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‘2016 recovery carries on in 2017’ REGIS RIVIERE SUPERVISORY BOARD

New governance structure Supervisory Board appoints new Executive Board

Five future perspectives Experts weigh in on our future industry

Global projects Solid results in Albania, England and Saudi Arabia

NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN THE DESERT In an order granted by customer Saudi Aramco, A.Hak is working to install a 48" pipeline for the transportation of sea water to an oil field across 75 kilometres. The sea water is injected into the Khurais oil field to increase oil extraction efficiency. After a successful work completion of the engineering department, the actual construction in the field begun. Currently, approximately 60% of this route is completed, while every team progresses approximately 550 meters each day to meet the project deadline in late 2017. Coating the welds proves particularly challenging, as coating robots must travel some 750 meters within the pipeline. Saudi Aramco and A.Hak implemented and enforced stringent safety regulations. The results are satisfactory, as the million man hour mark was reached without a single LTI (lost time incident). The excellent results attained in this project make us a strong contender for follow-up work. MORE UPDATES ABOUT THIS PROJECT WILL BE FEATURED IN THE NEXT EDITION OF THIS MAGAZINE.


The next step in our ­development A.Hak has been around for 54 years now, and in that period we went through a lot of changes. In 1985, our father, Willem van Geenhuizen, ­embarked on an adventure by procuring the shares of A.Hak Pipelines. From that point forward, the company experienced ten years of solid growth. In the ensuing decade, the industry struggled and A.Hak learned first-hand that companies develop with ups and downs. Another ten years later, the tides turned again and we experienced a new growth acceleration.

colophon PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde

We know now that this period also lasted about a decade. In 2015, it was all hands on deck to combat the crisis that occurred as a result of the low oil prices. With the measures we took then – a disciplined approach to ­expenditures and investing in the development of our organisation – we embarked on a path towards a more efficient and effective A.Hak. During this process, we also called upon outside assistance. For instance from Régis Rivière who applied his vast experience as a turn-around manager to significantly contribute to the financial recovery of A.Hak after the losses we reported in 2015.

Soumen Dey COPYWRITING Hannah Jansen Marcel Nahapiet Richard van Santen EDITOR IN CHIEF Richard van Santen

Iain Light came on board to consult us about the strategy for the coming years. This will be a strategy of increasing focus on our core business in underground infrastructure. Our fruitful collaboration with Iain gave us the confidence to take the next step in the development of our organisation. As we announced last month, as of June 20th 2017, A.Hak will be governed by an Executive Board and a Supervisory Board. Iain Light is appointed as CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board which also consists of Remco Smit (CFO) and Rob Bombeek (CHRO). Together with Régis Rivière, we are now seated in the Supervisory Board.

CONCEPT/DESIGN Studio BLT, Rotterdam TRANSLATION Dennis Gerritse Founding Translate PRODUCTION NPN Drukkers CONTACT

NO 16 | JULY 2017

Iain has started his work in his new capacity diligently and has already shared the conclusions of his preliminary strategic findings with the A.Hak management. Together, they will build the plans for 2018 and beyond. We are confident that their efforts will contribute to a robust and adaptable A.Hak that provides excellent answers to ever-changing market conditions. What those market conditions will precisely look like in the years to come is impossible to predict. The editors of this A.Hak Magazine did however find various experts willing to share their vision on these developments. As the other articles in this edition will show, work on fascinating projects domestic and abroad does of course go on as well. We hope you enjoy ­reading this new edition of the A.Hak Magazine, and hereby cordially invite Iain Light to write the preface in the next edition.


Marco and Mariska van Geenhuizen MEMBERS OF THE SUPERVISORY BOARD

CONTENTS 09 Our new CEO: Iain Light On June 20th 2017, the A.Hak governance structure was expanded into a two-tier board model with a Supervisory Board and an ­Executive Board. Allow us to introduce our new CEO: Iain Light.



Reflecting on 2015 and 2016

Future perspectives

Régis Rivière, member of the Supervisory Board, reflects on a turbulent 2015 and 2016 to conclude that recovery is well underway and forecasts are looking good.

How should our industry approach the energy transition? What do digitalisation, network organisations and environment management have to do with that? In this section, five experts share their vision.

23 New work method Gasunie The new Forward Integration method changes how projects for gas giant Gasunie are prepared and executed. Marget Sneek explains how.

04 Preface 22 TAP well underway 26 IT to your doorstep with DSP 28 Humber project in the UK 28 New owner for Kaal Masten 29 A.Hak@work 30 Safe renovation

‘More efficiency, effectiveness and focus’ RECOVERY AFTER DIFFICULT YEARS


GENERAL a.hak magazine

After an eventful period, A.Hak moves on towards the future with confidence. 2015 was concluded with a substantial loss. In 2016 we achieved a small yet positive gross profit and in 2017 we expect to earn a reasonable net profit. Régis Rivière, who recently moved from the former Board of Director to the Supervisory Board, reflects on the past and looks forward to the future. TEXT Richard van Santen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde


égis Rivière became a member of the A.Hak board in 2016. His primary focus revolved around changing processes and procedures to improve the financial situation of the company. ‘And we succeeded in this mission’, he says. ‘In 2016, A.Hak recovered from the substantial loss with which we concluded 2015. This improvement is carrying on in the first half of 2017.’


Just as many other companies, A.Hak was affected by the crisis in the Oil & Gas industry that occurred in 2015. Exacerbating this effect was a number of incidental setbacks during large projects. Recently, news channels reported about these negative results. ‘And I understand that, as the loss was indeed substantial’, Régis explains, ‘although it does not mean that we actually lost 50 million euros on our projects. A considerable part of this loss was a matter of accounting. We had to depreciate on past projects and did not have the time to calmly negotiate during additional work consultations, as cash injections were welcomed. If that happens, settling and accepting the difference as a write-off is the logical thing to do.’ CUSTOMER-ORIENTED AND PROFESSIONAL

A.Hak recently implemented various measures to solve its ­financial challenges. ‘Cost control is of course a first aspect, but we also invested in further professionalising processes and procedures. Both during project execution and their financial settlement. One thing that makes A.Hak such a great company, is the involved staff that does everything they possibly can to properly complete projects. Whatever happens, A.Hak always strives to deliver the best possible quality on-time.

