Labour intensive job

The construction hasn’t been entirely without challenges. Koen Van Regenmortel, Civil Works Project Manager, supervised the construction works. “We did everything in our power, and more, to speed up the construction and complete the installation before the start of winter. We switched to a 20h/day working regime for six days a week. The end result, using a reinforcement mesh, was beautiful to watch but also very labour-intensive. A major challenge was closing the round, 10 metre high formwork elements. So, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to avoid the winter period.” 

High-precision job

When thinking about civil works, we usually think of buildings, bridges and tunnels. For Koen, it was his first offshore wind project. “The process of installing the formwork and reinforcements and pouring the concrete in itself is not so much different. But the required level of accuracy and the degree of inspection by the client were for me at least a useful learning experience.”

The site in Ostend was set up on a barge on the water. That was not at all obvious, says site manager Willem Dheedene: “Building on a floating platform is quite special. In normal circumstances, you can always check with a spirit level whether or not something is straight. Here, the ‘fixed' bottom of the barge had a different angle of inclination every day, which turns something as simple as the proper installation of formwork into quite a difficult task. It is safe to say that, from a technical point of view, this was a very challenging project. One other example: normally, you can walk all around the construction that you are building but since the barge was moored along the quay, all material had to be supplied along one side only.”

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