Norway's largest Best Value utility construction project greenlighted

24 July 2020 3 min. read

Norway’s largest building project based on the Best Value procurement methodology has moved a step closer to realisation, having received green light from the authorities to advance to the delivery phase.

Fjerdingby is a city and the administrative centre of the Rælingen municipality, located between the municipalities of Fet and Lørenskog in Norway. The city’s current primary school has grown out of its current facilities, and in its bid to build a new, larger school, Fjerdingby’s policy makers have turned to the so-called ‘Best Value’ procurement method.

This approach originated in the United States, and takes a different lens on how projects are procured and run. Traditionally, project owners pick their suppliers based on price, and follow a prescriptive route to delivery. In the Best Value procurement approach, owners consider a wider range of factors including quality and expertise, and follow a far more laissez-fare approach built on the pillars of confidence and drawing on the expertise of suppliers.

The Best Value principle entered the Norwegian stage a few years ago, and across the country a growing number of pilot projects are currently being trailed, under the guidance of the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency known as Difi.

The current primary school in Fjerdingby

In Fjerdingby, the new school will cater for a capacity of up to 770 pupils, including a wing with 20 places for pupils with special needs. Total costs of the project are estimated to be NOK 450 million (around €42 million) and construction is set to start coming November. The school is planned for completion in 2022, and students will make their debut in the new building – located just behind the town hall and the city’s secondary school – in the following year.

According to Eivind Glemmestad, the municipal director of Rælingen, the school is the first school in Norway to be built using the Best Value method, and is of all utility construction pilots currently worked on the largest of its kind in.

Following a tender process, which was advised on by Best Value Group, a Dutch consulting firm that introduced the Best Value thought leadership in Europe and Norway, Hent was chosen as the project developer and contractor.

Commenting on why the city turned to an external consultancy, Per Johan Hellevik Carlsson, Department Manager Development Real Estate at Rælingen, said: “Fjerdingby’s school is the most comprehensive project that our municipality has ever initiated. In planning the project we early saw an interesting potential in Best Value as project approach. Since there has not been previous Best Value projects of this magnitude in Norway’s utility construction sector, we realised that we needed support and guidance in the process.”

“Best Value Group played an important role in providing credibility and comfort to Best Value as the project approach, both to us in the project team and our stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, construction firm Hent won the bid thanks to its track record in the education sector, and its focus on injecting sustainability principles into the school’s design. The new building will be an almost zero-emission building, confirmed Hent’s lead project manager Hans Magnus Haug.

Ståle Grøtte, the Mayor of Fjerdingby, welcomed the news, stating in local Norwegian media, “Many children and adults are very happy that this project is now underway.”