Press release: Pauwels Consulting takes over 4People

22 Jan 2023

Pauwels Consulting acquires 4People to consolidate its place in the Dutch market as a project sourcer in IT, engineering and life sciences and hereby completes 12th acquisition with 3D Investors in 7 years’ time. 

From left to right: Bert Pauwels, Ronald Ter Beek, Joost Hordijk and Stef van den Broek

Belgian consultancy firm specialized in IT, life sciences and engineering Pauwels Consulting has acquired Dutch project sourcing company 4People. Pauwels Consulting aims to broaden its foreign activities in engineering after recently acquiring other Dutch firms in life sciences and IT, to match its activities in the Belgian market. The core motivation is to grow as a people-minded company and to carry its employee-centered values internationally. 

The Dutch company 4People is specialized in secondment and placing of executives in construction, infrastructure & environment and engineering and employs over 200 people nationwide. Their vision is to help their clients build a livable future through knowledge-sharing of cutting-edge technologies. While doing so, the people remain at the heart of the business. Ronald Ter Beek, founder of 4People, explains: “The name of our company speaks for itself. We place people to help create a better future for people. We believe in investing in our employees, as they invest in their projects.” 

Bert Pauwels, managing director of Pauwels Consulting, found in 4People the missing piece in his foreign ambitions: “We have been expanding Pauwels Consulting in the Netherlands through the acquisition of other players in IT and Life Sciences, and 4People brings outstanding expertise in engineering to the table. In this way, we mirror the activities of our Belgian home base.”  

Stef van den Broek, Managing Director of 4People, considers Pauwels Consulting a strategic partner: “We prioritized a partnership with a company that shows genuine interest in our culture and people. That way, 4People can keep growing in the direction that we have built the foundation for, and our clients and employees will be able to look forward to a future of acceleration.” Bert Pauwels adds: “4People and Pauwels Consulting have in common that we want to service our clients with expertise and respect for their vision. That is exactly what we intend to keep doing, with the only difference being that we now combine a larger pool of experience and resources.” 

Stef van den Broek: “As management, we are excited for this new chapter and together with our employees, who have continuously proven to be a great asset in creating our success story, we are looking forward to keep growing.” 

Following this acquisition, the Pauwels Consulting team numbers more than 1,500 experts in the fields of life sciences, engineering and IT. Founded in 1999, Pauwels Consulting has grown into a successful consulting group active in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland under different brands and specialized divisions. Together with 3d Investors, Pauwels Consulting has made 12 acquisitions in 7 years and increased its revenues fivefold from €25 million to over €149 million. 

Read the interview with Bert Pauwels (Managing Director Pauwels Consulting), Ronald Ter Beek (founder 4People), Joost Hordijk (Head of Sales & Strategy 4People) and Stef van den Broek (General Manager 4People).

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Pauwels Consulting takes over 4People

22 Jan 2023

Pauwels Consulting duplicates its Belgian success story in the Netherlands with the acquisition of 4People with 200 engineering, construction, infrastructure and environment specialists. 

Pauwels Consulting is doing extremely well in the Dutch market. In the slipstream of the previous acquisition of Science@Work, it is already taking the next step. Managing Director Bert Pauwels, who established the group 23 years ago, has always been clear about the ambitions of his project sourcing model. What once started with secondments for IT projects has now expanded into a prominent market share in engineering and life sciences in Belgium. With 4People on board, Pauwels Consulting is now also serving the Dutch market in the same way. 

We spoke to Bert Pauwels and Ronald Ter Beek (4People founder), Joost Hordijk (4People Head of Sales & Strategy) and Stef van den Broek (4People General Manager). The venue immediately set the tone: Expo A16 Rotterdam, an experience centre on a new major road in Rotterdam. It is a mega project to which 4People is making a real difference. 

Expert explanation at A16 Expo

Ronald, why did you start 4People 21 years ago? 

I came of age in the business world as a consultant at Brunel. After eight years and an IPO, I established 4People in 2001. Initially we focused on IT project sourcing, but that wasn’t really our thing, so we stopped that. I felt we could make a far bigger contribution in civil engineering. That’s where we could really make a difference. We set up in Deventer in the middle of the Netherlands. From there we went to Hengelo. We continued to expand our activities with branches in Groningen, Den Bosch, Rotterdam and Utrecht and more than 200 employees. 

