Interview Jeanine Mocking: No pier without permits

Water rights licences, traffic decrees, zoning plan procedures: building the new pier and terminal at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol involves an awful lot of paperwork. Jeanine Mocking is the permits coordinator and ensures that everything is applied for and sorted on time. ‘It’s like playing dominoes. If one project comes to a standstill because permission hasn’t been granted, it has a knock-on effect on the rest.’

Jeanine Mocking

Jeanine Mocking has been working for Schiphol since 1999. Her very first project involved arranging the permits for Runway 18R-36L. ‘Since then, they’ve always asked me to work on major construction projects’, she explains. ‘That includes the Capital Programme, the Schiphol programme that includes the construction of the new pier and terminal. It’s a great project that requires more than enough permits, licences and so on. Since starting the preparatory work, we’ve made at least 150 applications.’

Making sure everything is accurate and complete

The various permits needed come from local municipalities, water authorities, ministries, local services and ProRail. Jeanine applies for the railway permits herself and the rest are arranged by internal Schiphol account holders. The required documents come from contractors, design agencies or architects firms. ‘These documents come to me directly and I then ensure that everything is accurate and complete and reaches the right account holder or organisation on time.’ With a knowing wink, she continues: ‘In practice, that means that I have to chase up a lot of people.’

Effects on the environment

For Jeanine, one of the highlights was the process of applying for a permit landside. The contractor, BAM, wanted to extract groundwater over a longer period. This called for several types of permits and licences, as well as an Environmental Impact Assessment process, which involves looking especially closely at the effects on the environment. ‘There was endless discussion beforehand and an awful lot of fuss. But when we eventually applied for permission from the water authority, everything was sorted in just three weeks.’

Changing plans

The planning permission for the P2 car park was another story. Jeanine: ‘The original plan was to build two storeys on top of it. But when all of the planning permission and permits were in place – which was quite complex – they decided to demolish the whole building. And I had to start again from scratch.’ Despite this, these changing plans are part of what Jeanine enjoys so much about working for Schiphol. ‘There’s never a day without surprises.’

The basis for all projects

Jeanine’s day-to-day work can be neatly summarised in one word: consultation. ‘For example, I make sure that municipalities, ministries and other authorities are aware that applications are on their way. I also ensure that everyone has their permit ready on time. The application process is about more than just completing forms. It’s the basis for everything we do, for all construction projects. Don’t have the right permits? In that case, you can forget your new pier or terminal.’