“It’s all about reducing failure costs”

We used the tendering method 'competitive position upfront’

February 22, 2017

“We are building 230 homes here. The project is running very smoothly”, says purchaser Eric Aarts of Heijmans. Together with account manager Wieger Oord of Kolf & Molijn Geveltechniek, he is standing in the middle of the Energiekwartier (Energy District) in The Hague at one of the homes that is being build.

It is cold but these men don’t care. Like experts, they are enjoying the works at the construction site. Wieger: “Thanks to an excellent collaboration everything is going right the first time.” The seed for that collaboration being sown as early as in the development phase.


The Energiekwartier is not far from the centre of The Hague. The Noordeinde Palace, the Binnenhof (the Dutch Houses of Parliament) and the central station are all within walking distance. The chimneys of the ‘Electricity Factory’, the oldest working city power plant in the Netherlands, form a characteristic landmark. Heijmans is building a total of 230 homes here, comprising 205 apartments and 25 ground-floor dwellings. Building C1 will consist of 72 apartments for housing association Staedion. The 100 apartments in building D2 are for Achmea. The other apartments and homes are being built by Heijmans at their own risk.


The Energiekwartier is right in the middle of The Hague.


At the construction site you can see how the work is progressing. All disciplines are working simultaneously. The foundation is just being laid at building section D3, building section D2 is set for the upper level floors, the facades of building D1 are being hoisted up and the finishing of C1 is in full swing. Eric: “Work is progressing vigorously thanks to the chosen construction method and the collaboration with the subcontractors and partners, including Kolf and Molijn.”

This company, established in Emmeloord in 1982, are specialists in the production and fitting of innovative aluminium facade constructions. They count all large Dutch construction firms as clients and were, amongst others, involved in the Heijmans projects Wiener & Co and the The Student Hotel in Amsterdam.


Wieger Oord (left) of Kolf & Molijn Geveltechniek and Eric Aarts, purchaser at Heijmans.

New method of tendering

Eric: “It was clear during the development phase that we needed a partner to optimise the aluminium facades and window frames. In order to find that partner, we used a relatively new method of tendering. I call it ‘competitive position upfront’. This means that we select a partner based on matters such as price and performance according to the preliminary design documents.”

Heijmans selected six ‘preferred suppliers’, of which eventually four remained. Each company evaluated the project based on the preliminary design and reports on areas such as installation, sound, air and watertightness.

Wieger: “At that point, we at Kolf & Molijn, start to help think about the detailing of the work. As the information was in 3D BIM, the design team of Heijmans could immediately include the optimisations and specifications of our tender team in the drawings and models. After the contract award, the details of the prefab concrete elements and the wooden facade filling elements were tailored exactly to the details of our window frames. That ensured a high degree of accuracy, seamless assembly in the implementation phase and consequently resulted in time savings.”


Eric: “The starting point of the tendering process was: which company can provide us with the best possible support, can develop in 3D BIM, is able to distinguish between optimisations and omissions in the preliminary design plan and can share that with us transparently. Ultimately, Kolf & Molijn achieved the best score.”

Wieger: “We were also able to identify some optimisations. In the design plan, for example, all the glass was designated as solar control glass. But that is not necessary on the north side of the building. That resulted in a significant cost saving. Another example was that the design plan was based on a certain type of aluminium profile for the window frames and a specific insulation value, while the insulation value can never be achieved with the requested profile. That results in an enormous expense if you only discover that during the construction phase.”



Wieger: “The cooperation is extremely pleasant. The same applies to the other construction parties. This is partly due to the ‘project start-up’ that Heijmans organised for all the subcontractors at the start of the project, at which the project leaders, planners and foremen were also present. This was a very positive experience, because you get to know each other and can make agreements.”


Eric: “We now also use ‘competitive position upfront’ for other projects. Thanks to the early selection, parties can anticipate changes, price fluctuations, optimisations, etc. during the project development stage. We are completely ‘in control’. “Ultimately, it’s about reducing failure costs. We were pleased with how this worked out for the aluminium facades and window frames. If you coordinate the work well during the development and preparation phase, if all parties are transparent and communicate well with each other, you can conquer the world.”