You’ve had 21 years of growth. What sets 4People apart from the rest? 

Without a doubt, it’s the human side of things. People is in our company name for good reason. I saw a lot of good things during my training, but what I missed is having people as the central focus. They are still the success factor. We’re a business, of course, but we grow by building things around and with people. They make or break everything.

4People is a coveted business, so why did you choose Pauwels Consulting?

You’re right: there was a great deal of interest. Our top five included a few strategic players and some financials. In the end, we chose a strategic partner. We really appreciated that Bert Pauwels showed a genuine interest in the company itself. In the people themselves. And he has a whole group behind him that will help 4People thrive even more in the future. 

Stef, you were in the cockpit of this acquisition together with Joost. What’s your take on this?

Now we can keep thinking bigger and bigger. The company is already at a great place, and there’s far more to come. The collaboration with Pauwels as a strategic partner can only accelerate this. And importantly, our content, core values and culture are very well aligned. 

Can you describe 4People’s DNA for us?

We truly reflect the Dutch eagerness to do business. We’ve always been very inventive, especially now that our civil engineering projects need to enter into a dialogue with urbanisation and nature. We’ve been at the forefront of technology with the support of clusters such as Brainport Eindhoven and the Rotterdam area. The place we are now, Expo A16 Rotterdam, is a testimonial of what our team is marketing in the technical field. Tunnelling, bridge construction and engineering: they all come together here. Of course, we’re facing considerable challenges, but we achieve great solutions on a daily basis together with the customers.

Joost, how do you see this?

We speak the language of technology. For this A16 project, we deliver people in positions that others may only experience once in their lives. Contracts like these are full of special technology you need to have expertise in. We make choices according to feasibility and profit in projects of this size very early on. Our teams are put together even before the award process, which often makes us the first and only one who gets to deliver. Our reputation and profits are earned outside, with our feet in the mud. 

Bert Pauwels, if we include 3d Investors, this is the 12th (!) acquisition in seven years. What attracted you to 4People?

We clicked straight away, not just business-wise but on a personal level as well. You can have the best people, the best technical concepts and the right vision, but having the right relationship is very important as well. 4People’s story so far was perfect for us. Our Dutch organisation was particularly strong in IT, whereas in Belgium we offer IT, engineering and life sciences. This was our chance to expand the organisation in a similar way in the Netherlands. We had already developed our life sciences in the Netherlands with the acquisition of Science@Work. In terms of engineering, we’d also been working with Bruggenbouwers already, but now it was time for a significant expansion. Both countries are now at the same high level in all three industries thanks to what I can only describe as a match made in heaven. 

What’s going to change for 4People’s employees and customers?

What is definitely a positive signal to the market and employees is that many people from the current management are joining the new capital structure. This shows 4People’s belief in the company’s further growth. That’s also how we jointly approach the people and the market. I’m really looking forward to presenting the Belgian organisation and letting people discover how much overlap there is in culture, management style and job content. Pauwels Consulting tackles every new tailor-made collaboration with great respect for everyone involved. We have our story, but 4People has also developed a unique DNA as established by Ronald. We’re here now because 4People do many things well, just like us. Now we can learn best practices from each other to accelerate growth. In the long run, we’ll see a healthy culture we create together.  

Stef, as Managing Director, what challenges do you see approaching in your industry?

This acquisition process focused on two questions: who is from a cultural perspective the best party for us as a company and how are we going to do business together? Sometimes you have to look at that separately from the numbers. Of course, as our new partner, Pauwels Consulting can support our acceleration, but the way we do this is just as important. Bert has made a huge difference from the first meeting. We spoke to other people who literally had no idea what we were actually doing and then just pushed out a bid. Bert has both vision and respect for who we are and what we stand for. 

And where do you see the next challenges in your sector?

