Zuidas Lives New Courthouse

Togetherness on the building site

Work on construction sites in Zuidas is still continuing. This also applies to the new courthouse. ‘In spite of everything, there’s a good atmosphere’, says Bauke van der Goot, process and community engagement manager for the new courthouse.

Van der Goot, who works for Heijmans, is currently working partly from home, but cannot do all of his work from there. That’s why he has also spent time in the on-site building and on the site itself in recent days. ‘There have been some changes there. Our team has suddenly shrunk in size. There are fewer workers on the site, with some men returning to their home countries. We’re also asking anyone who has symptoms of flu, however mild, to stay at home. Fortunately, the atmosphere is upbeat. These are uncertain times, but that connects people, creating a sense of togetherness that I’ve never seen before.’

Flexibility

The new courthouse is being built by construction consortium NACH, which is short for New Amsterdam Court House. NACH is a partnership made up of Macquarie Capital, ABT, DVP, KAAN, Heijmans and Facilicom. As long as it is possible and still permitted, work is continuing. ‘Because of its civic function, we want to complete the courthouse according to plan’, says Van der Goot. It is scheduled to open by the end of 2020. Achieving that deadline calls for extra flexibility from the construction workers. ‘In a construction process, various different specialisms need to work closely together, like cogs in a machine. If one of them is missing, it can have consequences for the whole machine. We may end up facing that situation. In that case, we’ll try to find an alternative solution or move a different part of the job forward for which we do have the specialists available.’

The new courthouse under construction Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Extra measures

In order to enable work to continue, additional measures have been taken, especially in the on-site building. Van der Goot: ‘Because of the size of the project, it’s possible to achieve social distancing outside. It’s different in the on-site building, so we’ve made the rules there stricter.’ People eat in shifts, no more than 80 people are permitted inside and there is a cleaner at work all the time. Non-Dutch speakers have not been forgotten. ‘We’ve had posters made with clear instructions on greeting each other and hygiene.’

Completely new

So, where do we go from here? Van der Goot: ‘I think that the main thing is to keep up your spirits, stay focused and watch out for each other. This situation is also completely new for us. We’re currently trying to understand all of the repercussions this is having. And the situation could change again tomorrow. This extraordinary time places great demands on all of us. We need to get through this together. But we’re proud of our construction workers, who are showing their best side now, just when we need it.’

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