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RESULTS 2013-2017 (EBITDA) The numbers in this chart

50 40

represent our income before


deduction of interest, taxes,


depreciation on fixed assets


and amortisation of loans

0 -10

and goodwill (the so called


EBITDA). The profit over 2017


is an estimate based on the

-40 -50






We absolutely need to retain this culture, while simultaneously ensuring that these efforts are properly rewarded.’ ‘This is why we spent a great deal of attention on leaner project management. We will of course remain a customer-oriented company and service our customers to the best of our ability, but this also includes communicating professionally, and managing the change order adequately’, Rivière emphasises. EXCELLING IN WHAT WE’RE GOOD AT

‘We have also tightened our risk management. Prior to accepting a project, we now require more certainty about the risks involved and our expected returns. If the risks are insufficiently hedged, than it is probably not the right project for us.’ ‘We now start to reap the fruits of all these measures. At the same time, the market is improving as well. However, this does not mean that we can sit back and relax. The change process towards a more efficient and effective organisation has only just begun. Led by a new Executive Board, the company will set out a new course in the coming time, with a strong focus on our core business: taking on the projects in which we can add maximum value. Of course the joint A.Hak companies can achieve a great many things together, but if a competitor can do it better, faster or cheaper, a ‘no’ can be the best answer. This enables us to deploy our means targeted at where they can deliver the best work, and to have our people excel in their expertise. This approach helps us to service our customers in the best possible way.’


GENERAL a.hak magazine

2017 forecast and the actual results until now (YTD).


‘Many things are changing in the world around us as well. The Oil & Gas industry has recovered to some extent. A.Hak Pipelines & Facilities is busy with installing pipelines in Saudi Arabia, France, England and Albania, while A.Hak Industrial Services scored the largest inspection contract in its history in Saudi Arabia. Work in the domestic market for pipeline construction is expected not to return to its former quantity. The focus in this market is expected to shift towards residual heat and electricity. This presents A.Hak the opportunity of becoming less dependent on the Oil & Gas industry. Because of our extensive experience in the fields of electricity and residual heat, this shift also enables us to move further up in the value chain, by carrying out projects in which we can stay ahead of the competition and earn healthy profits, while acting more as a partner than a ­contractor and delivering the most added value to our customers.’

OUR NEW CEO: IAIN LIGHT Iain Light is the brand new CEO of A.Hak. He was appointed so recently that the editors of this magazine pulled the print order at the very last moment, so that it could include the news of his appointment. This will therefore be a brief introduction, while more in-depth insights in his plans and vision will follow. ‘It is too soon for that in any case’, says Light. ‘I recently shared my preliminary insights with the management of the various A.Hak companies. Once the holiday season is over, I look forward to continue to work with them on each company’s strategy.’

‘Strategy is not just about numbers’


o me, it is a great honour and responsibility to be entrusted with the daily leadership of A.Hak by the Van Geenhuizen family’, says Light. ‘Their leadership is what turned A.Hak into the highly reputable company it is today; a brand name that ­commands respect in the industries it serves. With this foundation as our baseline, I look forward to the further development of A.Hak. The future as I see it, is one of a robust company that is more adaptable to changing market conditions.’ ‘THERE IS NO WAY AROUND A.HAK’

‘I have worked in the inspection and certifying industry throughout my career, especially in the pipeline industry. In this market, A.Hak is simply too big a name to avoid. In my previous position as the CEO of Applus RTD, I ran into A.Hak Industrial Services as a competitor to be reckoned with in the field of inspections. While I was less aware of the work A.Hak does in the field of domestic infrastructure connections and distribution networks, I learned a great deal about these services in the past six months. ‘I got involved with A.Hak as a strategic advisor in February. The ­benefit of observing the organisation as an outsider for a while, is that it enabled me to form an objective perspective. The insights I gained in this period, will surely help me to determine the new strategy for the coming years.’ STRATEGIC WORKSHOPS

‘It is too early for me to publish these insights in this edition of the A.Hak Magazine, for various reasons. In my first month as CEO, I shared these findings with the management at A.Hak during strategic workshops. I asked them for their input to help build strategies for their specific companies. These strategies surely do not only revolve around financial objectives, as strategy is more than just numbers. Safety, quality, HRM and project management for instance, are equally important. Once everyone returns to the job re-energised after the summer holidays, we will build forward on the plans for 2018 and beyond. Once these are drafted, the Executive Board will submit them for approval to the Supervisory Board. In the meantime, I will endeavour to build good and lasting relations with the two primary audiences of this magazine: the staff members at A.Hak and our business contacts all across the globe.’

a.hak magazine



Look beyond the sole use of electricity Chris Hellinga

Dare to collaborate Jacqueline Cramer

Intertwine internal and external knowledge Vareska van de Vrande

Support the customer and the chain with data Sanne de Graaf

Never neglect the environment around you Ilkel Taner


What are the implications of the declining role of fossil fuels to our industry? What are the alternative fuels and resources? How will existing organisations develop new solutions and business models? Where do they find the experts with the right knowledge? What is the role of digitalisation? And how do we involve the stakeholders around us? Questions for the future? Or has that future already begun? Five experts share their opinions.


