Interview Coen van der Zwaag: Cranes at work!

Have you noticed the large cranes on the drop-off road at the terminal? They have been regularly hoisting new steel structures onto the roof for the renovation of Departures 1 and Lounge 1. It's the job of Coen van der Zwaag and his colleagues to arrange for a crane to be there every evening it’s needed. ‘It's quite a laborious process, but essential.’

Cranes in use until the summer

We’ve been busy with hoisting work in recent weeks’, explains Works Advisor Coen van der Zwaag. ‘We have to lift tonnes of steel onto the roof, around 15 tonnes every night. All this steel is being used for the construction of the new staff restaurant on level 3 in terminal 1. ‘We did a lot of the work before the May holiday and completed it last week. But it’s not all over yet, because we still need to lift some concrete up there. So the big cranes will still regularly be in use until the summer. And there’ll be concrete pumps as well, of course.’

Maximum load, safety and traffic queues

In order to prevent traffic queues on the drop-off road, the cranes are set up every evening and dismantled again in the dead of night. Coen: ‘It sounds laborious, but it enables the work to be done relatively quickly without causing any inconvenience to taxis, buses or the emergency services. The road in front of the terminal is extremely busy. If we put cranes there during daytime hours and diverted the traffic, Schiphol-Centre would become one big traffic queue. We can’t allow that. We also need to think about traveller safety. We prefer to do the lifting work at night, when it’s quiet. We also have to take account of other factors, such as the maximum load on the road.’

The necessary measures

Coen is the right person to assess what work can be done responsibly and what the best working method is. Many applications for construction project work permits arrive at his door. ‘I assess these applications, together with colleagues. When is the best time for us to do the work? What additional measures should we take? Will people need to be informed?’
The renovation of Departures 1 and Lounge 1 is a major, complex project involving multiple interests. It needs to be quick. It needs to be safe. It needs to be good. That calls for a critical perspective both inside and outside and the necessary measures.’