these invisible but essential pilots on the site

these invisible but essential pilots on the site

The Pilgrim takes you to meet the “men in the shadows” who meticulously coordinate the operations of the Notre-Dame de Paris construction site.

The “life base” installed at the head of Notre-Dame is buzzing with activity. 7:30 a.m., indicate the clocks at headquarters, a must for all site workers. In the single-storey room where the “suitability for lifting equipment” is carried out, the representatives of the companies working on the site greet the manager, Davy Bemba. “Many operations take place in the air,” he explains, “with four cranes operating at the same time in a very confined area. » It is therefore a question of coordinating the surveys and constantly adapting activities to unforeseen circumstances. On a screen, the movements of the enormous machines can be controlled in real time, with alerts warning if their arms ever come within 10 m of each other.

To begin, Davy Bemba communicates to those present a precise weather report. “The day is going to be beautiful and the wind less than 13 km/h”, he writes on a board: “We will be able to work late and make up for some of the lifting that could not be done yesterday due to gusts. » Because from 32 km/hour wind on the ground, mobile cranes must be stopped so as not to cause their load to oscillate.

In a few minutes, the lifting schedule is reviewed and the order of priorities adjusted: “If you are ready, we will raise your load,” he indicates to those working on the north gable, “then we will change the configuration of the crane to hoist seven tonnes of material into the north belfry. » Information taken by walkie-talkie, no, they are not ready! Back to the initial plan.

An organized anthill

It's barely 8 o'clock and everyone is already heading to their posts. A tedious operation, because you have to go through an airlock between the “clean zone”, on the life base side, and the “dirty zone”, on the cathedral side. Risk of lead dust requires, everyone must put on work overalls, helmets and safety boots… in a changing room equipped with a shower as a boundary. This is mandatory upon exit.

Nabil, the factotum on duty that day, lists the comings and goings, distributes the equipment… “We must take precise account of the companies' workforce and the number of visitors so as not to saturate the airlock,” explains his supervisor, Franck. Grunfelder, responsible for logistics on the construction site.

The latter and his team manage not only the material needs of the base life, but of course those of the site itself: “For example, we find out, from the company concerned, the delivery dates of the lead plates for the cover; we find a storage area on the site; we inventory the needs for handling equipment and put those responsible in contact. » In all, 250 companies will have intervened during the project and, for the past year, around 550 people have been visiting the site at the same time…

Franck second Philippe Mouton, responsible for “scheduling, management, coordination”: “It’s up to us to organize the work requested by the architects according to the planning and space; to ensure that the slabs are not laid before the conduits and electrical wires have been passed underneath! » In his PC lined with boards covered with post-its to give the team an overview, Philippe Mouton likes to define himself as “the master of time” in comparison with the architect “master builder” and the Public establishment “contractor”.

Comfort and safety above all

Around 11:30 a.m., workers, restaurateurs, maintenance workers… loaded with trays begin to head towards the barnums installed in the square: for the lunch break, the chef has concocted beef meatballs and breaded fish, of your choice, for 400 seats. “My company, Sodexo, is one of the sponsors of the project,” says Laurent Cousin, research and development director of the group. We proposed to innovate and install a free self-service restaurant, which offers everyone the comfort of a lunch break taken together on the base. It’s important for the atmosphere and it saves time. »

At 2 p.m., the square empties: the last guests have returned to their posts, on the scaffolding as in the temporary buildings. On the third floor of one of them are the offices of Apave, the company responsible for general risk prevention on the site: “From the moment two companies work together, we check in advance their good coordination by in terms of security,” explains Jean-Luc Marienne. It is his team which is responsible for setting up this coordination with companies, in collaboration with the labor inspectorate and the health insurance prevention services.

From 4 p.m., the first teams leaving the life base greet the security agents, present in their modest PC at the entrance. Their manager, Ouaziz Abrous, supervises both site security against infractions and fire safety. “I organize exercises three times a week to check that the agents, stationed at different points in the cathedral, reach a supposed fire in less than three minutes. They must be constantly ready! »

Regular rounds are carried out and everyone who works at Notre-Dame fills out a “fire permit” as soon as they use a blowtorch… Soon the cathedral will benefit from an ultra-sophisticated fire-fighting system. It won't burn twice! Ouaziz Abrous is sure of it. The doors close on the anthill of the construction site where so many invisible hands participate every day in this extraordinary restoration.

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