EPC developments

EPC developments

Developments on EPC

Best practice: Van Gogh Museum

    Selina Roskam
    • Public
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    By Selina Roskam in the group EPC developments 1313 days ago


    Best practice on Energy performance contracting at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, between Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, Van Gogh Museum and Strukton

    Three stories from three perspectives


    Strong team optimises existing building

    • Van Gogh Museum
    • Interviewee: Jorrit Oversteeg, consultant at Strukton Worksphere


    How do you go about optimising the performance of an existing building with built-in installations and systems? Such a project requires a different approach than the design, construction and commercial operation of a new climate control system as part of a renovation effort. The Central Government Real Estate Agency concluded a ten-year agreement for all electrotechnical, mechanical and structural maintenance to the Van Gogh Museum. To this end, the commissioning party translated requirements in the area of comfort, uninterrupted business operations, health and sustainability into no less than 29 Key Performance Indicators in close consultation with the Van Gogh Museum. Strukton Worksphere successfully demonstrated its ability to ensure the requested performance levels on the basis of the existing installations and systems.

    Gain a detailed understanding of the building

    A document of over 50 pages describes the client's output specifications in detail. It specifies voluntary discounts on the periodic remuneration for each requirement, to be applied by the contractor if specifications are not met. The scope of responsibilities is thus far broader than the systems alone: the contractor will have to ensure that the entire building continues to perform optimally in future.

    The Central Government Real Estate Agency organised a market consultation in order to get the various objectives, definitions and weighting factors for the KPIs down on paper. The idea of having the contractor apply voluntary discounts on periodic remunerations was also jointly developed by the consulted market parties, the Van Gogh Museum and the Central Government Real Estate Agency. As a result, the parties involved could rest assured they had sufficient internal support for this innovative tendering procedure. Several providers indicated that they were not yet prepared for this new approach and would first need more time to evolve.

    Strukton Worksphere did not hesitate to tender for the contract. As tender manager, Jorrit Oversteeg is responsible for overseeing the process: “We gained a great deal of knowledge and experience over the course of various PPP projects. Unlike this project, however, we were building, designing and installing systems rather than managing an existing situation. You start out with an entire building and all its existing installations, systems and procedures. You're provided with information on the current situation and then it's up to you to ensure that all requirements are met. That's obviously very different. You need to be familiar with all the built-in systems, and have a detailed understanding of the entire building and its user processes."

    Performance-based contract challenges contractor

    So how do you prepare a solid offer? Jorrit: “I start by determining whether the project falls within our areas of expertise, which turned out to be the case here. Next, I set up a team of around ten specialists: a calculator for scheduled preventative maintenance, a calculator for long-term maintenance, a specialist from our maintenance and management platform Strukton Pulse, a monitoring specialist, a contract manager and various operational specialists. We analyse all available information in detail and carry out research. The data showed that the various installations and the building itself were not performing optimally. Thankfully, our team was able to come up with suitable solutions. An integrated maintenance and management contract challenges you to come up with all the necessary solutions and alternatives."

    Focusing different interests on a single goal

    Performance-based contracts ensure that the maintenance party lives up to its promises: if not, the contractor will be forced to apply a discount. The amount of this discount is partly dependant on the relevant Performance Indicator, but will generally be around two hundred and fifty euro. Jorrit: “An effective performance-based contract will ensure that the various interests are all focused on the same objective: an optimally performing, comfortable, smoothly functioning and sustainable building. These aspects are all crucial to the Van Gogh Museum, which has an invaluable collection and is visited by thousands of people a day. This process and the various collections can't be disrupted by failing installations. You can't simply close down one of the rooms. Conditions inside the museum have to be optimal for both visitors and collections every day of the year. Integrated maintenance and management contracts are ideally suited to such situations. In addition to offering the contracting party optimal certainty, they stimulate and oblige us to apply smart solutions and new, sustainable and more energy-efficient technologies.”