The war for talent, which will also affect our internal organisation. Fortunately, we’re ever more successful at retaining the right people. This is because we are very clear and specific about our culture and core values. Unlike our competitors, we are much less transactional in our business. We make a difference in job content. Talented people are obviously recognising this when they make their next move in their careers. We also notice this in job interviews. We often hear that starting to work with us is a refreshing experience for many people. Of course, we present a critical front – there has to be a good match – but cultivating the experience afterwards is the real win for our employees. And of course, the key to growth is our internal organisation and the connection with extremely loyal customers. Their commitment only contributes to our joint growth. And it doesn’t stop at the front. Ambitions need to blend. Bert has taught me how much Pauwels Consulting is committed to the continued training of employees’ hard and soft skills. I was happy to hear that there is a wide range of learning and development, coaches and talent managers on hand. In my opinion, we can always learn from a model like that. 

Joost, how do you experience this war for talent from a commercial perspective? 

Success is a choice. Of course, you are dependent on economic factors, but we are in an essential position in the market. Our people are in places that are crucial both in engineering and construction. The biggest challenge is not to find people, but to find people who understand and can convey the vision of 4People and Pauwels Consulting and who can implement the acceleration we want. We expect a lot more from our people than a normal secondment agency, but when we share our plans, you can really feel the urge to achieve them together. As Stef said, applicants experience us differently: personal contact and content go hand in hand here. Both our consultants and our customers endorse this.

A16 Expo

Back to the man who was right there at the very beginning: what will be the next challenge for founder Ronald Ter Beek? 

In any case, I felt the need to distance myself a little after 22 years. That’s why I had already attracted Stef as CEO. However, I did notice that I couldn’t distance myself mentally like I’d wanted to. It goes against my nature, I suppose. You always stay involved and people don’t call you for all the fun things. They tend to call you if there are problems (laughs). They stay with me and it was difficult to let go. So, then I thought: why not make my long-term plan happen a little sooner, knowing that I have a top team ready? What I’m not going to do is sit still. I adore Italy, so I’ll do things there. What I don’t know yet – I’m sure I’ll stumble upon something. I don’t worry about that. 

Bert, how do you see the management team? 

When Stef presented his vision as managing director for the first time, I felt the business undercurrent as well as his insistence to always include the employees of 4People in the story. Success may be a choice, as Joost just put it so nicely, but I really feel that the entire organisation is making that choice. That only works if everyone has a well-developed sense of empathy, and for that alone I have the greatest respect. That’s why we literally started moving forward after just a few weeks to the point where we are now. Of course, 4People are the best in their job; that’s not based on ego, but on pride in proven merits. Joost talks about the market with unprecedented depth. He knows exactly what his customers are doing. The fact that he has a very broad technical knowledge certainly helps, but what also keeps emerging is this empathy for the customer. The fact that Ronald has given his trust to this top team seems logical from a distance, but of course you need that talent to take the company to a higher level. Ronald’s focus on people always went much further than what is suggested by the company name 4People. After all, companies are made by people, but also for people, and at 4People you see very clearly how the team is built on that. 

Nice words for your team, Stef. 

Thank you, and I agree with Bert. Besides ratio, a person has feelings, and I had a good feeling about Bert from the very beginning. You can clearly sense this in all our interactions. We were soon talking about content, constructive questions and, above all, Bert’s enthusiasm to make Pauwels Consulting an even greater success. And we are part of that. 

Bert has a habit of challenging his partners in sports.

Ronald: Absolutely not. I enjoy riding my rally motorbike in the desert or having a nice glass of Italian wine, particularly the latter. But Joost, Stef and Bert are always welcome, because of course I want to find out how the 4People and Pauwels Consulting story continues!

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Why you should join a Training Program: Narek’s testimonial

11 Jan 2023

Attitude is key, skills can be trained

Narek Martirosyan talks about his motivation to participate in the Training Program: “I have been interested in 3D-modelling and 3D-printing for quite a while now. I wanted to take this hobby and turn it into my profession, so I completed training as a BIM drafter. In this way, I was able to enter a modern industry with a lot of possibilities for the future. But in my first job as a professional, I was a bit disappointed. It felt very repetitive, and it was not looking like there were many challenging projects coming my way.” “When I joined Pauwels Consulting, my eyes were opened. I was immediately offered a range of training options through the Training Program. They gave me real opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills while working in the industry. This allowed me to create faster progress in my new career while I started working for a leading company.”