SPECIAL a.hak magazine

Is sustainable and decentralised generated electricity the alternative for fossil fuels? Perhaps so, but according to Chris Hellinga of the Technical University in Delft, we must keep an open mind to other, additional solutions. He calls for hydrogen being used as an energy carrier and as a basis for raw materials. TEXT Richard van Santen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde

Energy transition


esidential areas and entire cities massively disconnect from gas to harvest electricity with solar panels for heating, equipment and recharging electric cars. For this future vision to come true, an utter revolution is required, with corresponding investments. Although nearly everyone agrees that these considerable investments are required to limit global warming, the revolution itself is not gaining traction at an enormous pace.


‘Economic interests play an important part in that’, says Chris Hellinga, Program Manager Sustainability at the globally renowned technical university in Delft. ‘The parties who can enable this transition, require secure investments and forecasts we can all rely upon. We tend to look too much to our electricity requirement and the transition from central to decentralised energy generation, while forgetting that our future demand for fuels and raw materials will remain enormous.’ ‘An estimate of 20% of our current global energy need is fulfilled with electricity. If everyone would buy electric cars and we install a great many heat pumps, that would put us at 40% halfway in this century. In North-western Europe, it won’t be easy to harvest sufficient amounts of electricity with just wind and solar energy. Decentral energy generation with solar panels on our rooftops – that hardly contribute in winter – will certainly not be enough. Large wind and solar farms at the right locations, for instance at sea or in the desert, are therefore a necessity.’

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‘We also need to add other energy carriers to our options’


Then there’s the fact that the world will never entirely operate on electricity. ‘At this very moment we certainly don’t see any real solutions to have air traffic, the shipping industry and heavy transport use electricity over long distances’, says Hellinga. ‘And that’s not just about fuel, we’ll also need raw materials, for the chemical industry for instance. This need cannot be met with the energy grid, as those are molecules rather than electrons.’ Does this mean we’re stuck with fossil fuels and raw materials that will continue to emit way too much carbon? ‘We can’t let that happen. Hydrogen would be a sustainable solution, as it can be used both for fuel and the production of raw materials and liquid fuels. In addition to hydrogen, the C-atom (carbon) is also required. Bio mass contains this. We need to use bio mass primarily to create those fuels and raw materials together with hydrogen.’


SPECIAL a.hak magazine


‘Water and electricity are needed to create hydrogen. That’s electricity beyond the 40% already required. If that electricity is sustainably harvested with wind farms at sea, then water is also directly available. You might compare it to offshore oil platforms, except they don’t extract oil, but create hydrogen. Large tankers can then transport the hydrogen to, for instance, the Port of Rotterdam, where it can be converted into other molecules as well.’ The concept that the energy transition renders the current energy infrastructure useless per se, looks different adjusted by these thoughts. ‘We will always need fuels and raw materials and to get them to their destination, we’ll also continue to need a transport and distribution infrastructure. That’s not going to be easy, as hydrogen molecules are so tiny they want to sneak through pretty much anything, including pipeline walls. It does however look like it’s possible to solve that with coating and relining. This would mean that we could use the existing natural gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen. It also seems possible to use salt domes to store hydrogen in.’

CHRIS HELLINGA Technical University Delft

Ir. Chris Hellinga is the Sustainability Program Manager at the Technical University in Delft. Since 2005 he is also involved in the Delft Energy Initiative as a scientific advisor. Hellinga played a role in founding various national energy initiatives, including the Dutch Research Platform Sustainable Energy supply (NODE) and Advanced Dutch Energy Materials (ADEM).


Does Hellinga regard hydrogen as the sole solution to iron out the issues of the energy transition? ‘Certainly not. The North Sea has all the potential it needs to become an absolute powerhouse in sustainably harvested energy. We must also severely increase our usage of solar energy. Yet, we should not let tunnel vision blind us to only look at electricity, as this will only meet less than half of our future energy demand. We need to add sustainable energy carriers to our options. And if we do so smartly, it immediately relieves part of the pressure on our societal electricity need.’ ‘In addition to residual heat and geothermal heat, hydrogen has many benefits. Various industries are working hard to create affordable hydrogen-powered cars. To refill your car, you could simply stop at a gas station and fill your tank in the same time you now spend on diesel and petrol, while electric cars take much longer to recharge. Hydrogen is also more easily kept in stock and can be transported in more or less traditional ways. This means you can generate this energy at the most efficient location and then take it into urban areas later.’ CLIMATE OBJECTIVES

‘Once it proves actually possible – and safe – to use the existing infrastructure for this purpose, the transition towards residential areas and cities without natural gas connections can be made much faster and with lower costs’, Hellinga concludes. ‘It would prevent costly investments of insulating buildings, which is required for an efficient deployment of water pumps, to make them carbon neutral. ‘Cutting off the gas’ would be an inappropriate phrase, but ‘cutting off the natural gas’ might be more accurate. We must however be careful with the existing natural gas infrastructure, as time might well prove we’ll need it for a long time to come. A choice for hydrogen may just offer us the certainty and confidence we need to accelerate our path towards attaining our climate objectives.’

a.hak magazine



‘You need to get out of your comfort zone and take a new path’ TEXT Hannah Jansen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde

Endeavouring towards a sustainable economy while still making a profit, how should companies approach this? Who grants the orders and who carries them out? Who can send an invoice and who must invest? Although these questions cannot be answered simply, Professor in Sustainable Innovations Jacqueline Cramer is sure about one thing: ‘Collaborations will be key. No party can make it on its own.’


