‘Smarter from working with colleagues in other disciplines’

Koen van Doremaele

Structural engineer Koen van Doremaele has been with BAM Infraconsult, part of BAM Infra, for two and a half years. He is currently deployed as a site engineer on the Terneuzen sea lock project. ‘I am tasked with ensuring that our project team is able to respond to all challenges and incoming requests. For instance, if we have to load a large crane onto a ship, I am the person who draws up a plan. I’m also responsible for the ‘as built’ model, a 3D model we buildt on the basis of all available drawings and adapt in accordance with any changes that occur during the actual construction. All such changes are recorded in a dossier, so the client can see exactly what happened. A kind of construction log, really.’

The coolest of jobs

‘Last year I was selected for the Rothera Research Station project on Antarctica, where I would be assisting the project team in the construction of a new wharf and quay wall for British Antarctic Survey. We had a great and very positive minded team. Everyone was open to each other’s ideas and eager to get the job done as quickly as possible. We arrived with a ten-week schedule, but I felt we might be able to shorten this and said so. In the end we managed to dismantle the old quay wall in only six weeks, something I’m quite proud of. One reason we could do this was because we stuck to our plan and another was that we had such a highly skilled team. My theory is that if you look beyond the limitations of design and calculations and talk with colleagues from different backgrounds, it makes you so much smarter. You’ll be able to understand each other better and if you come up against a problem, it’s easier to get the discussion going. Once you’ve broken the barrier, life will always be easier.’

Safe and strong

‘BAM lets me work very independently and gives me room to develop and apply innovations, which makes for great job satisfaction. It’s my responsibility to make sure that anything we build is structurally sound. I often work on temporary constructions, some of them used for only a few days, that have to be built on short notice. Which means there is only a very short time to design something that is both strong and safe. Jobs like this get me really excited – when you start with nothing but a blank sheet of paper. You’re weighing construction methods and the way things fit together. The challenge is always to combine those in a way that achieves an excellent result. It’s a big buzz when you can pull that off.’

Book

‘In my spare time I like to write. I recently published my second novel, Het Sapri Schandaal (in Dutch).