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  A personal approach
Training Program Manager Koen De Borle recognized Narek as a suitable candidate: “I noticed from the very first conversations with Narek that he is brimming with motivation to take on a challenge. That drive is necessary to successfully balance learning and working. Although he did not yet have much experience in the sector, he had already taken the initiative to learn about BIM techniques on his own. The knowledge and insights he brought with him from previous jobs and training were the deciding factor. With that, he could already start working on an assignment while continuing to further develop his skills. From that perspective, I saw several options with our clients.”
“We are really looking for people who have the right attitude. That means that they must be eager to seize this opportunity,” adds Hà Logier, Training Program Officer and Talent Acquisition Specialist. “That’s why we ensure a personal approach when we speak to applicants.”
“This opportunity to get personal guidance in your career and get training by field experts is quite uncommon. Normally, you would have to pay a generous amount for such advantages. In the Training Program, you get paid to do it.”
Who can participate?
We are looking for people rather than job titles. More specifically, we are looking for people with plenty of motivation, eagerness to learn, perseverance and enthusiasm.
Koen De Borle: “We recruit candidates for the Training Program in a different manner than we do for standard positions. Most of the positions in the Training Program require an A2, bachelor’s or master’s degree, but after that, we look at what you have to offer. That could be transferable skills, or experience in a similar industry or social skills and business fluency that would make you a good consultant.”
A changing job market opens new doors
Our clients seek consultants with specific skills and strong insight. However, the job market is subject to change, much like the economy. Today, certain profiles are harder to find due to a rising demand for technical positions and the so-called “war for talent”. Sometimes the search for a consultant takes too long and a viable candidate seems almost impossible to find.
The Training Program bridges the gap between strong candidates who are talented enough to learn and our clients’ specific projects. In this way, we ensure less wasted time and more growth for both parties.
There are countless ambitious people who want to keep their technical skills up to date, learn about new sectors or look forward to a completely new challenge. We want to give them the opportunity to use their transferable skills and train themselves to become specialized consultants. That way, no talent or time is wasted.
How do we do it? We train people full of motivation and talent to become the white raven who can take our client’s project forward. Training sessions, coaching, advice from experienced consultants and direct application to practice: this is the recipe for rapid growth.
What is a Training Program?
In the Training Program you will give a breath of fresh air to your career, whether you want to gain more knowledge as a consultant, expand your already accumulated experience to new fields or gain as much experience as possible after your studies. You will complete a custom educational program with individual coaching, training and learning experiences. This takes place during your first assignment as a consultant with one of our clients so that you can immediately apply your new knowledge to practice.
Hà Logier explains why it is a unique opportunity to discover a new industry: “We value your potential. We take what you bring to the table to develop a personal track in which you learn all the technical or social skills to become the best match for the customer. This opportunity to get personal guidance in your career and get training by field experts is quite uncommon. Normally, you would have to pay a generous amount for such advantages. In the Training Program, you get paid to do it.”
What is consultancy?
You get the opportunity to work on various projects and at different companies, all while you keep working for the same employer. Pauwels Consulting will make the match between you and a client, who has a position for you in mind at one of their projects. You go to work at the client’s site, but we employ you. This means you get to enjoy a stable job, get opportunities to keep learning and obtain certificates and you always have a stimulating environment. Our clients include leading companies in life sciences, IT and engineering. Does your project end at the client? Then we will look for a new match for you so you can start somewhere else.

Lifelong learning

At Pauwels Consulting, we believe in lifelong learning. We want to offer our consultants everything they need to keep growing, develop their interests and keep in control of their professional life. Besides the Training Program, we offer many other learning options. 

There is also the Pauwels Academy, which is the set of all the training sessions, information sessions and webinars that we put into a calendar every six months. Anyone can register for these. There are also specialized training programs such as the Pauwels Acceleration Program or your Talent Manager can select a range of sessions for you.

