From 100 years of construction to sustainable infrastructure builder
16 December 2021
Strukton was founded exactly 100 years ago. A special moment for reflection and to continue on at the same time. Strukton has refined its mission: to make a significant contribution to the earth’s capacity for self-recovery as a builder of sustainable infrastructure in Europe.
This mission rests on a carefully considered CSR policy with the pillars People, Planet, Prosperity, Partnership and Peace and integrated UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). This requires robust goals: health and safety at work, circular business operations by 2030, a minimum 55% reduction in CO2 emissions and an on balance neutral impact on natural capital. And naturally, Strukton respects fundamental international human rights. These goals lead to many specific initiatives to be able to realise our own mission and to help clients realise their climate targets.
Sustainable use of people and resources
‘For us sustainable construction means no emissions, no waste, no wastage, no mistakes, no accidents, but the sustainable use of people and resources,’ says Tjark de Vries, Managing Director of Strukton Rail. ‘For myself it means taking responsibility, setting a good example, providing room for good initiatives, arranging for good things and especially persevering. Our method of operating is thoroughly digitalised and we encourage deliveries without packaging. We are investing in an electric equipment and vehicle fleet. Together with TU Delft we are developing a fall protection harness with an exoskeleton that offers lifting support. We deploy sustainable solutions for railway connections that we manage ourselves. Our point of departure is to opt for sustainable alternatives and to only renovate that which is necessary for the required functionality.’
For us sustainable construction means no emissions, no waste, no wastage, no mistakes, no accidents, but the sustainable use of people and resources
Quality, safety and sustainability
‘Sustainability is increasingly more self-evident for us,’ Robert Ottelé, one of the directors at Strukton Civiel, emphasises. ‘For example, we extend the service life of bridges in the Netherlands, as well as abroad, by using high-strength concrete and innovative composite panels. Tender and project managers are required to incorporate sustainability in their assignments and the bar is set high. For example maximising the reuse of released materials. Aside from quality and safety, sustainability also is a permanent area for attention in the trade-off matrices used during the design phase. BIM 4D is one of the tools we use to do everything right the first time, because that is also sustainable. Together with the chain, we aim to as quickly as possible provide for emission-free construction sites with solar panels, green or electric power generators, electric tools and equipment, renewable fuels and biofuels, and construction hubs for the flow of materials.’
We aim to build infrastructure that allows everyone to travel smoothly, comfortably, safely and sustainably
Cooperation throughout the chain
‘We aim to build infrastructure that allows everyone to travel smoothly, comfortably, safely and sustainably,’ says Eric van Roekel, Director at Strukton Civiel responsible for the portfolio companies. ‘Sustainability stands for quality and a long service life, for climate-neutral and high circularity standards. Giving thought now to the end-of-service life for what we are building. That requires innovations that we look for on the market or that we develop ourselves. Strukton invests in an innovation culture and brings solutions to market that are aligned with the market in every phase of development. We assume our responsibility and choose the best partners to enable each other to go further. For example, together with partners we built the first factory for recycling end-of-life artificial grass fields into high-quality products. We also recycle asphalt, rail ballast and concrete into high-quality products, sometimes using mobile installations. We offer various sustainable products. We can already do a lot, but we aim to become the best. We work together with our clients and partners to make sustainability ‘business as usual’.
Sustainable together in actual practice
A great example is the ‘Closing the Loop’ consortium, which includes Strukton. The consortium is one of the winners of the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) Circular Viaducts innovation competition held by the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat). About 80% of the old civil works is reused for the construction of new ones. Residual asphalt and concrete are recycled. This reduces CO2 emissions by about 49% and the use of raw materials by 93%, and results in cost savings of about 24%.
Pursuant to the energy transition, TenneT will be renovating and digitalising approximately 145 high voltage substations over a period of 10 years, together with Strukton and other partners. Strukton and Delft Technical University, together with Dutch rail network manager ProRail, are conducting a pilot with sustainable foundation blocks – butterfly blocks made from reused sand and gravel – for overhead line portals. They are also using sustainable wave breaking C2CA Technology Levvel blocks in Rijkswaterstaat’s Testing Grounds for the Afsluitdijk in the Netherlands.
Strukton was first to acquire electric work locomotives and took the initiative of completely eliminating the use of diesel locomotives for railway work. A sector-wide solution was developed for this purpose in cooperation with ProRail. Strukton and ProRail are also working together to develop a battery module that can be attached to e-locs.
This requires the involvement of the entire chain and Strukton, as social impact organisation, increasingly more often assumes a coordinating role. Starting in 2022, it will publish ‘100 sustainable acts’ from within the entire organisation in order to inspire and to make sustainability tangible.
Achieving results together
Strukton has been a responsible builder from its very beginning as a railway company. As a sustainable builder of infrastructure, Strukton, together with partners, aims to have a social impact by deploying people and resources responsibly and by always realising sustainable, excellent and safe infrastructure. Sustainable building begins with yourself, but only by working together is it possible to achieve groundbreaking results.
We are committed to sustainable infrastructure allowing everyone to travel smoothly, comfortably, safely and sustainably