is getting used to this way of working. We’ve been doing it for quite a few weeks now, of course, so the novelty has worn off. And of course, it’s been a huge relief for the construction sector that we’ve been able to continue working responsibly during this period. That has saved us a lot of headaches.’