A senior site manager with his finger on the pulse

26 Jan 2023
In his role, Christian Bittner is responsible for the new building of the Esslingen district office, which is all about environmentally friendly construction. Find out what particularly appeals to him about his job and how he contributes in his role to building progress.
Senior Construction Manager Christian Bittner stands in the room and points to a project picture of the Esslingen District Office

Circular construction - resource-saving and sustainable.

The new building of the Esslingen district office in Baden-Württemberg sets standards for environmentally friendly and sustainable construction. On behalf of the district authority, ZÜBLIN is planning and constructing a turnkey modern administration building on the banks of the Neckar River, which will complement the neighboring eleven-story high-rise building of the district office. The construction project follows a specially created concept for environmentally compatible construction. During the deconstruction of the existing building, the building materials are separated and processed for reuse (keyword "urban mining"). The result: More than 90% of the materials recovered from the old building are returned to the cycle. In the new building, in turn, recycled building materials are specifically used, such as a resource-saving recycled concrete.

  • "I'm not a fan of "we do it this way because it's always been done this way". For me, working on progress means thinking and acting innovatively, staying on the ball and, in the best case, even being one step ahead."

    Christian Bittner
    Senior Site Manager, Ed. Zueblin AG

What makes the current construction project special for you?
As senior site manager, I have already been jointly responsible for a number of projects and have acquired a wealth of experience in the course of my professional career. But no two projects are the same, so there are new experiences to be gained on this one as well: The demolition of the old building according to a proprietary concept and the shoring situation as such, since the building is located on an island. The sustainability aspect is essentially nothing new for me, but in this case in particular, building with recycled concrete and the use of cradle-to-cradle products play a major role.

The planning process for the project is also innovative and effective. We work together with all key planners in the same planning environment (Construction Cloud/BIM360 from Autodesk). This means that everyone is always up to date and can see the team's work status. Another advantage that results from this is that we can carry out automated collision checks in the digital planning environment, for example.

However, I am particularly pleased that a high degree of the value chain is being provided in our own Group on this project. In addition to the planning support provided by our specialists, the project is being implemented as a joint venture in which a wide range of departments within the Group are participating in accordance with their areas of expertise.

What does your career path look like todate?
Even though my family has no connection with the construction industry, I was one of the first in my year to know what I wanted to be when I grew up: a civil engineer.

After graduating in civil engineering in Darmstadt, my first and only application in 2000 was to Züblin Systembau in Stuttgart. There, I was initially involved in structural planning for around 2.5 years in the "Construction" technical office and was already able to play a significant role in some interesting construction projects, such as the Rheinische Versorgungskassen (RZVK) in Cologne. The path then continued in the classic way via the construction management of various car dealerships, industrial buildings and a gas station directly into the project management of ever-expanding projects across Germany. Highlights include the control tower of the German air traffic control at our capital's airport, the new Gazi Stadium in Stuttgart, the construction of a school complex in timber construction in Munich and the new Z3 extension at the ZÜBLIN campus in Stuttgart.

Today, I am proud to be responsible for a major project such as the new building of the Esslingen district office as the senior construction manager.

What appeals to you about the job of senior site manager?
The range of tasks is very broad: In addition to the purely planning and technical aspects, there are also a lot of other areas. Sometimes you're an engineer, a businessman, a lawyer and a psychologist all rolled into one, which makes the job very diverse and exciting for me.

Of course, you also have to deal with a lot of people in this job - at all hierarchical levels. It can happen that you're standing in the trench in your boots in the morning and talking to the client or the board in the afternoon in a suit. For me, variety is the salt in the soup.

What's special about the job - compared to many other professions - is that you can see and touch the results of the project work, which often takes several years. The result is a building that will be preserved for posterity.

What do you like about the Group as an employer?
First of all, the size and geographical distribution of the Group alone mean that it offers every opportunity to find the right job for you, both regionally and professionally. It also offers the opportunity to adjust the focus of one's activities - whether for reasons of interest or because certain life circumstances have changed.

I particularly appreciate the fact that I can work independently to a large extent. In this respect, I regard 'my construction sites' as a company within the company. Of course, the company also offers a wide range of opportunities for further training and development.

For me, the decisive advantage over other construction companies is that we can cover almost all special topics relating to construction with our own Group competencies. As a matter of principle, the Group is not satisfied with the status quo, but always strives to develop innovatively. On the one hand, this secures our competitiveness and ensures that we will be able to cope well with challenging tasks in the future. When it comes to sustainability, the construction industry has enormous leverage to shape the future responsibly for our descendants. And we at ZÜBLIN and STRABAG are tackling this lever under the claim "Work On Progress".

What is important to you in your work and how does this relate to "Work On Progress"?
It is important to me that the construction task is understood as a team task. The realization of such complex construction projects is only possible through the cooperation and commitment of dedicated colleagues who actively participate. For me, it doesn't matter to which division the colleague is assigned. He or she is a member of the construction site team and that's what counts.

Furthermore, I personally attach great importance to being open to new things and to change, because what was new yesterday is already proven practice in many areas, such as BIM, LEAN or the digital cycle control board, and it is no longer possible to imagine the process without them. I am not a fan of "we do it this way because it has always been done this way". For me, working on progress means thinking and acting innovatively, staying on the ball and, in the best case, even being one step ahead.

True to the motto "Work On Progress", we will again look at what new opportunities arise in the current project. In addition to working with digital tools including checklists and 3D construction site documentation, our robot dog has already visited to explore our demolition building. Also, the demolition and the earth masses were recorded and documented with the drone. We will see what other fields of application can be found for robotics.


Do you want to shape not only your region, but also the future? Then start now as a (senior) site manager with the employer of tomorrow: ZÜBLIN.

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