SPECIAL a.hak magazine

Sustainable collaborations


he impression that sustainability is just an expense, is entirely rejected by Ms. Cramer. ‘The era of a perception in which only a ‘green’ minority advocated sustainability is over. From a business perspective, sustainability is gaining economic traction. To enable the energy transition and earn a profit at the same time, parties will have to collaborate in new ways.’ This collaboration requires all corporations and institutions in the ­delivery chain to think differently. ‘If everyone limits their thoughts to the best revenue models, it simply will not work’, says Cramer. TAKING NEW PATHS

The construction industry is one example where she believes a different ­division in costs and revenue is required. For instance, a sustainable demolition model for houses, in which materials are re-used as much as possible, takes more time and is more expensive than traditional demolition methods. However, the residual materials harvested earn more when offered for ­recycling, while the extra hours provide for more employment. This will only work when the demolition and construction companies devise solutions prior to starting the project, in which they divide the costs and profits of their share in the chain. ‘To accomplish this, they need to get out of their comfort zone and take a new path. An intermediary who takes the lead may help to prevent both parties from taking a hesitant approach. The government might be that intermediary, but third parties may do it as well.’

JACQUELINE CRAMER University of Utrecht Utrecht Sustainability Institute

Jacqueline Cramer is a part-time Professor in the field of Sustainability since 1990 at various universities. Furthermore, she works as a consultant in the field of sustainable innovations and as an ambassador for the circular economy in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. Between 2007 and 2010 she was the Dutch Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning & Environment.


Jacqueline Cramer is such an intermediary as the ambassador for the ­Circular Economy in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. In this ­capacity, she was involved in the construction of the sustainable district heating ­network in which A.Hak also participated. What tips can she give A.Hak to continue to play a part in the sustainable economy? ‘First of all, use your current dominant market position to show you can significantly contribute to the sustainable economy as well’, says Cramer. For A.Hak that means, amongst others, showcasing that the experience with constructing gas pipelines is highly valuable for the construction of district heating pipelines. ‘Second, it is highly recommendable to keep a close eye on industry areas that are rapidly gaining traction and for which you do not want to be late for and miss the show.’ USE YOUR OWN POSITION OF STRENGTH

‘Stay aware that you cannot do it alone, and everyone is exploring new paths simultaneously. This requires a daring approach. Look at how successful joint ventures operate and learn. Use your own position of strength as a departure point, and conquer a new position as a leader or participant in joint ventures. While a disadvantage of a joint venture is the requirement to invest in a network, its significant benefit is their continuity; you’re stuck together for quite some time and will have to make the best of it. Each participant is critical in that mission. And, the fact of the matter is: if you don’t join now, you’ll simply be too late. Sustainability is already a solid requirement in the majority of tenders.’

a.hak magazine



The transition towards a sustainable economy requires innovative solutions. Which expertise is required in that respect? And how do companies find the people with the right knowledge? To answer these questions, we need to look at our internal organisations, says Vareska van de Vrande, Professor Collaborative Innovation and Business Venturing at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). TEXT Hannah Jansen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde

Network organisation


alf a century ago, everything was very clear’, says Van de Vrande. ‘Enormous corporations like IBM, where staff members worked their entire life, ruled the economy. This changed at the end of the century. Globalisation, improved academic research and new start-ups being financed by venture capitalists started to expand rapidly. The R&D departments of large corporations simply couldn’t keep up with all new developments, and were required to import knowledge.’


‘The preferences of staff members have also changed. Especially the ­younger generation that now enters the labour market, often finds that self-development and accountability for their own work are more important than a steady job until their retirement. They are more flexible and mobile, and therefore switch jobs much easier.’ Finding and binding new staff ­members with the right skill set has always been challenging to employers, but now became much more complex.


SPECIAL a.hak magazine

‘No company is currently able to know it all’


Networking is one solution, according to Van de Vrande. ‘The key is to find the perfect combination of know-how within your own organisation, supplemented with external expertise. This helps to build a network of partners with whom you can collaborate to answer industry demands.’ But how do we collaborate with companies that might have the right knowledge, but also an entirely different culture? ‘A good personal relation is the foundation’, says Van de Vrande. ‘Make sure to invest in trust and communicate well, especially if something goes wrong. Also make sure to make proper agreements about what everyone contributes and how profits are shared. Mistakes are often made in that realm. It also helps if companies have a joint objective. It cements collaborations, even when company cultures are entirely different.’ DO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT

‘Consider partners in your own industry, but also in other industries, and make sure you’re very much aware of how that industry works. Do not ­forget that your own company is an excellent networking partner for others as well. Focus on what you’re good at, and show it as well. With this approach, networking is not a sales effort or marketing task, but hardcore business.’

VARESKA VAN DER VRANDE Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Management

Vareska van de Vrande is Professor Collaborative Innovation and Business Venturing at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Vareska works at RSM since 2007 since obtaining her PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management Science at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

a.hak magazine



TEXT Richard van Santen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde

If web shops are able to tell us exactly when our online orders are being delivered, then why can’t we do the same for domestic connections for gas, water and electricity? Sanne de Graaf works at grid operator Alliander. She ­explains how digitalisation enables further process improvements throughout delivery chains.



ince the general public gained access to personal computers, digitalisation exploded in just a few decades. The amount of information stored digitally increased from only 1% in the late eighties, to 99% in 2014. ‘Digitalisation is one of the pillars to turn corporate strategies into reality’, says Sanne de Graaf, Connections Manager for the eastern and northern Netherlands at grid operator Alliander. ‘It offers countless opportunities, both for increased network management and increasing convenience for customers. At the same time, the digitalised society also expects quite a lot.’