    Negotiation rounds yield better solutions

    Thankfully, the contract provides for a four-month transitional period during which Strukton Worksphere can determine whether it is genuinely capable of honouring its guarantees. If not, the contractor may find an alternative solution in consultation with the client. The various rounds of negotiations also offered room to discuss the details of specific requirements. As it turned out, the partners needed this opportunity.

    Jorrit: “The original invitation to tender was too stringent. We would have been required to apply a discount every single time a failure occurred. Let's say a light bulb breaks: that's a thousand euro discount right there. Ten percent of all bulbs break before the end of their expected life cycle. There's no way to address that situation through effective maintenance, no matter how hard you try. In this case, the discount wouldn't have served as an incentive to improve performance. The 'functional repair' factor was added to the KPI at our request. Under the terms of this system, the commissioning party will reward us for repairing a broken light bulb as quickly as possible: the discount will not be applied if the deadline for functional repair is met. We now have a member of our maintenance staff on-site 24/7 in order to make sure that's the case. That's how performance-based contracts are supposed to work. We felt the transition period was an excellent experience. If the parties maintain an open dialogue, you can resolve any problem. Contracting parties should really do that more often." It gives you the opportunity to offer advice, and really debate the important issues. You can tell the client: ‘We don't think this would be the best solution’. You really need to sit down and talk, which – despite being increasingly common in the case of large-scale contracts – is still far from standard practice."

    Technology alone is no guarantee for success

    Effective communications will remain essential during the subsequent process. Accordingly, the detailed performance-based contract outlines various requirements in this area. Jorrit: “We need to offer a single point of contact and ensure sufficient harmonisation at strategic, tactical and operational level. That means both the product and the process are specified. We're free to determine how we approach the details of both components, though. That's what makes these contracts so effective: you give the market a powerful incentive to come up with the smartest possible solutions."

    A life cycle-based approach yields the best results

    Performance-based contracts lead to a careful balance between thorough maintenance and well-timed replacements. Jorrit: “We ensure the state, quality and quantity of each installation. We are free to determine how and when we carry out the maintenance work, as long as there are no unacceptable system failures. That means we can choose the most effective maintenance strategy that will ensure the installation is put to optimal use, well-maintained and performs according to the agreed targets. As a result, we can then guarantee an optimal price/quality ratio. We achieve this by combining our analyses of scheduled maintenance, corrective maintenance and replacement maintenance. If we put less effort into our scheduled maintenance work, the likelihood of failures will increase. The installation will also have to be replaced sooner. We're continually striving to strike an optimal balance between ensuring agreed performance levels, replacing installations and conducting maintenance work. The end result is an optimal maintenance strategy. You're always thinking in terms of the entire life cycle and overall usage costs throughout the contract period. All team members have adopted this approach.

    If you examine a system's life cycle, you'll see a lot of failures during the first year. These are known as adjustment failures. The number of failures will then decline dramatically in the subsequent year, and gradually rise again after a period of several years. If you were to depict this pattern in a graph, you would see a shape resembling a bathtub. It's also referred to as the bathtub curve. There's no way of preventing failures during the adjustment phase, they're simply a fact of life. However, you can work to prevent failures during the subsequent phases. Obviously, you'll want to avoid the penalties imposed for every failure. If you know a system will have to be replaced during the contract period, it's generally better to move that moment up in time to an earlier stage, as this will automatically reduce the overall number of failures. You make carefully considered, rational choices whereby the interests of the commissioning party and contractor are much more aligned than would be the case under a standard contractual agreement.

    Central Government Real Estate Agency formula for sustainable choices

    So which role does sustainability play in the process of ensuring that agreed performance levels are met? Jorrit: “Every time we replace a system, we also assess the energy component. The contract features a formula that forces us to make the most sustainable choice. The Central Government Real Estate Agency developed this formula to obtain greater certainty and rule out surprises. The contracting party is applying this measure to ensure sustainability and encourage the purchase of the latest, best and most energy-efficient installations in order to improve overall energy efficiency. Although I understand their considerations, the formula doesn't factor in revolutionary new technologies. It's difficult to estimate which technologies will be around in five or ten years. A good case in point would be the development of WiFi, which eliminated the need for underground cabling. Performance-based contracts at the time featured formulas for the replacement of these cables, which are now irrelevant. This process can also apply to other technologies, offering room for smart contractual arrangements. We strive to strike an optimal balance between the freedom to apply innovative technologies and the enforcement of effective working methods based on the current state of technological development."

