“Communication about Naturalis’ new building went flawlessly”

The new construction of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden has progressed at a rapid pace. The award-winning building by Neutelings Riedijk Architects exudes quality. This is partly down to the good cooperation with the contractor J.P. van Eesteren, says project coordinator Ferry Lelieveld. “Ed Controls played a crucial role in this.

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This article in short::

  • The new Naturalis construction replaces 12 buildings in Leiden;

  • Naturalis kept control of the building’s management;

  • Ed Controls helped manage quality;

  • The failure costs remained minimal by supervising the work using Ed Controls;

  • Naturalis is continuing to use Ed Controls for facility management.

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The iconic building of Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden, The Netherlands.

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Because of the new building Trixie the T-Rex now has a much nicer place.

The new building was badly needed, says Lelieveld. “We were housed in several buildings scattered across Leiden and the surrounding area. It just wasn’t working.” The goal was to bring the museum, offices, laboratories and the entire natural history collection of 42 million objects under one roof. “It worked”, he says.

“In addition, the museum was outdated. We wanted to create a better experience. So our tyrannosaurus Trixie got a much nicer place.”

Work started at the end of 2016. “First demolition and then pile driving. Before you know it, you’re in a construction pit”, Lelieveld laughs. For him that meant wearing a safety helmet and vest every day.

“The building site was quite small, and the museum had to stay open. A large part of the old building also remained in use”, he says. That required special solutions. “For example, we used a bridge that ran across the road to provide public access to the old building.”

Naturalis kept control of the project. “It’s quite extraordinary that we arranged everything ourselves. Fortunately, we in the Real Estate department are a well-oiled team”, says Lelieveld. With his technical background and the help of internal advisors, his team managed the construction.

Before construction started, Lelieveld was not familiar with Ed Controls. “The contractor used this quality management tool and introduced Ed Controls to this project as well. Some fifty construction professionals used Ed Controls daily during construction.

The four supervisors went into the field every day. They created the tickets, added photos, and sent them to the person in charge. “Super simple”, says Lelieveld. “Thanks to Ed Controls, the communication between them went very well and the failure costs remained low.” Lelieveld also regularly made his rounds with a tablet.

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The lobby with the huge stairs.

J.P. van Eesteren delivered the new building to Naturalis in August 2019. Thereafter, Lelieveld regularly strolled through the building with his tablet in search of delivery issues. “I mainly used the Reporter add-on to send tickets.”

Lelieveld has become a huge fan of the software. “The installers used a different tool. I was able to compare the two tools and Ed Controls won hands down. Much easier to use.”

New phase with facility management

The delivery is no reason for Naturalis to stop using Ed Controls. “We are now entering a new phase; the maintenance phase. Over the past few months, we’ve had 200,000 people cross the floor”, says Lelieveld. “The first usage damage is already visible.” He points to a spot of wear in the huge staircase. “That sort of thing needs to be fixed now.”

After the building’s delivery, Robert Greidanus from Ed Controls contacted Naturalis. “Our contract with Ed Controls has been converted into one that suits facility management”, says Lelieveld. “So, I’ll keep doing my rounds with the iPad.” Lelieveld laughs and points to his head. “Ed Controls has stayed, but I won’t be wearing a helmet for a while.”

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Still Ed Controls, but no more helmet for Lelieveld.

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Snagging the first usage damage.