Project file in Handbook 3.1: 'there's gains to be made on projects'

Handbook 3.1, the successor to Handbook 3.0, will be published on 22 June. SKAO interviews Charlotte Pars (ProRail), Stefan Daamen (Heijmans) and Maarten Neelis (Rijkswaterstaat), members of the Central Board of Experts ( CCvD ), about the project file in Handbook 3.1. What is that, and more importantly, what's in it for us?

Is the project file new?

Maarten kicks off: "Yes and no. No, because no new requirements have been added. The parts of the project file are based on the requirements as already existed in the previous manual. Organizations can already set up a project administration to meet the project requirements at project level, and this is already happening. And yes, because in Handbook 3.1 we have made the project file a lot more visible and explicit and we introduce the term 'project file'." Charlotte adds: "From Handbook 3.1 it is clear what a project file is." She continues her story by indicating what is then in a project file. "The project file is completed by the contractor. It states what the most relevant energy flows of the project are, so how much CO2 is emitted. It also explains what the organization is doing to reduce that footprint. And what she does to be transparent. And not only to the CB (certifying institution, ed.), But certainly also to the client."

What benefits do contractors have for a completed project file?

Maarten: "it is becoming clearer what the contractor is actually achieving on an individual project, in terms of CO2 reduction." Stefan adds: "certainly if the emissions of the subcontractors are also taken into account when drawing up the project file. Only then do you get a real picture of the emissions on a project and you also take responsibility for that." Secondly, Stefan explains that the results from the project files can be a good starting point for the following projects: "If we have applied a certain, well-functioning measure in project A, we can also do that in project B. Without a project file we would have to rethink that again."
Charlotte gives another important advantage of the project file for contractors. "The project file helps the contractor to find out what the client is looking for and thus shape the conversation. A contractor can discuss with the client how they can reduce more CO2 together. Sometimes the contractor's CO2 ambition is high, but an organization encounters limitations from the client. The client and contractor can enter into a very concrete dialogue about this with the information contained in the project file." Stefan: "there are indeed more opportunities to start a conversation with each other. Charlotte: "Construction managers like plans that they have to verify, and that is much easier with the project file."

And what does it yield for the client?

Charlotte: "They also get a clearer picture of what they achieve in terms of CO2 reduction, but then as a client." Maarten explains that clients without a project file only have insight into the general objectives of contractors." As a client, the project file provides us with specific insights into what happens to CO2 reduction on individual projects."
Charlotte: "It also helps clients to enter into a conversation with contractors. A project is already comprehensive, so it is very nice if there is a file that can serve as the basis for a conversation." Maarten then explains that insight into projects is crucial for achieving the objectives: "Because clients have increasingly ambitions, there is an increasing need to have insight into what is happening on projects. Clients wonder what actions they can take to achieve their objectives. And then they arrive at the projects. There is still room for improvement when it comes to CO2 reduction." Stefan agrees. "Almost everyone already has green electricity. But it is still a huge task to achieve the climate goals of 2050. And if we stop focusing on the projects, we will never get there." The CCvD members explain that it is therefore necessary to look for opportunities to reduce CO2 outside their own operations. The projects that clients outsource are the perfect place for this.

'Because clients have increasingly higher ambitions, there is an increasing need to have insight into what is happening on projects. Clients wonder what actions they can take to achieve their objectives. And then they arrive at the projects. There are still gains to be made when it comes to CO2 reduction. ' - Maarten Nelis