‘If consumers place an order at a web shop, they receive a track & trace code that enables them to track their order up to their doorstep. Below that surface lies an entire delivery chain. From the warehouse to a distribution centre to the shipping company. All links in that chain exchange information. If that same consumer subscribes for a domestic gas, water and electricity connection, he comes to expect the same level of infor­ mation. This customer expectation fits well with our long-term strategy in which customer convenience and data-driven grid management are key pillars. That’s in addition to operational excellence: our objective of improving a little bit every single day. EVERYBODY WINS

‘Just like in the web shop example, grid operators also do not operate by themselves. To offer our customers more convenience, our entire chain must come together to calibrate their processes and information streams. This translates into close collaborations with a large number of entities such as municipalities, construction companies and contractors like A.Hak that create the physical connections. To optimally benefit from the opportunities created by digitalisation, we need to interconnect our IT systems and jointly work towards standardising our processes.’ ‘In addition to customer convenience, this chain collaboration offers much more benefits. By digitally sharing information on the Digital Collaborative Platform, we reduce the margin of error, complete our work faster and schedule and deploy both people and resources more efficiently while verifying each other’s work better as well’, says De Graaf. ‘This requires a joint investment, but ultimately it’s the entire chain who stands to benefit from it.’ (Editor’s note: Read more about this so called Digital Collaborative Platform on page 26 of this magazine.) DATA-DRIVEN GRID MANAGEMENT

Digitalisation also helps grid operator Alliander with another strategic ­focal point: data-driven grid management. ‘Smart meters and other ­sensors that monitor the usage and burden on the energy grid provide us with loads of information. With this data, that is stored digitally and anonymously, we can quickly solve any network faults. By analysing the data, we also discover patterns and similar events taking place prior to a ­network malfunction. Digitalisation therefore also contributes in this respect and helps us to keep improving every day.’


SPECIAL a.hak magazine

‘Digitalisation breeds chances and expec­tations’


Sanne de Graaf is the Connections Manager for the eastern and northern Netherlands at grid operator Alliander. Their corporation distributes energy, electricity, (bio)gas and heat to a large percentage of Dutch households and businesses.

a.hak magazine



TEXT Hannah Jansen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde

‘Projects progress so much more smoothly if local contacts are good’, says Ilkel Taner, Environment Manager at Rijkswaterstaat. ‘That only happens though, if organisations think properly about environment management and the role of an Environment Manager.’

Environmental management


fter obtaining her bachelor in civil engineering and gaining work experience in the Port of Rotterdam, Ilkel Taner started working at the Dutch governmental Road & Waterway authority, Rijkswaterstaat, in 2000. In 2006, she consciously chose to become an Environment Manager. ‘Our organisation had just implemented IPM (Integrated Project Management), in which projects are led by integrated teams consisting of a Project Manager, a Project Controller, a Technical Manager, a Contract Manager and an ­Environment Manager. The latter role immediately resonated with me due to its interaction between technical aspects and human stakeholders.’


One of the reasons for implementing IPM, was that the Road & Water authority was considered by many to operate non-transparently. Project managers were too powerful and budgets were regularly exceeded. ‘Environment Managers involve the stakeholders in our projects. This became even more important in the past decade’, says Taner. ‘Our organisation is involved in increasingly complex projects, while local stakeholders are becoming more outspoken. Society simply would no longer accept us not involving them in our projects.’ ‘Early on we seemed like the end station of the project organisation. Tasks that couldn’t be completed elsewhere, were left up to us. That changed entirely once it became clear that environment management really contributes to the results. Today, the Environment Manager is a full member of the project management team. This official is responsible for external and internal communication in addition to permit procedures for excavations, cables and pipelines and environment, and traffic and mobility management. Projects progress so much more smoothly when local contacts are excellent. And failure costs are significantly reduced, partly because the number of lawsuits decreases.’ PROFESSIONALISATION

No matter how much effort an Environment Manager puts in, there will always be some resistance left. ‘And that’s only logical for projects that have a serious impact on people’s mobility and living environment.’, says Ilkel. ‘Acknowledging objections you cannot solve already makes a difference, by listening and being emphatic, while staying honest if there’s something you cannot solve.’ Taking environment management seriously is also Ilkel’s most important advice to companies involved with the infrastructural projects. ‘Just leaving a note in the mailbox won’t cut it. The entire organisation must be highly aware of the importance of environment management, while the position of Environment Manager is not a part-time job, but requires dedicated focus. Company leadership should not hesitate to professionalise this position in their company, if not for the results, then because environment management is becoming increasingly more important in the quantitative selection criteria within tenders.’ THE NEXT STEP

In the meantime, the Road & Water Authority is shifting its focus once more: from project-related to area-related and strategic environment management. ‘We actively enter into more partnerships with our stakeholders. The challenge is always to find a common interest and keep the focus on that interest for longer periods of time.’


SPECIAL a.hak magazine

‘Just leaving a note in the mailbox won’t cut it’ ILKEL TANER Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Road & Water authority)

As a graduate in civil engineering with work experience in the Port of Rotterdam, Ilkel Taner joined Dutch Road & Water authority Rijkswaterstaat in 2000. Six years later, she became an Environment Manager. In this capacity, she proved the importance of this position during a major tunnel renovation.

a.hak magazine



Joining forces in Albania As key partner for pipeline contractor Spiecapag, A.Hak assists in the construction of a 215 km gas transport pipeline in Albania, as part of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The work in mountainous area is progressing well. Over 85 km of the pipeline has already been constructed. More than a year ago, we announced the involvement of A.Hak in the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). This gas transport pipeline begins at the Turkish-Greek border, where it joins the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP). From there it goes onshore to the coast of Albania, to continue to the Adriatic coast in Italy with an offshore pipeline. SWIFTLY AND SAFELY

Together with Spiecapag, A.Hak International constructs the Albanian segment of the 48" pipeline. This part of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is 215 km long, about a quarter of the total length of 878 km. Based on kilometres, this project is the largest international project currently being carried out by A.Hak International. The work is progressing well. After one year of construction of this megaproject, the TAP organization announced that 22% of the pipes in Greece and Albania are constructed. In Albania the percentage is even higher. About 85 of the 215 km has already been constructed, including two horizontal directional drillings. TAP further states that the number of incidents involving


OIL & GAS a.hak magazine

lost-time incidents or LTIs remains far below international standards. BLASTING AND CABLE CRANES

