Circular procurement

How do I start the design and tendering process to obtain a circular building? The transition to a circular economy means we have to rethink the ambitions and delivery of construction projects. The purchasing and tendering process plays an important role here. It ensures that a different approach is needed to be able to successfully complete a building or renovation. Ultimately, we need to look ahead to possible future developments and adaptations for buildings. In addition, we need to examine what the market is already capable of.

To guide you through circular procurement, we have developed the Circular Procurement Framework. You can find it in the white paper "Circular and bio-based ambitions in construction projects; an integrated approach to the tendering process".

You can also find a brief explanation of the Circular Procurement Framework at the bottom of this page.

The transition to a circular economy means we have to rethink the ambitions and delivery of construction projects. The purchasing and tendering process plays an important role.

Foto van het begin van een project

Still many open questions

The development of technical solutions for circular buildings should not become an obstacle in the transition to a circular economy. There are already many inspiring initiatives and parties on the market, and more and more innovative solutions are coming onto the market. Circular and bio-based construction mainly seem to get stuck because of the many uncertainties of the parties during the process. 

  • Will we achieve our defined circular ambitions? How should we approach the project?
  • Will we find suitable suppliers and materials?
  • And how should we work with them?
  • Will we meet the quality standards and requirements?
  • And what about the risks and room for interpretation in the contract?

The list of questions seems endless.

The Circular Procurement Framework

That is why we have developed a framework that you can use to map out all the considerations and phases that are important when tendering a circular and bio-based construction project. It provides a practical overview of the steps to be taken and the most important considerations, milestones and decision points. These various components together form the perfect outline to a successful tender with integrated circular and bio-based applications. In purchasing literature and professional practice, the following phases are generally defined: preparation of the purchasing process – specification – selection – contracting – evaluation. When tendering circular bio-based construction projects, we need to take a much broader approach than what is common for a traditional tender. The market and products are in full development, after all, and future (re)use of materials and the adaptability of the building is being taken into account.

the procurement framework

The figure shows the different aspects and phases of the procurement framework. In contrast to the traditional purchasing process, this is a cyclical process. So we cannot see it as static or chronological. The various topics are part of the usual phases of a construction process. But in contrast to the traditional process, these topics are not just linked to each other, they can also be a source of feedback for each other. This creates a dynamic process. The arrows indicate that, within each phase, we need to both reflect on the formulated ambitions and think ahead in order to prevent risks and to seize opportunities in the following phase(s).

The middle four, larger circles correspond to the (classic) construction phases. The process starts with the initiative and typically continues until the end of the use phase or the end of life of a construction project. The model covers the entire life cycle of a building, based on the principle that there is no end of life. This is because in a circular economy we are committed to maximum maintenance and as high quality as possible reuse. The circles on the left and right of the model show which topics you might want to consider during the process in order to successfully achieve your ambitions in practice. The colours of the circles correspond to the phases where, based on the procurement framework, you need to pay extra attention to the given topic. If the topic in a certain coloured circle is continued (or actioned) in another construction phase, the ring around the circle is the colour of that next phase. This emphasises the strong link between the different phases. An important starting point is to pay proper attention to the circular and bio-based ambitions of the construction project.

The CBCI Procurement Framework was set up so that not only private but also – and above all – professional clients and professionals gain step-by-step insight into which aspects are important and which available approach can be used to successfully set up a bio-based circular industrial project.

White paper "Circular and biobased ambitions in construction projects: an integrated approach to the tendering process"

The model was further explored in the white paper  "Circular and biobased ambitions in construction projects: an integrated approach to the tendering process"

In chapter 4 of this whitepaper, we go into more detail about the importance of and adherence to the ambitions that are established at the start. A construction project involves many stakeholders, each with their own insights and interests. For example, within an organisation: the managing director, property manager, project leader, user(s), policy maker, lawyer, purchaser, facility management, IT/home automation, finance, shareholders, etc. And outside the organisation: the financial institution, contractors, architect, local authorities, customer, etc. By involving stakeholders at an early stage and going through the procurement framework together, you increase the chance of a successful tender for achieving your circular and bio-based ambitions.

The considerations in the procurement framework are explained for each construction phase. It also takes a closer look at some frequently occurring issues, including important points and insights from the practical examples.

Dit beeld toont de voorpagina van de whitepaper

Which tools can help us here?