The Dutch water authority Noorderzijlvest relies on service and maintenance from Heras

Water authority Noorderzijlvest manages various equipment and sites that provides the north of the country with clean water, such as pumping stations and treatment plants. The water authority was looking for a reliable third party to carry out repairs and maintenance on the fences and gates surrounding these sites. Heras was selected for the job based on their undoubted and unrivalled expertise in this field.

Over the next three years, Heras will be on hand to handle service and maintenance requests from the water authority and to install new fencing. This way, Heras will be contributing to the preservation of clean (surface) water and prevention of localised flooding in the north of the Netherlands.

The challenge

Water authority Noorderzijlvest ensures that Dutch people in the north have clean (surface) water and are saved from localised flooding. The water authority maintains dikes and embankments, purifies the water and ensures sufficient water in times of drought in the area from Assen and Groningen to Lauwersoog. In this large area, the water board manages all kinds of sites, from pumping stations to sewage treatment plants. “We protect these locations with fencing, but this regularly requires repairs and maintenance,” says Folkert van der Veen, Work Planner Coordinator for Civil Engineering and Maintenance at water authority Noorderzijlvest. “Our properties are generally located in remote areas where nature has free rein. For example, fences are sometimes damaged after heavy storms or due to farming activities. But there are also break-in attempts, where burglars cut down mesh fences.” The water board was looking for a suitable partner to help with the repair and maintenance of all fencing and gates at the various locations.

The approach

The search for the right company was put out to tender. Van der Veen: “We’d had a maintenance partner for years. But due to the growing amount of work we were legally obliged to put it out to tender. In the development of the tender, a number of spearheads emerged. “We were looking for a professional party that could reliably carry out repairs and maintenance quickly and with which we could communicate directly. And, of course, it had to be economically advantageous. In the end, Heras turned out to be the best choice for us.”

Since May 2020, Heras has been ready for every fencing and gate request from water authority Noorderzijlvest. “Over the next three years, Heras will carry out repairs and maintenance, but will also install new fencing,” says Van der Veen. “At five locations, Heras also maintains our electric sliding gates.” So how does that work in practice? “When I have a request, I contact Heras directly. I have a contact person for requests regarding the installation of new fencing and a contact person for service and maintenance. I receive a service report after every project. That’s good, because then I know what work has been done before I receive an invoice. This way, I can better process the work and the costs in our maintenance management system. If during maintenance, it turns out that any elements need replacing, that is also recorded in the report. That way I know what the future maintenance will be.”

The solution

Heras has now completed around fifteen projects for the water board. “It’s all going very well,” says Van der Veen. “We recently fitted out a new solar panel park in Eelde with a few hundred meters of fencing. The request was urgent, but Heras was more than happy to oblige. It wasn’t an easy job, because the ground is very marshy there. At the last minute, we also needed an entrance gate, which Heras also delivered and installed quickly. I’m proud that it all worked out.”

Van der Veen has been very pleased with his choice of Heras so far. “They think for us and give us good advice. Heras always arrive quickly on site, even here in the far north of the country. I also like the fact that the lines of communication are short. I don’t have to call head office first, as I’m in direct contact with the people I need. I’ve also given Heras a list of our Site Managers’ contact details, so if Heras can’t work something out on site, they can communicate with them. It all runs very smoothly. If other water authorities are looking for a partner for service and maintenance of their fences and gates, I would certainly recommend them.”

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