These safety statistics are good for Spiecapag and A.Hak. The two companies complement each other and have worked together for many years in France for client GRTgaz. Their joint experience was one of the drivers for the decision to join forces in Albania as well. In addition, A.Hak already has a track-record in this country. We constructed oil pipelines in Fier and renovated the ­drinking water network of the city of Vlorë. Work on the TAP pipeline is not without challenges. The route comprises a large number of river crossings as well as mountainous terrain with steep slopes of up to 30%. Therefore, later in the project, cable cranes will be used to transport the pipe segments to higher altitudes. Because the surface is rock in many places, blasting will be required. INFRASTRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS

The Albanian infrastructure is not always suitable for transporting pipe segments and heavy equipment. Prior to the work, the client has already improved many roads, and strengthened or rebuilt bridges. During the work, Spiecapag with key partner A.Hak ­International will make another 120 km of access routes suitable for transportation. The local population benefits from these ­efforts. The construction works on the ­pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

The introduction of Forward Integration for Contractors (abbreviated in Dutch as VIA), changes the way in which projects for Dutch gas giant Gasunie are carried out. As of April 1st 2017, Margret Sneek is the new implementation manager who will guide the transition to this new work method. Not from a distance in a separate department, but right ­in-between all fields of expertise.

TEXT Richard van Santen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde


‘We build bridges’

argret Sneek has known A.Hak for much longer. In positions at Nacap and Koop Dewatering Services, the Gas & Petrol higher technical school graduate encountered A.Hak repeatedly. One of these projects was the major pipeline construction at the Beverwijk-Wijngaarden route for Gasunie. Her knowledge and experience in the field of dewatering and managing excess ground water during construction work, seems like a logical preparation for her current role. ‘To properly plan and coordinate dewatering work, one is expected to be aware of all other fields of expertise and their coherence. Especially during the complex Beverwijk-Wijngaarden project, this very much proved to be true. Your own responsibility for dewatering means you’re always searching for ways to cooperate and align with all other disciplines in the entire project chain.’


The most significant change VIA will cause in the cooperation between Gasunie and its contractors is that contractors will be responsible for environment management (permits in particular), detailed engineering and the actual execution of all construction tasks. Contractors can prepare and schedule more accurately, while Gasunie benefits by entrusting the entire project to a single contractor. Switching to this new work method implies a learning curve for both the customer and the contractor. The contractors selected by Gasunie in a framework agreement will coordinate this process with a VIA team and an implementation manager.

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Gas giant Gasunie’s new work method is already being used out in the field, while relocating multiple gas pipelines adjacent to new road. This new road will relieve traditional motorway bottlenecks at highways near Leyden. As with many projects, changing the aboveground infrastructure requires working on the underground infrastructure as well. The new work method’s metaphor ‘building bridges’ is taken quite literally on this photograph. It shows how building solid temporary infrastructure is part of such a project.


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‘This VIA team should be regarded as a project team, rather than a separate department’, Margret explains. ‘The implementation of VIA contains all typical project phases: a start-up, a peak and an end. This new work method must be fully implemented on January 1st 2019.’ To maintain manageability and transparency for the larger responsibility granted to the contractor, procedures and quality systems become more important. In the start-up phase of the VIA implementation, much time is therefore spent on the quality of these systems and their interdependence. MASTER PLAN AND PROJECT PLAN

‘At A.Hak Pipelines & Facilities, the internal ­organisation from cost calculation to project ­execution, but also QHSE and HRM will use this new work method’, Margret continues. ‘The VIA work method requires those involved to communicate well and collaborate with other fields of expertise, both inside the own company and ­externally. HRM will therefore select staff members based on different abilities. This also has an effect on how performance reviews and career planning take place.’ Once the general quality systems are well organised, the next step is to smoothly align all procedures. ‘We build bridges, both internally and externally. With the customer, suppliers, subcontractors and the ­environment. The VIA supports us in this task, while we also draw on the knowledge and ­expertise available within our own organisation. We work with a M ­ aster Plan, a blueprint for the ideal work m ­ ethod, which we customise for each specific project. By continuously aligning the project plan and the Master Plan, we ­improve ­individual project plans, while continuously fine-tuning our Master Plan.’ PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE

While VIA is a new work method, A.Hak does not start from scratch with the concept of ­integrated project approaches. ‘I see many

similarities with the work method we used for ­constructing the major gas transport pipeline at the Beverwijk-Wijngaarden route. As the soil and ground water conditions for this project were so complex, we came together with all parties involved to create an integrated water team. This enabled us to gather input from all fields of expertise to create an ideal planning. CURRENT VIA PROJECTS

Actual projects being carried out with the VIA work method include pipeline work at the Aartswoud – Heerhugowaard trajectory, and a pipeline relocation project in South-Holland. ‘On an individual project level, we notice that each project has a slightly different ‘touch’ of VIA. We strive towards a uniform approach, but do acknowledge that specific circumstances require specific solutions. In a broader sense, we see that building bridges is becoming more established by having regular meetings and regular VIA repeat events. These contacts take place between the VIA support team and the project teams, and between the project teams working on VIA projects and the individual departments contributing to these projects, such as work planning and executive departments. All events that pop up during these contacts are registered as input for the Master Plan. And if we identify events occurring more frequently, we host workshops for participants from different fields of expertise. ‘ IN BOTH OUR BENEFIT

The introduction of VIA is quite demanding, but also has significant benefits. Not only for the cooperation with Gasunie. ‘We apply this knowledge in our benefit in more than one way’, says Margret, ‘as these project experiences also help to improve the general work methods at A.Hak Pipelines & Facilities. And A.Hak is of course more than just P&F – A.Hak Industrial for instance also regularly works for Gasunie – this is also valuable to the other companies in our group.’

