Rijn and IJssel Water Board

Completion of Inspiration House for raw materials

The background

The Rijn en IJssel Water Board (Waterschap Rijn en IJssel, or WRIJ, in Dutch) has an innovative installation and wants to create a circular building that truly reflects their ambition ‘from waste flow to raw material’. Copper8 is helping with the design and supervision of the tender for the project, to select the party that can realize Rijn en IJssel’s high ambitions in the field of circularity and energy.


What makes the installation in Zutphen so innovative is that the incoming residual water from the dairy industry is purified and used as a source for the extraction of raw materials. What’s even more unusual is that WRIJ is the first organization in the world to extract the Kaumera biopolymer at its location. Something that preferably happens in a building that also radiates this unique and innovative character. It’s therefore important to work with raw materials that are extracted during water treatment in developing the new building. At the moment we got involved, the architect’s reference design was completed.

The question

Support us in setting up the tender process for constructing the building that will house the Kaumera installation. The result should be the selection of a partner that adds the most value to WRIJ’s ambitions in the field of sustainability and circularity, within the predetermined financial framework.

Current situation and future

The Rijn en IJssel Water Board works with parties that are contracted within a framework agreement, and they were invited to apply for this tender. This provided a major challenge, because they were not selected to apply specifically on the basis of the project’s circularity. The timeline was another challenge: WRIJ has received grants from various providers, including the EU and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and that funding is linked to a timetable. The tender also included a reference design and a fixed price.

The process

A multiple closed tender was carried out with a fixed sum so the award was based 100% on quality. A condensed dialogue phase was added to the process, giving both the client and the tenderers more insight into the ambitious requirement on which the tender was based. The selection was made on the basis of a construction team design phase, resulting in a joint venture in which three disciplines are represented. After awarding the tender, we participated in the design process as experts in the field of circular construction. The construction team phase was followed by a so-called UAV agreement for the realization phase.

The results

A unique building in which the use of raw materials (including cellulose, phosphorus and Kaumera) is brought to the fore. In addition, biobased materials (such as lime hemp and lactic acid) and recycled materials (construction leftovers, staircases, desks and paving) should be explicitly used. The tendering process that was open and transparent and the shopping list of recycled and/or biobased products we worked with have contributed greatly to the unique character of the resulting building.

“I would describe Jeroen and Noor as having a fresh look, being energetic and always open and honest. Thanks in part to their efforts, we have achieved an inspiring and unique result that works well with the production of the water board’s unique raw material Kaumera.” Maarten Schaafsma Senior Policy Advisor

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