Ed Hartendorp is site superintendent at construction company Waal and since 2016, he and
90 colleagues have been working on the Xavier apartment complex that’s starting to take
shape at Gustav Mahlerlaan. We join Ed for a day on his workplace and today that’s the 21st
floor. Up there, around 80 yards above ground level, we enjoy an impressive view of the
entire Zuidas.

A combined persons and goods elevator takes us to the top floor. People are working hard
to finish this level – at the moment still without doors, walls or windows. How safe is this working environment actually? “Well, this is obviously not a risk-free job but we do everything we can to work as safely as possible. Before we start building a new floor, our colleagues – secured with ropes and harness – put up safety fences. And every day I tell my team how important safety really is. Working at height gets normal after a while and that’s when an accident is bound to happen.”

Apart from supervising safe working practices, Ed is responsible for all the planning. Plus he manages a team of people and is the first point of contact in the event of incidents. How stressful is his job? “Rather stressful. We work under great time pressure as we need to finish a floor every 10 days. If there’s a problem with supplies, my people can’t get on with their tasks. And if we’re running behind schedule, we haven’t got any storage for the materials that get delivered. They simply go straight from the truck to the building site. If the delivery of a certain component is delayed, the whole planning goes awry. But we feel we’re really achieving something special with the Xavier building.”

We climb a ladder to reach the top floor, the penthouse – a glorious space of 3,800 square
feet. Does Ed know who’s going to be living here? “Yes, I do. He’ll be able to see his
workplace from here. Look over there, that’s the ArenA football stadium – his second
home.”