    Making the best of an existing situation

    Could you name some aspects of the project that stood out? “Although the client imposes PPP-like requirements, we're not allowed to build the systems or prepare structural measures ourselves. We're basically saddled with an existing building with built-in systems, and have to work with what we're given. An example: let's say we were involved in a PPP, whereby the contract required that we guarantee availability of the building systems. We'd then install an emergency power generator. However, it might break down, so we'd put in a second one. What happens if that back-up option also fails? We want to ensure maximum certainty, so we'd also install an additional wall outlet that allows us to start up a mobile emergency power generator if the other two options fail. This approach will allow us to guarantee availability under any conditions, even if we're faced with a worst case scenario. The example illustrates just how far-reaching our approach has become.

    In the case of the Van Gogh Museum, this entire process had already been thought out. The museum was built to specifications, and we're currently applying a system-oriented contract management strategy on the basis of functional requirements. At this stage of the process, a whole range of risk management measures can no longer be applied. Working under this type of contract taught us to get the best out of an existing situation.”

    Be understanding and learn to see things from the client's perspective

    Which tips would you offer your colleagues? Jorrit: “Understand your client. Figure out their goals, wishes and ambitions. You need to know their sensitivities. It's also important to find out what they're afraid of, because you'll have to allay those fears. That kind of understanding represents real added value. If you know your client's needs, you can respond adequately. We gained a thorough understanding of our client's wishes and managed to make a good offer in response. The availability of the museum is key to them. The optimal performance of the various building systems is crucial to preserving the collection. The contract has to guarantee those aspects, and we managed to do just that.

    You need a good team for that. It takes the very best specialists to build an optimal product, just like a chef needs good ingredients to cook. A good team is worth its weight in gold. In addition to technical knowledge, commitment and passion are also crucial factors in achieving success, as these performance-based contracts are highly complicated and demand a great deal from our team members."

    Constructive discussions on differing interpretations

    Could you offer any tips for commissioning parties? Jorrit: “Transition periods should be a standard component of every contract. You need to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the various expectations. Even though every aspect is described in formal language in the detailed output specification document, there's always room for different interpretations. Thankfully, we had a few rounds of negotiations to clarify everything. Our ideas about expected performance levels proved to differ somewhat from the Central Government Real Estate Agency's expectations in certain key areas: we don't always speak the same language. That proved to be the greatest obstacle. However, we eventually resolved those differences through open discussions. When it comes to determining the level of service provision desired by the client, open dialogue is always the best solution."


    Van Gogh masterpieces deserve superior management

    When Ben van der Stoop first took up his current position as building manager at the Van Gogh Museum, he found it to be a beautiful building designed by leading architects Rietveld and Kurokawa. However, building maintenance was in need of major improvement. Collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum, the Central Government Real Estate Agency and various maintenance parties was also far from optimal. Over the years, the parties had unwittingly fallen into the habit of blaming each other for any failures. Their approach to maintenance and management would clearly require structural changes if the situation was to be improved.

    Overlapping responsibilities

    Van der Stoop recalls that initial period: "The sense of team spirit was coming under real pressure. I asked some of my colleagues whether the situation sounded familiar to them. As it turned out, many of them had had the same experiences. Let's say you have three parties working on a building, with a grey overlapping area of responsibilities. Under those circumstances, everyone tends to lean back and leave it up to the others. This turns out to be a very common situation. Once something goes wrong, party A will claim party B is in default, while party B will claim it couldn't have done anything until party C took action. A 'perfect circle', in other words. Under those circumstances, you'll never arrive at optimal management."