Margret Sneek: ‘We build bridges, in our own ­organisation and with our customers, suppliers, ­subcontractors and other stakeholders.

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Having the right information available at any moment and any location is a prerequisite for success. The IT and Information Management (IT/IM) Department at A.Hak contributes to this facet with up-to-date and properly secured systems. These systems also enable A.Hak to swiftly exchange information with external partners, as was proven during the development of the Digital Collaborative Platform of the national grid operators. TEXT Richard van Santen PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde


‘Bringing IT to your doorstep’ E

ver since he was appointed as the manager of the corporate IT/IM Department in 2012, Catrinus van der Leest has worked on modernising the IT systems at A.Hak. He explains: ‘Our strategy is focused on fulfilling the information need of the A.Hak staff members with as little individual software systems as possible. Our foundation is a predetermined primary architecture that helps us maintain clear overviews and prevent an uncontrolled growth of overlapping and superfluous systems. This help us to save costs, but more importantly it becomes easier to interconnect software solutions and enable them to communicate with one another.’


As a company with branch offices in a multitude of countries, a great deal of communication takes place online. Securing sensitive information is our very first requirement. ‘And that’s what we do’, explains Project Manager and Process Consultant Arjan Ribberink. ‘Each aspect of our information security meets stringent criteria. Since last year, our ISO 27001 certification is testimony of that fact. We take pride in obtaining this certificate, while it must be pleasant for our customers to know that the digital infrastructure for our corporate processes and its associated IT environment is on lockdown and works excellently. Our strategy of maintaining an interconnected network with modern systems that can be easily linked to both internal and external systems, this also facilitates collaborations with external partners.’


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An excellent example is the development of the Digital Collaborative Platform (abbreviated in Dutch as DSP). This platform is designed as the standard for Dutch grid operators, contributing to making the process of providing homes with infrastructure for gas, water, electricity and communication as efficiently and transparent as possible. It’s the consumer who benefits, as applying for domestic connections becomes much easier while progress can be monitored online. All parties involved in the chain also stand to benefit: local municipalities, contractors, grid operators and companies like A.Hak installing the connec-

tions. By improving how we collaborate through DSP, they can deliver better quality against lower costs. ‘DSP is not a platform where chain partners must retrieve ­information from, but one that enables their existing IT solutions to communicate with one another’, Ribberink explains. ‘The processes that required to create a new connection, are all standardised from the first application up to the final delivery. In DSP, the partners exchange information with a large variety of individual notifications. Our customer Alliander is one of the grid operators that became an early adapter in the development of DSP. In a solid collaboration, our department contri­ buted significantly to standardising all DSP messages.’

Always having access to accurate


and up-to-date information, helps

This may sound abstract, but examples speak to the imagination. ‘Grid operators issue orders with an order message. The contractor sends out a planning notification and once work is completed a completion notification is also sent’, Ribberink explains. ‘That all used to be done in writing, and both sides had departments to distribute the information within their organisation. Now, communication is done in the DSP cloud environment, that distributes it to all connected systems, such as our ERP system for scheduling deployments of people and equipment.’

project teams achieve better results with a proper exchange of information.

‘DSP is a development we ­certainly want to be a part of’ ‘Perhaps an even more interesting aspect is that all information is also sent to the on-site technician’s tablet’, adds Van der Leest. ‘This means he has all up-to-date detailed order information available when he rings the doorbell at the customer’s home. Once work is completed, he indicates his tasks on the tablet, makes photos if need be and updates the order status to completed. This way, the entire process is made quicker, more customer-oriented and the chances of human error are reduced. DSP literally takes IT to the customer’s doorstep.’ ‘YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS’

Van der Leest takes pride in the role of his department in ­creating DSP. ‘If you’re working with obsolete software, ­interconnecting anything is quite hard. By having timely ­invested in a long-term strategy, we possessed the right ­modern solutions that are easy to connect to such a platform. As DSP is becoming the national standard, this is a development we certainly want to be a part of as a contractor. After all, it’s easy to miss out if you’re not up-to-date.’

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TBM for Humber project delivered

New owner for Kaal Masten

In a joint venture with Skanska and PORR Bau GmbH, A.Hak is well underway with the construction of a new 42" high pressure gas pipeline. Under the River Humber, at the eastern coast of England, a five ­kilometre pipeline will be installed in a pipeline tunnel. This is the longest pipeline installed anywhere as a single string.

On July 5th 2017, the VDL Groep purchased all Kaal Masten shares from A.Hak. Part of the revised A.Hak strategy is an increased focus on core activities.

For customer National Grid, this project is of ­critical importance: some twenty percent of their domestic gas volume will pass this pipeline annually once operational. Proper soil surveys and solid engineering work determined the required specifications of all tunnel elements and the TBM (tunnel boring ­machine). This data was needed to order the right TBM. As this is an EPC contract, we are responsible for Engineering and Construction, but also for Procurement. The TBM was ordered at German firm Herrenknecht and while this magazine is being written, is being prepared for shipment. The photograph above shows how final testing in Germany takes place; the so called Factory Acceptance Test (FAT). After hardening the soil at the project terrain, the entry shaft will be created so that tunnel ­construction may begin. Drilling will start after the summer, as a next milestone towards the early 2020 deadline for transferring the tunnel and all corresponding documentation to National Grid.


IN SHORT a.hak magazine

As these primarily revolve around underground ­infrastructure, Kaal Masten was found to have more opportunity to flourish in an organisation closer to its core business. The VDL Groep proved to be an ideal match, as this international family company with nearly 15,000 staff members looks to expand its position in column and mast construction. This organisation manufactures buses, assembles, develops, manufactures and sells semi-assembled goods and more. All staff members at Kaal Masten will retain their contacts as part of this transition. ‘Kaal Masten is a great addition to the VDL Groep portfolio’, says President Willem van der Leegte on behalf of the VDL Group. “We foresee synergy benefits with other VDL entities, for instance with VDL KIT in Belgium. This entity manufactures heavier masts for customers in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry.’ Iain Light, the new CEO at A.Hak is also pleased about this transition. ‘Kaal Masten is an excellent company that delivers sustainable, highend p ­ roducts. With the VDL Groep, we found a partner that will invest in its further growth and development.’

