Site manager and engineer Ines Hagspiel wears many hats – only one of them made from reinforced plastic. Her expertise in tunnel production is vast, and on any given day she could be found coordinating shifts for drilling and blasting, compiling data on the day’s progress or generating reports for the clients of PNC Norge, a subsidiary of European construction giant PORR Group. Her current project involves digging two tunnels through two mountains 10 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle in Norway, with the help of the country’s first Sandvik drill rig equipped with a 3D scanner. Minestories caught up with her to talk about her role, modern-day tunnelling and what it’s like to work on the top of the world.
What is the focus of PORR/PNC Norge?
PORR’s core competency is construction, primarily in Europe but also in other countries. Since 2012, PORR has been operating in Norway and has used the name PNC Norge AS since 2016. For this market, the major focus is infrastructure building, including building tunnels, bridges and railway systems.
How did you get involved in construction?
When I considered my options for post-secondary school, my first plan was to study environmental science. But then I got in contact with several people who studied this and decided it might not be for me. I changed to the more widely diversified field of civil engineering. After my practical semester working in the field, I became excited about building tunnels.
What are your key responsibilities at work?
My primary responsibilities at work involve the many steps required to organize and produce high-quality tunnels as safely and as economically responsibly as possible. Acquiring and developing my competency while understanding every single part of building a tunnel can be challenging at times, as it involves knowledge of controlling, machines, electrical functions, human resources management, new construction methods and software, to name a few.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The expansive diversity of my everyday work life is really enjoyable. Dealing with our team on site, our clients and tasks in the office is great, but then you get to go out to the construction site, here amongst these majestic mountains and beautiful fjords, and see the result of what you planned improving day by day.
What would you say are the biggest strengths of the Sandvik 3D scanner?
With the 3D scanner the operator can see the excavated tunnel compared with the theoretical tunnel line in real time, which saves a lot of time. Also, we can generate 3D models of the tunnel for our client to show where we are in the project in a more visual way.
How would you describe the relationship between Sandvik and PORR/PNC Norge?
Our parent company PORR has a great pre-existing relationship, so it was only natural for us to reach out to Sandvik when we considered what type of jumbo we needed to excavate for the tunnel. We definitely made the right choice.