    Towards an optimal building

    Van der Stoop had a vision. A building that evolves in pace with its users thanks to optimal management, and performs better as time goes on. A perfectly functioning building that does not leave any environmental footprints for future generations. This should be achieved through constructive collaboration between the user, owner and manager, whereby the various parties strengthen one another, learn from each other's experiences and optimise their potential. He explains: "The Van Gogh Museum wants to focus on quality, innovation, and the realisation of our mission: making the life and works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries accessible to the greatest possible number of people, in an attempt to enrich and inspire. The better facilitated we are, the better we can achieve that goal. The less we have to focus on peripheral aspects, the more energy we can devote to exhibiting our collection and innovating."

    From the short term to a long-term perspective

    So how could the Van Gogh Museum achieve this vision? Van der Stoop: "We simply couldn't achieve the quality levels we were aiming for on the basis of traditional management contracts, which tend to emphasise cost-efficiency. These contracts are awarded to the provider offering the lowest price. As a result, management and maintenance is generally focused on the short term. However, we wanted to emphasise long-term results. I had already been focusing on these aspects at my previous employer, VU University Amsterdam, where I was charged with both renovation projects and maintenance and management. This dual role allowed me to ensure that the two areas of responsibility strengthened one another. In most cases, renovation and operations are strictly segregated. Projects are focused on the short term, whereas operations requires an emphasis on the longer term."

    Could you illustrate that with a simple example? Van der Stoop: "You could design a system without temperature recorders, in order to cut costs. However, this means you won't be able to monitor the quality of the process anymore. You need the ability to inspect the process in order to determine whether or not it's running smoothly. For example, you might want to determine the initial temperature of a heating coil and the temperature of the heated water leaving the system. Amongst other information, this will allow you to make sure the circulation pump is still functioning properly. You simply wouldn't be able to determine those things without temperature recorders. The people carrying out the project don't have any interest in installing them: after all, they're not responsible for management. They'll be gone once the project has ended. As a result, temperature recorders are often omitted, installed in locations where they're impossible to read, or concealed for aesthetic reasons. The accessibility of maintenance control instruments should always be an explicit requirement. A focus on the long term will inevitably yield a different schedule of requirements for systems and maintenance. That's why I started by preparing a plan: how do we make sure the building and its systems increasingly meet our requirements over time while helping the Van Gogh Museum to achieve its goals? Obviously, that's a very different starting point, and it requires a different approach."

    Paper tiger

    As the interview illustrates, we seem have become accustomed to specific working methods that leave room for improvement. Van der Stoop: "We tend to draw up overly-detailed contracts with numerous requirements and preconditions. This gives us an illusion of control: no matter how detailed your contractual requirements, there is always room for interpretation in practice. It's all about the other party's reading of the terms. If you award a contract on the basis of the lowest price, you can safely assume the contractor will do whatever it takes to meet your terms at the lowest possible cost. Many standard contracts are designed to achieve maximum quality for the contracting party, whereas the contractor wants to meet the various requirements with minimal effort. This obviously represents a built-in discrepancy, and it will take a lot of management control to bridge the gap. This takes time, and requires specific skills. In most cases, however, the end result of all your efforts will differ from your original intentions. You've got it all down on paper, but what now? Someone will need to take control to make sure the contract doesn't remain a mere paper tiger. This situation is very common in practice.”

    Output-based management through Integrated Management Contracts

    In order to break this vicious circle, the focus has now been shifted to the desired result rather than the required efforts. The processes aimed at ensuring that the contractor realises this result – as described in the quality management plan – are set in stone. This plan serves as the basis for the contract, creating an entirely new dynamic.

    The importance of looking ahead

    So how can we apply these contracts to ensure that our building evolves with the times? This performance indicator seems to be difficult to quantify. Van der Stoop: "The contract features requirements on measuring the building's performance. We use a methodology that helps to determine whether the building meets new and future requirements by asking questions. As a result, we'll already know which areas require further attention the next time we remodel or renovate. This new approach allows us to constantly assess the entire building's performance, so that we can take the necessary actions when needed. It means we can combine smart technical management today with the intelligent pooling of necessary activities tomorrow. This new working method is all about anticipation."

