Forty per cent of daily heavy goods traffic in cities is construction traffic, also in Amsterdam. 'Building in a city centre means disruption and noise to residents and business owners. It's the same everywhere,' says Walther Ploos van Amstel, professor of City Logistics at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
'The impact of construction traffic on the quality of life and safety is significant,' says Ploos van Amstel who is involved in research into construction logistics in Dutch cities. 'The aim of the research is to stimulate a smarter, cleaner and safer approach to city centre construction projects. This could be achieved through electric transport or transport by water, for example, but also through clear agreements between the various parties.'
Commissioned by UvA Real Estate Development, Ploos van Amstel is also studying the logistics during the renovation of the former hospital at the Binnengasthuis site, the building into which the Art History and Cultural Studies departments will be moving this summer. 'It's good that the UvA, municipality and residents drew up a BLVC plan* in advance. This is important since it stipulates, for example, that the contractor may only make deliveries and remove waste between 7:00 and 11:00 in the morning. For the contractor, this means keeping to a tight construction schedule and making firm agreements with sub-contractors and suppliers. Trucks bringing construction materials also remove waste, leading to a reduction of no less than eighty per cent on traffic in the city centre.'
Initially, the UvA received a fair number of complaints from local residents. 'One complaint was that deliveries were being made too early, already before 7:00.' Ploos van Amstel says that the UvA area manager responded to the situation very effectively and consequently considers the role played by the area manager as the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood to be crucial. 'The area manager communicates with the neighbourhood. For example, people got annoyed by how builders would park their vans. Thanks to the area manager, the builders now park near the station and ride the tram to the construction site.'
What can still be improved? Ploos van Amstel believes that logistics requirements should be an integral part of any BLVC plan. 'It should include the use of a Building Information Model (BIM), which is a digital information system with relevant construction information that can be accessed by all the parties involved. Using such a system, the municipality could, for example, take traffic control measures to ensure the efficient transport of construction materials. Another possible requirement is transport by water, which, incidentally, would not have been possible on the Binnengasthuis site since it does not have the space to accommodate a crane for transferring materials from the water to the construction site. My advice to the UvA is to include more logistics-specific requirements when tendering projects.'