BLOG – Qatar based Dutchman Freek Matheij worked on improving digital delivery in Australia

Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of  Freek Matheij who traveled from Doha, Qatar to Sydney, Australia.


“My Quest was focusing on what we can learn from mega infrastructure projects to improve our digital delivery and to contribute to our new strategy #WorkingTogetherOnStrategy”


My name is Freek Matheij, I am 30 years old and originally from the Netherlands, but I live and work now in Qatar. I recently went on a Quest experience from Arcadis Doha, Qatar to Arcadis Sydney, Australia.

Why did I apply for a Quest

I decided to apply for a Quest to compare the digital delivery of our mega infrastructure projects Doha Metro in Qatar, with the Gold Line and the Sydney Metro Underground Station Design and Technical Services (USDTS) in Australia. Both projects were delivered to UK BIM Level 2 in design and engineering using the traditional way of project controls and project management. Over 300 design staff, of between ten and twenty disciplines and active in more than five countries, were working on these projects 24-hours a day. Due to the time zones, both projects didn’t sleep. I think that Arcadis can be proud that we successfully delivered these “beasts” which are hard to tame and are known for their complexity, vast size, expensive costs, and long-time frame.

Highlight of my Quest experience

I spend three days of my Quest with the METRON / Arcadis Mott Macdonald JV team and two days in the Arcadis Sydney Office. The highlight of the week was presenting the outcomes of my Quest. During this presentation I discussed how we can improve the digital delivery for our projects and why asset information requirements are a key element for the successful delivery of a project. In addition, I shared my insights about the Quest, Arcadis Global Shapers and Roots of Arcadis programs, which are all programs offered and sponsored by Lovinklaan for Arcadis employees.

Learnings and experiences

I believe that the key success in delivering mega infrastructure projects is the way in which we engage with our project teams, key stakeholders, and our clients. It is all about creating a positive project culture; making it an exciting prospect to deliver the project and to enjoy the journey. One of the successes of the Sydney Metro USDTS project was that the heart of the project team was present in the client’s office. The direct access to the client allowed for regular consultation and forged strong relationships across all levels. Another example of a way to engage with the client were the workshops that were hosted by METRON on a weekly basis. These workshops were used as a forum to present key features of the design to the client. At the same time the workshops provided the client with the opportunity to give us feedback and/or direction. These meetings with key stakeholders ensured that the design was processing in accordance with client aspirations. The main takeaway of the Sydney Metro is therefore that strong client engagement is key to project management. It results in a collaborative relationship that allows you, as a project manager, to manage your team in a more effective way. This, in turn, leads to better outcomes while meeting the client’s expectations.

To improve our digital delivery, we can use the lessons learned from both projects and develop a technological platform in accordance with the UK BIM Level 2 requirements. This way, we can be a key player leading digital transformation of the DE&C industry by adding value to our clients through a digital integrated the design. The only question remaining will then be how we can use these digital integrated, full life approach to improve the engagement, the performance and results of our projects. As stated: “the client should always be at the center of everything we do”. Therefore, digital delivery should be based on the client’s digital ecosystem [1], to create a “seamless” integration from a project information model to an asset information model.  This will be fundamental to our design and engineering approach, project controls and project management; all of which need to be embedded in the wider principles of the project. This means that there is no “fit-for-all” or “standardized solution” for each client. It will require an understanding of our clients across all levels of the organization.

The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

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