Three questions put to Tobias Wittke, Project Manager
Tobias, you are responsible for the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, probably the largest and most exciting shopping center conversion project in Germany at the moment. What does this mean for you?
In the first place, a lot of responsibility! As Project Manager for Potsdamer Platz from the Architecture & Construction division, I look after the entire project management and project control in the construction process. In addition to managing the 20-member ECE internal project team, I am also responsible for schedule, cost, quality and contract management. In my role, I am responsible for construction contracts and stakeholder management and the interface between ECE and the customer. This means that I act as the link between our client and the various construction and planning companies working on the project. I’m usually on the site two to three days a week, directly coordinating the implementation of the steps with the general contractor and the client's representative.
How is the construction process at the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden proceeding? Which partners are working together here?
We have a triad: first, the investor, Brookfield Properties. Then us, ECE, as the classic service provider as part of the general planning. And as the third strong partner, we are pleased that we were able to bring in the company Züblin as general contractor in a cooperative procurement procedure. In a classic ECE development, we act directly as the client of the general contractor. However, since we act as a service provider at Potsdamer Platz, we as ECE do not have a direct contractual relationship with the Züblin company, but rather, as the client’s representative, take over the management of the Züblin company. In this case the general contractor is commissioned directly by the investor.
What makes the Potsdamer Platz project so special?
The special features are evident in the volume of the actual project size and in the extremely complex interfaces in the project, and they are also there with regard to the entire Potsdamer Platz Quarter area. The entire arcades run under six high-rise buildings, which are in use around the clock, and that use has to be protected – which presents us with daily challenges in the construction.
As a rule, we keep our construction operations going. In our case, however, we have closed the arcades completely, to ensure freedom of construction – with a few exceptions. Only in peripheral areas on the ground floor and in the basement will smaller rental spaces remain open, to ensure local supply in the area for the neighboring apartment and office tenants during the conversion phase. The construction task created by a conceptual reorientation of the Arkaden over a gross floor area of approx. 50,000 square meters is a huge challenge for me personally and for us at ECE as well. But we face it every day as general planners and in a team with the investor and executing company in a spirit of partnership and, in particular, as equals.