You don’t issue advice on a mega project such as
the North/South Line from the sidelines.
ir. Daniel Santurio González, LLM
North/South Metro Line
10 april 2015 By admin
Cases

When we started working on the North/South Line in 2009, the project was in the middle of major crisis. Due to the subsidence of historical premises on the Vijzelgracht, work on the stations at the Vijzelgracht and Rokin had been suspended. One of the key questions at the time: do we need to start proceedings against the contractors involved or do we opt for a different strategy?

 
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Working together

Daniel Santurio : “We advised against starting proceedings. That would only cause further delays, with all the associated damage and costs. The relationship with the contractors involved would also be harmed, whereas there was still a long road to be travelled together. So we proposed to look beyond proving one’s right or the legal consequences. We believed that the project agency and contractor had to utilise each other’s expertise. This was possible by revising the existing contract and entering into new agreements based on a high degree of cooperation with the contractor. The basic condition was that the relationship between client and contractor had to be as transparent as possible”.

 

Short lines of communication

This led to a new dynamic, which meant the parties no longer worked against but with each other. Croon lawyers were closely involved in this process and could frequently be found with the client in the site hut. They closely monitored the work, thereby enabling them to respond to daily developments instantly. Santurio: “We believe that with a large and complex project such as the North/South Line you can’t provide advice remotely. Not only did our advice result in a relatively quick resumption of excavations, it also proved the most effective approach for any subsequent setbacks.”

 

Finishing contract North/South Line

This cooperation-oriented philosophy has become the standard for other tenders yet to be issued. Santurio: “The experience we gained has been used in the tender for the extensive North/South Line finishing work. We drew up an integrated contract for this, with design space and responsibility for the contractor”. The tender for this Design & Construct contract was issued by means of a Competitive dialogue procedure. This contract and tender format were entirely new to the Municipality of Amsterdam. Today, the municipality successfully applies this concept on a regular basis.

“Tell me what is possible, instead of all the things that are not”

Scheffrahn: “In such a complex and dynamic period, immediately after the subsidence at the Vijzelgracht, the last thing you need as a manager is a bunch of textbook legal experts telling you what can’t be done. On the contrary, I want to hear what can be done, how we can solve problems properly and permanently. And that is exactly what Croon lawyers did. Their cooperation and solution-oriented attitude therefore played an important role in getting this derailed project back on track again”.

Gerard Scheffrahn | Directeur Uitvoering, Metro en Tram, gemeente Amsterdam