Egon Teunissen (A.Hak Infranet) with ‘his’ students

Towards sustainable employability Research is underway at A.Hak Infranet. Its objective is to map work processes and job roles. One organisational interest these results will satisfy, is obtaining better insights in job role specifics to accommodate job reintegration. Absenteeism is difficult for all parties involved. Difficult for staff members who cannot carry out their work due to health complaints, and for the employer who misses his staff members and must pay increasing absenteeism costs. A successful reintegration, during which recovering staff members may carry out work appropriate to their temporary capabilities, is an important step on the way to returning to the job. Or, if that proves impossible, to a suitable alternative position. In a large organisation like A.Hak, there are laws of supply and demand. While one company searches

for a position to reintegrate a recovering staff member, another team might be looking for (temporary) reinforcement. A.Hak@work connects this supply and demand. A prerequisite of that is in-depth job role information. For instance, could a foreman at an A.Hak company easily support another A.Hak company in a similar capacity, or do these positions vary too much between companies? A team of students at the HAN University carried out a pilot survey at A.Hak Infranet. The reasoning for the foreman example, is to ask: what does a foreman in one company do, and how does this relate to the positions of the people with whom he works together? The overview this creates, helps our organisation to find suitable (temporary) positions for returning staff members, while also offering opportunities to those with a distance to the labour market.

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A new bicycle tunnel is being constructed under a busy local road in the Dutch municipality Doetinchem. As the road itself will also be widened in the coming years, reconstructing various underground cables and pipelines is required. As the soil at this site is contaminated, a multi-facetted contractor with the right certifications is needed. PHOTOGRAPHY Maarten van der Voorde


Multifacetted reconstruction


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efore the new tunnel can be built under this local road, the reconstruction of existing underground infrastructure must be completed. This busy underground location is home to many transport and distribution pipelines for drinking water, medium and low voltage electricity cables, and telecommunications cables owned by various corporations. A.Hak Infranet knows its way around these complex settings, and was therefore granted the order for the entire reconstruction.


‘For this project, applying our expertise with working in contaminated soil also proved necessary’, explains the Superintendent at A.Hak Infranet, Dennis de Bruin. ‘Our customer performed a soil survey prior to this project, which showed that it contains too much arsenic compounds. As this substance naturally occurs here, we will not ­remediate it, but a contractor who works in this type of earth must certainly possess the right knowledge about working in contaminated soil. Our BRL 7000 certification serves as proof of our expertise in this field.’ These more stringent requirements do add ­complexity to the work, in particular the Health & Safety plan. Dennis names some examples: ‘Everyone who enters the contaminated zone,

‘Our BRL-7000 certificate offers the right guarantees for this project’ must have successfully passed a medical examination. An expert supervisor must continuously be present at the worksite to register log entries into a journal and see to it that all measures in the Health & Safety plan are correctly executed. Our Foreman Dick Gesink is this expert.’ DECONTAMINATION UNIT

Everyone who enters or leaves the contaminated zone, does so through a special decontamination unit where staff members wash themselves and change their clothing. Furthermore, the entire project site is demarcated with fencing and all excavated soil is covered with foil to prevent the hazardous substance from spreading.

Combined projects are already quite complex without contaminated soil, as many different parties are involved who must all exchange information. ‘In this case we’re talking about the local municipality, REEF Infra as the contractor constructing the tunnel, and all utility providers’, the Superintendent explains. ‘All information is exchanged digitally. About eight weeks prior to commencing the work, all parties submitted their design drawings which A.Hak used to determine the scheduling and preliminary cost engineering. Once a mutual evaluation is completed and approved, A.Hak receives the digital order files. The Work Planner at A.Hak has merged all this information to create an execution folder that is available for inspection and can be updated during the work. Before the project is executed, all information is d ­ iscussed with the Supervisor, in this case Sjoerd Plagman.’ To enable a proper work execution, without causing nuisance to local traffic, REEF Infra created a bypass in the traffic lane. To cross a number of obstacles, both a horizontal directional drilling and multiple impact ramming sub-projects are part of this project. Once all the new trajectories are installed and ­interconnected, A.Hak Infranet will clear the old cables and pipelines.

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‘Being entrusted daily leadership of A.Hak is an honour and a great ­responsibility’ SAYS THE NEW CEO


Relocating gas pipelines at the Rhineland trajectory for Gasunie

‘Under the guidance of the Van Geenhuizen family, A.Hak became a highly reputable and renowned company. To have been entrusted by them with the task of leading this company, is an honour and a great responsibility. A.Hak is a powerful brand that commands respect in the industries it services. With this strong foundation as our joint departure point, I look forward to leading the further development of our organisation. The future as I see it, is one of a robust company that is more adaptable to changing market conditions.’ ‘In my first month as CEO, several strategic workshops were hosted with the management and staff members of the various A.Hak companies. Here I shared my preliminary insights. I do look forward to continue to work with them to refine our plans for 2018 and beyond.’

Iain Light CEO A.HAK

Read the full article on page 9 of this magazine.

A.Hak Magazine #16 Summer 2017  

A.Hak Magazine is a publication for employees, customers and partners of A.Hak, the Dutch specialist in the field of design, construction an...

A.Hak Magazine #16 Summer 2017  

A.Hak Magazine is a publication for employees, customers and partners of A.Hak, the Dutch specialist in the field of design, construction an...