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Tips Lean IPD

10 Jan 2023
Lean IPD allows you to complete large construction and infrastructure projects faster and cheaper. These Lean IPD tips increase your chances of success:
  1. Select the right partners.
  2. Start on time.
  3. Involve all parties.
  4. Illustrate the benefits.
  5. Change and people management are crucial.
  6. Consult external experts.

Essential tips for optimal success with Lean IPD

Lean IPD is a relatively new but highly efficient method for delivering large construction and infrastructure projects within time and budget. Lean IPD combines principles from Lean Management with intelligent contracts between different builders.

Lean IPD contracts ensure that all builders benefit from a quick and cost-effective project. The more risk the partners take and the faster and more economical they deliver, the more profit they can make.

Sounds good, of course, and the following Lean IPD tips will give increase the chances of a successful project even further. 

6 tips for successfully applying Lean IPD

1. Select the right partners

Lean IPD depends on good cooperation between all partners in the construction or infrastructure project. All partners must be reliable, willing and able to cooperate optimally. Otherwise, a Lean IPD project becomes loss-making for all parties involved. Everybody wins or everybody loses.

Therefore, think carefully in advance about the criteria that will be used to choose potential partners.

2. Start on time

Lean IPD expects you to make clear agreements with all partners early in the project. Each party must think carefully and disclose their costs, the lead time of the works and the risks they can take.

Only when everyone has put their cards on the table, the Lean IPD contract is drawn up and the project can begin. The sooner there is clarity, the better.

3. Involve all parties from the beginning

Lean IPD assumes that you come to good agreements with all builders early in the process. After all, all partners sign the same common contract. The information and choices of one builder can influence the choices of another.

Therefore, involve all parties from the start in determining timelines and risk appetite. Adding parties to the contract at a later date is usually less easy.

4. Make sure everyone understands the benefits of Lean IPD

Lean IPD is only successful when all parties are committed to the project in the best possible way. To achieve this, all parties must understand the benefits of Lean IPD, both for the project (fast and budget-friendly delivery) and for their own company (increased profits).

The added value of Lean IPD is determined by the risk all stakeholders are willing to take. If they are sure of their delivery capabilities and cooperation, then they can put more money at risk for the chance to make more profit from the project.

5. Provide good change management and people management skills

Since a lot is decided beforehand and the interests of all parties are fixed in one common contract, changes during the project are often extra sensitive.

Provide a project manager with good change management and people management skills who uses open communication to get all partners to accept and comply with necessary changes during the project.

6. Make use of external experts

When different parties need to be aligned, it can be useful to call on an external party who can stand back and objectively view and reconcile different points of view.

External experts can also play different roles in the different phases of Lean IPD projects:

  • during the preparation phase, an external expert can help with risk simulations and contract negotiations.
  • during the project, an external expert can help align (the external interests of) the various parties.
  • after the project is completed, an external party can objectively look back on the project and collect lessons learned. Towards future projects, this can be particularly useful.

More Lean IPD tips?

Are you interested in Lean IPD? Do you want to make your construction or infrastructure projects more efficient? Contact us without obligation. Our Lean IPD experts are happy to help you.

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Pauwels Blog

The potential problems with Lean IPD

05 Dec 2022

Problems with Lean IPD

Lean IPD allows construction and infrastructure projects to avoid classic problems such as unclear pricing and unsure delivery deadlines. As a result, projects are delivered more efficiently and at a lower cost. But Lean IPD has its own problems, such as wrongly chosen partners, an unclear budget or early costs. Fortunately, you can avoid these pitfalls.

The potential problems with Lean IPD

With Lean IPD, the owner and building team sign 1 global contract. This includes a risk/reward plan. The potential bonuses from that plan motivate all parties to work together to the best of their ability, often finishing complex projects faster and cheaper than planned.

While this sounds good, Lean IPD also has its own problems. But what do you need to watch out for? You’ll find out in this article.

Lean IPD problem 1: Choosing the wrong partners

In a complex project, it is crucial to choose the right partners. Because if one of the partners does not go full Lean IPD, it can undermine the entire project.

Companies that don’t trust their partners may refuse to work together closely, or set the cost estimate way too high. In this way, they sabotage cooperation between all parties, and the client will have to pay more than necessary.

