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In Amsterdam, the spectacular new headquarters of is rising on the Oosterdokseiland. Located next to Amsterdam Central Station and diagonally opposite the striking NEMO Science Museum, the complicated design by architectural firm UN-Studio is an achievement in itself. Construction at this special location is an organizational challenge in which contractor Züblin faces many challenges, as we saw during a visit to this project.

By Ed den Boer, founder of the National BIM Platform

Many parties are involved with the design and construction of this project. During this visit in July 2020, led by John Janssen of construction company Züblin and Roy van der Velden of BIMlink, supplier of the cloud platform on which the complete building file was used, the scope of the project became clear. This mega project clearly can be described as un-Dutch. It belongs to the top of global designs.

Construction began in 2018 with the digging of the excavation pit in which 1,100 piles were driven. They ensure the solid foundation of this campus, which will measure 72,500 m2. The building will use 51,000 m3 of concrete, 6,000 tons of steel structures, 40,000 meters of pipes and 100,000 meters of cable (230V). If all goes well, about 6,000 people will work in the offices after completion. Anyone who sees the project on paper can hardly imagine it’s eventual size.


At the start of construction in 2018, contractor Züblin calculated that this monstrous job could be completed in three years. An average of 450 people on the construction site who should need 2.3 million man hours for this accomplishment. Due to complexity and additions to the assignment, the planned delivery date has been postponed to 2022.


Design, work preparation and execution

The design of the Campus is by Ben van Berkel of UN-studio and its construction has been awarded to Züblin, who previously built a mega project with ‘De Rotterdam’ in Rotterdam. John Janssen: “The Campus has a lot more organizational and other challenges because no floor or level are identical. Architecturally many new possibilities have also been used that we must construct in a safe manner. Regarding the sustainability, attention is paid to the maximum as we are working on the BREEAM Excellent certificate, the highest achievable sustainability level for new construction projects”, Janssen says.


In order to properly supervise the building processes, a large team is working on both work preparation and construction. Many agreements must be checked and recorded. For this, the data platform BIMlink is used. Janssen: “Based on my previous experience during the construction of ‘De Rotterdam’, we use BIMlink. We are very satisfied with the quality, control and findability of the information and data supplied in that process. The tools are in the cloud, which means that project partners have structured access to all the required data of the project during the entire life cycle of a project, both during construction and later in the management process. ”


Roy van der Velden has developed cloud platform BIMlink together with his team, using the experiences with the Rotterdam. BIMlink is a platform where all data is linked to a 3D BIM model. In order to be able to connect and access this data in a smart way, the necessary agreements are recorded in predetermined workflows. “For most processes, those processes are already ‘pre-mapped’ and can be used immediately”, says Van der Velden. “But every project is unique and therefore every process can be easily adapted.”

More about workflows 


Using BIMlink gives Janssen van Züblin the confidence that the project can be built in a controlled and validated manner. “Information can be traced and found in the model and agreements are clear to every party that cooperates in the process. And as you can see, there are quite a few of them ”, he laughs. “We are very satisfied with BIMlink so we’d like to use it on subsequent (international) projects.”


When the Campus is finalized, the role of BIMlink will not be finished yet. “All the data required for the technical and facility management of the complex can be accessed via BIMlink”, says Van der Velden. “Information about all used objects is stored in the model and can be easily found by the owners.”

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