European legislation, stricter standards and changing purchasing behaviour of the government influence our view on responsible enterprise. In the energy sector, for instance, this means that the focus is shifting increasingly to the use of alternative forms of energy and bio fuels in projects, as well as other heating systems. Homes receive an energy label and climate control systems are subject to mandatory inspection. Mobility must be cleaner, quieter and more efficient through the promotion of public transport, but also via innovative vehicles, sustainable asphalt and improved traffic flow.
Such developments influence all of Heijmans’ core activities in Property Development, Building, Infrastructure, and Technical Services. Sustainable enterprise therefore even impacts the core of the business; after all, it requires the ability to look further than today or tomorrow. This view of the future is a key competence that Heijmans employees make their own; they are by nature familiar with looking ahead and taking into account the entire life of a home, a commercial building and related systems, a bridge, a viaduct or a road network. Recent developments where clients enter into multi-year contracts with Heijmans for not only the building or construction, but also the following maintenance of the project underline our focus on the future.
We can and will take responsibility for the entire process, from the concept through to the design, execution, management and maintenance of buildings and road networks. The first advantage in sustainable development can be booked at the very start of such projects. The basis for sustainability can already be laid in the design phase, resulting in lower maintenance, operating and management costs in the long term. Operation-focused development goes further than financial investment. It requires a total cost approach: what does a capital item cost during the entire period it is used? This applies to both the products we supply (a home, an office or a road) and the company assets we use (our own offices, vehicle fleet and equipment). In the future, Heijmans will increasingly be confronted with these issues and will actively manage its business based on them.
We take a practical approach to sustainability when it comes to residential buildings, area developments, mobility solutions and technical services. Moreover, we actively employ our knowledge and expertise when considering issues such as the aging population, the accessibility of the housing market to starters or the future demand for care. These are social issues that demand changes in development and construction methods. Therefore, Heijmans also invests in collaboration and mutual knowledge acquisition by establishing platforms on specific themes and by encouraging employees to acquire knowledge through education and training. This knowledge forms the key to effective sustainability applications. Clients also benefit by calling on our knowledge and expertise earlier in the process.
The translation of sustainability requirements into practical housing, work and infrastructure project solutions that clients are prepared to pay for, requires design and maintenance knowledge not only in the area of construction, but also in the area of civil and systems engineering. Our investment in knowledge of sustainability solutions will therefore offer Heijmans opportunities in the various markets in which we operate.