The solution

So how do you choose a good partner? Perform a thorough Best Value Options Analysis (BVOA) beforehand. During that analysis process, look for the best partners for you and your project.

As the client, you will first discuss the process internally. Which criteria are requirements? And which criteria are simply pluses? Once your requirements and wishes are clear, you can start talking to candidate parties.

While doing so, don’t just choose the cheapest partner, but make a cost-benefit analysis. Which company will go full Lean IPD? Has anyone worked with Lean IPD before? A more expensive company that has more expertise and experience with Lean IPD may contribute to a more efficient and therefore generally more cost-effective project. It is important to make this consideration and calculation for yourself.

Lean IPD problem 2: No insight into budget

Do you know how much your project would cost if you were working with standard contracts? If you don’t know, then you also can’t compare the cost estimates offered with their traditional counterparts. This allows construction partners to set their costs and profit margins much higher than necessary, which will unnecessarily increase the cost of the project. Gone are all the benefits of Lean IPD!

The solution

Prepare in advance a rough estimate of what your project would normally cost. You can then compare this estimate to the cost of the Lean IPD project. Does a candidate partner try to charge you unreasonably high costs? Then you will notice it immediately.

Lean IPD problem 3: Not wanting to pay study and design fees

The last problem in Lean IPD is the most difficult. As the owner, you prefer to pay only once your project is actually being built. Study and design costs are traditionally included in the total price, so you don’t pay them until a shovel hits the ground. As an owner, you may want to extend this practice to a Lean IPD project.

And that’s a problem, because you can’t do that. Lean IPD is all about transparency and fair compensation. So you will have to pay fees from day 1.

The solution

There is no real solution to this Lean IPD ‘problem’. The project starts running from the moment you first meet with your chosen building partners. From that meeting on, you pay for their studies. Like all other costs, these are reimbursed at net prices.

Our advice? Be aware of this and change your mindset. By reimbursing your construction team’s expenses on a monthly basis, you are building a bond of trust. That bond will lead to a more efficient project that often costs less than initially estimated.


You now know the 3 main pitfalls in Lean IPD: choosing the wrong partners, no idea about the traditional budget, and having the wrong mindset. Be aware of these and avoid them as much as possible.

We wish you good luck with your project!

Want to read more about Lean IPD?

Not quite on board with Lean IPD yet? You can read everything you need to know here. In this article we dive deeper into the contract and the risk/reward plan. Besides pitfalls, there are of course also advantages of Lean IPD. You will discover those here.

In our next article, we give tips on how to successfully apply Lean IPD. Follow us on social media and never miss an update from our blog again!

Can we help you?

Is Lean IPD interesting for your construction or infrastructure projects? Would you like to make your projects more efficient? Contact us without obligation. Our Lean IPD experts will gladly help you. 

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The benefits of Lean IPD

28 Nov 2022

What are the benefits of Lean IPD?

Thanks to Lean IPD, large construction and infrastructure projects run much more efficiently. This can lead to more profit for the builders and designers, and savings and a faster delivery for the client. A win-win situation for all parties!

What are the benefits of Lean IPD?

Lean IPD offers many advantages for clients, builders and designers of large construction and infrastructure projects. The reason is simple: every party sits at the table from day 1. When all parties communicate openly about their project costs and the desired profit they want to make, 1 contract can be drawn up that unites the interests of the whole project team.

In this article, we discuss the specific benefits of Lean IPD for owners, builders and designers during large construction and infrastructure projects. 

Why should you choose Lean IPD?

General benefits of Lean IPD

In the United States, Lean IPD has already proven that it can make large construction and infrastructure projects run more efficiently. By uniting the interests of owners, builders and designers into 1 contract, everyone works towards the same goal.

If the project goes well, everyone makes a profit. If something goes wrong, all parties share in the extra costs. The exact amounts are laid down in the risk/reward plan, which is an integral part of the contract that all parties sign.

Wondering if Lean IPD would benefit your projects too? Let’s find out!

Advanages of Lean IPD for the construction team

Lean IPD offers several benefits to construction partners.