    It's about the journey, not the destination

    So how do you transition from conventional management methods to integrated performance-based ones? Which steps does the process involve? Van der Stoop: "You'll have to adjust your working methods at every thinkable level. That means broad support within the organisation is crucial. This pilot project was a learning experience for everybody. It required open dialogue, knowledge, the ability to cope with resistance and a focus on change management. All the parties involved need to learn how to think in terms of output, but technical staff prefer telling others how things need to be done. It is crucial to help them break that habit and remain focused on results. Processes and Key Performance Indicators are key instead of technology and efforts. Contractors that manage to meet all performance requirements will receive the maximum financial reward; if they fail to do so, they will be forced to apply a discount."

    So how do you determine the appropriate remuneration for a specific performance or set the relevant discount amount? Van der Stoop: "We use the Analytical Hierarchy process developed by Saaty: this method allows you to make subjective decisions as objectively as possible. For example, I might personally feel fire safety is the main concern while a curator might have entirely different priorities. Staff at the Central Government Real Estate Agency and the Van Gogh Museum and real estate professionals at relevant market parties filled out the questionnaires. This approach helps to ensure that performances and the associated remunerations and discounts are broadly supported, which is absolutely crucial. Customer satisfaction basically serves as a safety net: if we overlook anything important, it inevitably shows up on our surveys.”

    You get what you pay for

    It sounds like an ideal solution, but isn't it far more costly than conventional management contracts? Van der Stoop: “The selection criterion for contractors was set at 70% quality and 30% price. Crucially, we wanted to know how each party aimed to achieve, ensure, measure and inspect the intended quality levels. We basically assessed quality management plans. That's why we don't expect the new approach to result in any price increases. Effective integrated maintenance is based around the anticipation of technical failures. You can then apply smart planning to make sure the maintenance team only has to make one visit instead of two. A smarter organisational approach yields more efficient working methods. If you can manage to improve your failure management while anticipating future developments, you might be able to avoid an entire round of renovations. I actually think an integrated management contract is ultimately the cheaper option. Under the terms of a best-efforts obligation, you assess each component individually. Integrated Management Contracts are based around a comprehensive assessment of all processes and systems. An air conditioning system is made up of numerous components. Generation, distribution and emission. These various components must be effectively and efficiently aligned. However, a building also features other systems, such as cooling and heating. When viewed as individual components, the air conditioning might be cooling air while the CH is heating the building. As a result of these oversights, traditional management is costlier than the user actually realises.”

    Intrinsic motivation and greater expertise yield superior performance

    What are the results? Van der Stoop: "It's still too early for an evaluation, but we're already seeing many benefits. We want to make sure the very best people are assigned to the job. We've noticed that Strukton Worksphere is highly motivated to make sure the project is successful. They believe in the concept. They've already spent a great deal of time and energy taking stock of the various systems. The contractor clearly has a high degree of intrinsic motivation. Their project team is far larger than anything we've ever seen, and they're working 24/7 to make sure everything runs smoothly. They take pride in what they're doing here. The better they perform, the greater the financial rewards and benefits to their corporate image.

    As a result of the process, we now have far more expertise at operational, tactical and strategic level. We now know exactly which processes will help us ensure quality, freeing us up to focus on our core business. The museum is becoming more accessible and sustainable, resulting in a building with far better performance. Having defined our long-term goals, we can now manage far more effectively. In my view, this new approach will help us conclude beneficial contracts for both maintenance work and other services. It's about the results, not the efforts along the way. As a user, you want maximum value  


    Sustainability contract creates collaborative value

    The Central Government Real Estate Agency operates a large real estate portfolio. Despite this broad expertise, the Van Gogh Museum surprised the building owner with a unique request. The museum was seeking to revolutionise building maintenance by specifying usage aspects rather than technical actions. The museum's core task was to serve as a starting point for all maintenance work. Every aspect of the innovative maintenance contract was designed to keep Van Gogh's works in optimal condition and accessible to the largest possible audience. Rather than contractually enforcing the contractor's best efforts, this was achieved by jointly identifying the required performances, using them as the basic indicators and monitoring them throughout the process.

