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Building new ways with a Spanish-Dutch combination

Interview with Raul Hortal and TON Hayes

After a competitive tender process for the A9, RWS chose VeenIX in 2019, a consortium consisting of the Australian investment bank Macquarie, the German technology giant Siemens, the Spanish construction company FCC and us (Count & Cooper). We’re there to provide strategic construction advice, tender expertise and project management. A special, international combination for a gigantic Dutch project. But how does such an international collaboration exactly work? We asked Raul (FCC) and our own Ton!

Raul Hortal and Ton Hayes

Unexpected combinations produce unexpected results

For FCC’s Raul it’s not just the size of the project that makes it exciting, it’s also the company’s first Dutch project. Moreover, the project is extra challenging because of the soft soil in the Netherlands. These kinds of multidisciplinary projects are complex, but also the most interesting to be involved in as a company. 

This also applies to Count & Cooper, as it’s very exciting to work with a Spanish company in the Dutch market. “But unexpected combinations produce unexpected results, is what we believe as a company”, adds Ton. Besides this, FCC is the right partner to deliver a very good project and they’re very strict to delivering the result that is expected in the contract. Ton’s personal experience is – compared to working with English, German, Belgian or French companies – that the cultural differences are the smallest between Spanish and Dutch companies. You know what you can expect from each other. And luckily there’s always room to discuss differences.

“We’ve never worked with a management company like Count & Cooper”

Raul: “Normally, FCC only works with construction and engineering companies. Therefore, this is the first time we collaborate with a management company like Count & Cooper. This ensures that everyone does what they are good at and that there is always someone who keeps an overview. And this works very well!”

For Count & Cooper this statement describes the company's ambition perfectly. Growing from a process control, project control company to a position where we are a major part of a project by being the managing partner. “For us, that's a new position which we very much like because I think it's more natural for us than being a subcontractor. Although contractual we are a subcontractor”, Ton adds. 

“The biggest obstacle was the pandemic, but we’ve found our way around it”

One of the biggest obstacles now has been the pandemic. To start our collaboration in this pandemic and reaching some milestones has been really hard, Raul tells. We’ve asked a lot from the team working on this project in order to reach our goals, but we couldn’t be prouder! Ton tells Count & Cooper tried to manage the consequences of this pandemic. “Making long days, celebrating success, or having a barbecue. You normally create this cultural bubble, which we call a project, that's one of the most exciting things to do during a project. And losing that spirit is very hard, but makes it even more challenging in a positive way!”

But both Raul as Ton promise that when the project is finished at the end of 2026, and if they’re still young enough, they will throw a big celebration! “But hopefully we’ll celebrate much sooner!”

Tekst: Dawn Tulling | Beeld: Eigen foto's | Datum: 22-03-2021