Since our rebrand earlier in the year, Invesis has been keen to live up to the values we stand for and to bring those values to the new opportunities we have access to. Right now, there is probably no project that better embodies our ethos of ‘investors and experts in sustainable infrastructure’ and the diversification of the company’s project-base, than the Egied Van Broeckhoven (EVB) school in Brussels, Belgium.
The first of 42 school infrastructure projects in which the Flemish Government intends to partner with the private sector through Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) agreements successfully reached financial close a few weeks ago.
After BAM decided not to submit a tender for EPC services on this project, Invesis successfully identified other potential EPC partners capable of working on smaller scale building projects where we could bring our complementary PPP expertise and knowledge to bear.
The field of potential medium-sized EPC partners was narrowed down by analysing their schools’ experience, approach to partnering, their financial capacity and the quality of local contacts through their successful delivery of previous projects. Based on this exercise Invesis and Alheembouw came to an agreement to form a partnership to act as the consortium for this specific project, bringing their combination of skills together for the benefit of the client.
EVB school is being developed from an old brewery, retaining its traditional façade and other existing features to keep its history alive, including reusing the existing materials as much as possible. Green innovations incorporated into the design include the installation of a sustainable heat source, and non-students from the disadvantaged surrounding area will also be given access to the playgrounds and sports hall for desperately needed social and recreational space.
Liselotte Koppenol, Invesis Development Manager, feels that the consortium’s focus on cost control while retaining the quality aspects of its bid was fundamental in winning the contract: “Although it is a smaller project, all the due diligence required by the banks, for example, is the same as if the capex were €30 million, €50 million or €100 million. So, we made sure our tender process was as efficient as possible with as much work as possible being done inhouse using the expertise of our team, including all necessary financial and legal services required” she said. That entailed examining every internal and external part of the tender process to pioneer cost effective and competent solutions wherever possible.
Another essential component of the successful bid was the combination of attributes offered by the consortium (called ABC 02). This new partnering relationship also brought with it learning opportunities for all parties involved, with Alheembouw, who had never worked on a PPP project before, being able to recognise the PPP integration benefits and vast experience and expertise that Invesis was able to bring to the table. Likewise Invesis was able to benefit and learn from Alheembouw’s much greater experience in developing successful design and construct concepts for the development of Belgian schools.
Not only has this positive collaborative approach been good for the regional Belgian economy, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the national Government which has made Invesis the only investor it has invited to its discussions on how to progress Energy Performance Contracts. (Watch this space for more news on this.)
The confidence in this model as an effective approach for smaller building projects and the value of Invesis as an investor partner, bringing expertise, experience and collaborative and responsive working relationships, is already proving to be attractive. In fact, Invesis has already submitted a bid for the second project in the Flemish Schools Program and will shortly be focusing on a third project, both of which involve further collaborative approaches with a range of medium-sized EPC Partners.
What’s more, the prospect of applying inventive new cost effective solutions to larger scale deals has piqued the interest of other EPC partners, and the door to more DBFMs for schools such as the upcoming €400 million Schools of Flanders program is now wide open.