    It's all about the results

    René Leeuw works as a contract manager at the Central Government Real Estate Agency and was involved in the process from the very start. "This was the first time we'd applied primary operating process functionality as the basis for a maintenance contract. Maintenance efforts are basically geared to ensuring that the works of art can be preserved in a well-conditioned environment and exhibited to the greatest possible number of visitors. Visitor safety and well-being are also key. This raises the question: what do we ask the market to provide? As a result of this entirely novel approach, that question becomes quite hard to answer. The focus is no longer on technology. The emphasis has shifted to results. This requires a different approach in a maintenance and management environment that is still dominated by technology."

    Market consultations help to create support

    The Central Government Real Estate Agency and the Van Gogh Museum organised a broadly-oriented market consultation in order to ensure that the tender was manageable for market parties. Leeuw: "The Gogh Museum – in its capacity as the User – and the Central Government Real Estate Agency – in its role as the Building Owner – started by identifying the various potential risks and weighing their respective importance in accordance with the two organisations' objectives and missions. We then presented this information to the market over the course of various consultations. We wanted answers to the following questions: Are our analysis and the associated definitions and objectives accurate, and will they help us to prevent the identified risks? Does the market concur with our chosen Performance Indicators, the identified risks, their weighting and the proposed discounts on performance fees we aim to impose if specific goals are not met? We asked the parties to actively collaborate on our Schedule of Requirements.

    No less than 19 market parties provided us with input in response. All those involved were extremely eager to participate in the process. The companies all shared their ideas with one another and submitted proposals for further improvement. Some weren't quite prepared for this new approach yet, and indicated that they would need to develop their capacities in this area before taking on such an assignment. We can all take pride in the fact that so many market parties participated. Their eagerness to learn and open and transparent attitudes are impressive and helped to increase the level of mutual respect and trust between the Central Government Real Estate Agency, the Van Gogh Museum and the market parties."

    A quality management-based risk management strategy

    The Central Government Real Estate Agency then prepared a performance-based contract in response to the feedback on the basis of system-oriented contract management. The contract features a technical, spatial, legal and administrative schedule of requirements, a list of definitions and other appendices. The Contractor's quality management system is central to the management of the process, system and product-related risk factors. Leeuw: "How can the contractor ensure that all agreed performance levels will be met? If something goes wrong, the contract specifies that a voluntary discount must be applied. The objectives are crystal clear, so it's crucial to determine how you will deal risks when KPIs aren't met. Risk management, communication and responsibility are key to this contract."

    Creating value with a sustainability contract

    In which other areas does the agreement differ from traditional contracts? Which advantages does this approach offer? Leeuw: "I like to refer to this agreement as a sustainability contract rather than a performance-based contract. A tender based on performances helps to ensure a more sustainable collaboration between the contractor, user and commissioning party, which is also valuable. The energy component for 'appropriate moments' also plays an important role, helping to reduce energy consumption and improve the level of comfort. In addition to the added value yielded by superior maintenance work, we also create policy value by ensuring that the contractor, commissioning party and user achieve their strategic objectives and develop new competences along the way. These competences can also be of great value to other projects. We spent three years collaborating intensively on the preparations, and you really see yourself and your fellow team members evolve over the course of that process. We created collaborative value: the roles are clearly defined, harmonisation has improved and the contract connects us to one another and helps increase our level of knowledge. The contractor must substantiate the chosen approach, the commissioning party must ask for explanations and the user must apply the contract intelligently when making decisions. This applies to renovations, refurbishments, temporary adjustments, and other activities. For example, you can't simply repurpose an office space into an exhibition hall. We make sure the contractor lives up to the quality management plan, and each party takes their own individual responsibility. The end result is a genuine joint effort by all three parties."

