Centre Point of Indonesia

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Centre Point of Indonesia is an iconic project in the shape of Indonesia’s national symbol, the Garuda. It is located off the coast of Makassar, often called the capital of the east of the Indonesian archipelago. Geographically, the densely populated city is literally in the middle of Indonesia and is a major trading hub. New land is needed to absorb the population growth. The land is being developed offshore. Witteveen+Bos has been involved in this project since the start in 2015 by developing the conceptual design, preparing contractual documents and maintaining supervision. Adecar Nugroho, design coordinator, and Budiwan Adi Tirta, geotechnical engineer,  are both working on this high-profile project.

'We factor in all stakeholders already present in the area, including the ecosystems'

The project calls for enlargement of a small pre-existing land reclamation along Losari Beach to create an area of 157 hectares. After delivery, developer KSO Ciputra Yasmin will build real estate for commercial and residential purposes. The land was reclaimed based on a design-and-build contract under which the contractor is responsible for designing and constructing and Witteveen+Bos is in charge  of contract management and supervision.  ‘The real challenge for us lies in the contracts’, says Tirta. 

'The soft subsoil resulted in special conditions for this project'

‘It is a complicated project from an engineering point of view, but thanks to the considerable experience of Witteveen+Bos with soft soil projects we have not had any engineering problems’, adds Tirta. ‘The project location is close to a small island occupied by fishermen and to the tourist attraction of Losari Beach.  It is prohibited to dig up the soft subsoil in Makassar. Due to these two factors, the method of construction is extremely important to the success of the project. The contractor developed an innovative spraying pontoon. Spraying in thin layers means the load on the soft subsoil is increased gradually to ensure the soil remains stably in place and is not pushed to one side. When the new land came to the surface of the water, conventional shipto-shore pumping was again used. Work is now in progress on improving the ground, excavating canals and installing bank revetments. Delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018.

‘Working with a European contractor requires  a different approach to working with, say, a Chinese contractor as in the Kapuk Naga Indah project in Jakarta’, says Tirta. ‘The focus in Kapuk Naga Indah is on engineering problems, whereas with Centre Point of Indonesia the challenge lies in the contracts.’ 

Adecar and Tirta both studied civil engineering in Yogyakarta. Witteveen+Bos figures prominently in their careers. They had an opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degrees in the Netherlands. Tirta subsequently continued working in the Netherlands and got  a specialised water  management internship at Witteveen+Bos. ‘It was then that I realised that Dutch water management was not for me, because all the dams in the Netherlands had already been built’, he says with a grin. Adecar now works as a geotechnical engineer at Witteveen+Bos in Jakarta, and after roaming around for a while, Tirta also applied for a job  at Witteveen+Bos. ‘My CV was forwarded to Indonesia and that’s why I am now working alongside Adecar again.’ 

Since work on the project began in April 2017, a team of Indonesian and Dutch supervisors have been on the ground in Makassar. Tirta: ‘Eight people are present on site, including a secretary and a driver. The group rotates.  We get technical and contractual support from Jakarta and the Netherlands. Cooperation within the team is good. The role of supervisor is new for some colleagues, but we support each other and there is room for consulting and learning from mistakes.’

Adecar: ‘Our experience of working with the Dutch comes in very useful. I’ve learned to be direct, sometimes too direct according to some of my Indonesian friends. But in this particular project it is essential to be direct. It is a trait that is not appreciated in Indonesian culture. In Indonesia it’s all about how you get the message across, while in the Netherlands the most important thing is the message itself.’

How was attention devoted in this project to sustainable development? Adecar: ‘A relationship exists between the consultant and the client. In simple terms, the client wants an island and we are designing it. We also factor in other stakeholders already present in the area such as fishermen, island residents and ecosystems. From our point of view, project development is inextricably linked to social and environmental aspects and we make suggestions for how to carry out the project in a sustainable manner. That ultimately benefits everybody.’