Auteur: Erik van den Hurk
How it works on the inside
Three times we have realized about 20,000 m² of steel construction at almost 6,000 km from Nieuwkuijk in the Netherlands. I can tell you this was a mega project. The first phase started in 2013 with the construction of a beer brewery near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Phase two started in 2015 and in 2018 we have accomplished the third phase. To give you an idea of how Remco Ruimtebouw approached this we would like to show you how it really works on the inside.
In figures the 3rd phase was approx.:
- > 100 sea containers
- 896 tons of steel construction
- 23,000 m2 steel roof and facade panels
- shipping within 9 weeks
With our international projects, we work together with local workers. In that way we create a source of income for the local stakeholders. Besides that, they gain a lot of experience during the assembly process, which they can use for their further career. Our Dutch supervisors provide for the construction supervision and they monitor safety, quality, and planning. Together they manage between 15 and 30 local employees.
Because we work with assembled beams and columns, we construct relatively light. This is a major advantage for large projects abroad. This will not only allow you to work with a less heavy foundation, but it also yields a profit when transporting. The complete steel construction is produced in Europe and shipped to Africa. At the location, it “just” needs to be assembled. This concept requires very precise engineering and manufacturing. The project is assembled like a big building kit, without, if possible, the use of a welding machine or grinding too.
Logistics: the biggest challenge
This enormous construction obviously does not fit in one container. On the contrary, only for the third phase, we needed more than 100 sea containers which were shipped in different phases. The client arranged the transport, but we took care that the containers were delivered in the right order and on time in the European ports. It is also important that the orders were unloaded in the right order. After all, you don’t start with the doors when you assemble a cabinet. If there is a delay in the clearance process and you receive many phases all at once, then you have a huge logistical challenge.
You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. That is 6,000 km away no different than here. But the point is whether you can solve it (remotely). For example, one of the trucks with a sea container had an accident on its way from the harbor to the construction site. Fortunately, no one got hurt, but some parts of the steel construction got damaged. Our people were able to repair some of the damage, with help of a local coating company. Other parts we have had to send urgently by plane. Many weeks on a ship was not an option. The result was that the assembly was not delayed.