    Structurally improving a building through smart maintenance and management

    Could you give us a concrete example of the ways in which this new approach helps to increase energy-efficiency and sustainability? Leeuw: "I started out as a maintenance technician at the Ministry of Defence. That's where I picked up my skills. Over the course of my time there, I learned that it's crucial to prevent situations where the contractor calls about a failure and forces you to make necessary replacements without having had the opportunity to come up with a more functional or energy-efficient solution. Something breaks, and it has to be replaced NOW. You'll never get a sustainable result under those circumstances. In many cases, a system with a life cycle of twenty five years will then be replaced with the same unit without taking account of the potential for improved energy-efficiency. The user's operating process might also have changed in the interim. It's best to work with the user and contractor to find less disruptive and energy-efficient solutions at 'appropriate moments', taking account of the future operating process."

    Stay focused on the ultimate goal

    So what does it take to successfully develop and implement this type of contract? It does not sound easy. Leeuw: "Effective collaboration should be a matter of course, but the process of achieving it can certainly be quite an adventure. However, going through that process together creates a strong bond. You need to learn how to listen, look beyond the boundaries of your specific area of expertise and see things from the perspectives of both the user and the market. You need to coach and train one another, and be eager to learn from each other. As a technician, I enjoy discussing details. This time, though, I had to focus on the results, which is obviously a very different story.

    A good project leader who can oversee the overall process and get people to level with one another is also crucial. In some cases, we genuinely disagreed. There were plenty of tough and – especially – intensive discussions, in which the project leader always kept us focused on the end goal. You need to avoid saying 'no' and learn to hold your tongue. If you say 'no', you're generally not open to others' ideas. Once you've slept on it, the 'no' tends to change into a 'maybe' which then changes into a 'yes' after another day has passed."

    Getting it, rather than just understanding

    So has the market been eager to adopt this new approach? Leeuw: "The contract is out there on tendernet, and I'm noticing businesses have been copying it and using it in offers. Still, you need to go through the process together in order to create genuine collaborative value. ‘Cut, copy, paste' simply won't work in this case. It's not just about understanding, it's about 'getting it."

    Risk management and taking enough time

    So will the Central Government Real Estate Agency be applying this new working method more often going forward? Leeuw: "We recently tendered the offices of the Tax Authorities' branch in Apeldoorn using the same methodology. The process really underlined just how much we've learned: we managed to reduce the preparation period by half. I think we'll probably manage to get the next one done within one year. The preparation time for a conventional approach is approximately nine to twelve months, so the difference is becoming negligible. I'm also convinced we can further improve the results of performance-based contracts through more effective collaboration with users and better risk management. In the end, though, I think the most important thing is that both parties take the time to set clearly defined goals based around the user and their operating process. Listen to each other, discuss each other's risk factors, take control measures and carefully weigh the importance of the various risks against each other.”


    Project characteristics


    Van Gogh Museum




    Van Gogh Museum


    Social real estate


    Creating sustainability, management and maintenance



    Parties to performance-based contract

    Commissioning party:   

    Central Government Real Estate Agency


    Strukton Worksphere


    Strukton Worksphere

    Performance-based contract characteristics

    Aspects covered by the performance-based contract:

    29 Key Performance Indicators in the areas of: comfort, uninterrupted business operations, maximum safety for people and the collection, health and sustainability.


    This includes: specific climate control requirements for each room, state of repair, operational continuity, response times, availability of rooms, optimal business operations in terms of planning, consultations, etc.


    Management is conducted on the basis of: system-oriented contract management.



    - information and energy management (BREEAM in Use, EPBD, Energy Investment Business Case);

    - RGD BOEI Manuals.


    Intended annual savings:

    Retention of BREEAM In-Use and Energy Label through introduction of measures at appropriate moments on the basis of Life Cycle Costing (LCC).

    Contract value:

    6.5 million euro

    Contract duration:

    15 years

    Contact details for further information


    Strukton Worksphere


    Jorrit Oversteeg

    Phone number:

    +31(0)30 240 7320

    E-mail address:





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