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Constructing WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo

Are the boulders resistant to enthusiastic polar bears? Can the baboons climb over the retaining walls? These are important questions which the builders at VolkerWessels have to consider during the construction of the WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo in Emmen. ‘You learn to see the world through the eyes of a monkey.’

Following a construction period of over two years, the WILDLANDS theme park is ready to open its doors to the public. Building a zoo means doing things in a way that you would never normally do as a construction company. There are no standard rules. When is a boulder ‘polar bear-proof’? ‘Take the circumference of a polar bear’s paw and weight of an adult male and you can come quite some way,’ is what Jan Nijkamp, Quality Coordinator acting on behalf of the VolkerWessels construction group, has learned.

Te netjes

It’s something that characterises working relations on the construction site: zookeepers and art directors have the last word. If they reject a particular part, it has to be re-examined, even if it has already been completed. ‘Drawings don’t always provide an overview,’ explains Hofman. “For example, the walls of the meerkat compound met the height requirements, but it turned out that they could be climbed. This meant they had to be changed.’

Bespreking van de actiepunten op locatie.

The last word

Nog zoiets typerends: bouwvakkers bleken te netjes te werken. Roely Hofman van WILDLANDS hield zich bezig met de thematisering en geeft een voorbeeld. “We wilden een kring van stenen voor de impala’s om in te schuilen. Krijgen we een keurig rond cirkeltje, terwijl het er natuurgetrouw en dus rommelig moest uitzien.”

Digitool Ed Controls

Het beheersen van alle aandachts- en veranderpunten was een enorme klus voor Nijkamp. Bijhouden op papier bleek ondoenlijk. Digitool Ed Controls bracht uitkomst. Nijkamp maakt digitaal zogeheten tickets (opnamepunten) aan en verstuurt deze aan de verantwoordelijke personen. “Met 140 objecten en zes kilometer rotswand zijn dat er nogal wat. Op het hoogtepunt stond de teller op 3.300. Nu zijn we de laatste punten aan het afwerken.”

Roely Hofman, Bertus Boers en Jan Nijkamp gebruiken digitool Ed Controls

Uniek project

Everyone at the table agrees on one thing: this has been a truly unique project. ‘Zoos are, of course, renovated on a regular basis, and often have parts added to them, but creating a new, 22-hectare park is unique,’ concludes Bertus Boers, senior manager of the draaijer+partners consultancy firm. The official opening of WILDLANDS is set for 25 March.

This article has also been published in the Dutch magazines Industriebouw, March 2016 on page 46, and in Bouw en Uitvoering, March 2016 on page 32.

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