Sunday 15 September 2013

Contracting for Performance: The Department of Environment’s New Building

Strong clients are often key to good buildings. Strong clients have a clear vision of what they require and pursue this in interactions with professional teams, contractors, funders, occupants and facilities managers. The mandate of the Department of Environment (DEA) made it essential that they aimed for a green building. The decision to use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to develop their building provided a number of valuable mechanisms to support the achievement of a green building. These included:

  • A Request for Proposals (RFP) process which required bidders to assemble comprehensive project teams including a full design team, a facilities management team, a contractor and financial and legal teams.  This enabled project proposals to cover a wide range of aspects related to the building including designs, specifications, facilities management systems, procurement policies and management models. In this way integration from the outset was supported and the client was able to carry out detailed evaluations of proposals before selecting and appointing a bidder.
  • Detailed RFP documentation where performance requirements could be specified. This enabled DEA to set energy efficiency, renewable energy, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and landscaping targets.  This ensured that proposed approaches and designs could be developed within defined parameters and performance evaluated in an objective and structured manner. 
  • A contract negotiation period where a clear understanding of the requirements and enforcement mechanisms were developed between DEA and the bidder.  This ensured that bidders fully understood DEA’s green building intentions and the proposed mechanisms that would be used to ensure that targets were achieved.
  •  A PPP agreement which specified design and operational requirements and set out how these would evaluated and reported on. This agreement included penalty regimes that would be employed to ensure targets were achieved. 

While opinions may be divided about the suitability of PPP processes in South Africa, the DEA project indicates that it can provide an effective way of procuring a green building. The DEA building has received a 6 star Greenstar rating from the GBCSA and is currently the largest building in South Africa to achieve this level of performance. Gauge was the Sustainability Technical Adviser to DEA on the project.

Further information on DEA’s building can be found at:

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