Volker Wessels

“Projectplace simplifies our work and improves its structure”
Hans Galjaard of Volker Wessels

“We’ve gained a lot from working with Projectplace. We communicate more directly, encounter fewer frustrations, and the exchange and tracking of large files is quick and easy. In short, Projectplace simplifies our work and improves its structure.”

These are the words of Hans Galjaard, Senior Design Manager and technical specialist in concrete structures at Volker Wessels’ subsidiary Van Hattum en Blankevoort. As a major European construction group, Volker Wessels is involved in a wide range of projects. These include major infrastructure works like the HSL and Betuweroute rail projects, construction projects like the renovation of the former Van Nellefabriek factory in Rotterdam and the new KPMG head office in Amstelveen, as well as more specialist projects like the roofing of the Barendrecht rail station.

Galjaard and his team used Projectplace for the A4/A9 project, which included the refurbishment of a number of viaducts and tunnels.

“The project team was spread over a number of different locations, which made document exchange problematic,” explains Galjaard.

“Many large files were being circulated and it was only a matter of time before mistakes would happen.”

Galjaard had heard some of his colleagues at Volker Wessels praising Projectplace and therefore suggested it as solution to his team.

“Initially, the project team was rather suspicious about the whole thing, but we eventually decided to give it a try and gradually realised that we had done the right thing.”

Smart solutions

Projectplace is a web-based service offering smart communication and collaboration solutions for projects. Staff can use Projectplace to share documents easily, keep track of new developments, update project information and monitor project progress. Everyone involved can access the information they need whenever they need it, regardless of where they are in the world, as long as they have an Internet connection.

For Hans Galjaard’s project team, working with Projectplace improved direct communication and reduced frustrations.

“The files circulating within the team often contain drawings and hundreds of pages, and are therefore quite large in size. Before we used Projectplace, there was an overwhelming amount of e-mail traffic and mailboxes were constantly overflowing. With Projectplace, we no longer have that frustration.”

Galjaard also thinks that Projectplace offers a convenient way of viewing documents.

“It’s a major advantage that people can work on a particular document whenever it suits them. The old e-mail solution meant that everyone had to wait for everyone else,”

he continues.

“Now I upload one copy of the document to Projectplace and use a specific system tool to let everyone involved know that the document concerned is available for viewing. It does not matter who opens it first, because whoever is working on it can lock it to prevent others from making any changes. Once the document is unlocked, someone else can start working on it immediately.”

Every time changes are made, a new version is generated automatically.

“This prevents people from working on the wrong document, because Projectplace allows them to check that they have the latest version,” Galjaard continues.

Secure environment

Galjaard does not worry about the security of the data held on Projectplace. All data uploaded by customers to Projectplace are routed via a secure link and backed up to disk at three different data centres. If one server were to crash and all its data lost, that data would still be accessible on the two remaining servers.

“We have great faith in Projectplace and know that they provide a secure environment for our project information,” adds Galjaard.

Free trial period

New users can try the Projectplace web service using a free trial version. This was not necessary for Galjaard and his project team because Volker Wessels already held a corporate licence. In fact, Projectplace had already been used successfully on a number of projects in the company.

“From our point of view, Projectplace has more than demonstrated its cost in practical terms,” says Galjaard.

“The service has prevented a great deal of miscommunication.”

Galjaard did not need to use the free training and support offered by Projectplace.

“The Projectplace web service speaks for itself and is very user friendly.”

Galjaard is highly appreciative of one unexpected benefit of Projectplace:

“it makes life so much tidier. Previously, I always had a cabinet packed with paper files, but that’s a thing of the past now. With a project the size of the A4/A9 project, I’d normally have expected four or five shelves of paper.”

In addition to this when Galjaard works on large documents at home, all he needs to do is upload them to Projectplace and retrieve them in his office. ‘The same process works equally well when he needs to make a presentation in another location.

“USB sticks have been known to fail, and Projectplace gives you a reliable backup.”