First, more thought is given to each step of the process, as all parties constantly consult with each other. As a result, everyone works together more efficiently, saving time and resources. That gives builders the opportunity to deliver the project earlier and/or under budget. We’ve said it before: this allows the partners to make additional profits.

Moreover, the builders will never make a loss. How is that possible? The client always continues to pay the necessary costs, even if they were not initially included in the budget. So as a builder, you will always at least break even. Lean IPD therefore offers you unprecedented certainty.

As an owner, that cost guarantee probably seems like an unpleasant prospect. But don’t forget that you only have to start using your own funds as a last resort. For the first unforeseen costs, you can call on the contingency, and later on the profit at risk. You will only have to pay extra yourself when these funds are exhausted, which is extremely rare in practice.

Advantages of Lean IPD for the owner

There are many disadvantages to traditional working methods for owners. Uncertainty about the final cost and effective completion date, possible penalty clauses in contracts….

These disadvantages are resolved by Lean IPD, where most projects are realized faster and for a lower budget. The builders communicate transparently about costs and profits, and work together more closely. As a result, there are fewer unexpected costs, and you have a better idea in advance about the final price of your project.

By the way, did you know that Lean IPD projects are delivered 19% faster on average? As a result, your factory can go into production sooner, for example, and therefore start generating profit sooner.


The benefits of Lean IPD are clear for each party. By motivating the team, a Lean IPD project runs smoother and more efficiently, allowing everyone to make more profit.

Want to learn more about Lean IPD ? Find out here if Lean IPD would benefit your projects. Want to delve into the risk/reward plan? You can do so in this blog post. In our next article, we will take a look at the pitfalls of Lean IPD, and present possible solutions. Stay tuned!

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Lean IPD contract

21 Nov 2022

What is special about a Lean IPD? 

In a Lean IPD contract, the builders, designers and the client sign the same contract. In this, everyone communicates openly about their estimated costs and profit demand. They put that profit “at risk,” allowing them to increase their profit, but also lose it. That motivates everyone to work together more efficiently and economically. 

How do you create a Lean IPD contract?

To implement Lean IPD, your construction or infrastructure project and working methods must meet a number of conditions. Here’s how to draw up a conclusive Lean IPD contract, and what you need to do so.

The basics of Lean IPD

Lean IPD aims to make construction and infrastructure projects more efficient. The methodology can be boiled down to 3 basic pillars: an aligned contract, lean construction and a project culture that focuses on collaboration.

If each party follows this philosophy, everyone can reap the benefits. Otherwise, every party involved experiences disadvantage. With Lean IPD, you win together, or you lose together.

The ground rules of Lean IPD are established in a Lean IPD multiparty contract between all parties involved.

Lean IPD multiparty contract

A Lean IPD multiparty contract, as the name suggests, is a contract with multiple parties. In traditional construction projects, the client signs a contract with the designers, and another contract with the builders. Those parties then often subcontract with other companies, which again have separate contracts.

With Lean IPD, the client, the designers and the builders all sign the same contract: an ‘integrated form of agreement’. Other parties involved join the project as subcontractors or co-sign the original contract.

When the builders or designers hire other parties, they get to choose whether they sign a traditional contract, or have the subcontractors join the Lean IPD contract.

Risk and reward

In a unified Lean IPD contract, a maximum price is set for the entire project. That maximum price consists of all costs and overhead, the profit all the partners want to make, and a contingency for unforeseen costs.

In Lean IPD contracts, the construction team puts their profit ‘at risk’. If everything goes according to plan, then the construction partners can increase their profit. If the project misses the deadline or costs more, the construction partners break even. Unforeseen (overhead) costs are always guaranteed to be paid by the owner, even if they were not planned in advance.

Risk/reward plan

Those risks and rewards are moulded into a risk/reward plan. This is a crucial part of a Lean IPD contract. 

Profit at risk

As mentioned above, construction partners put their intended profit at risk at the start of the project. All partners report their profit amount, and those amounts are added up to 1 large lump sum amount. The entire team agrees to put (part of) that amount ‘at risk’.

Ideally, each party should put their target profit 100% at risk. Why? Because then they can also get the biggest bonus. If they put only 75% at risk, the parties also get only a maximum of 75% of the bonus to which they would otherwise be entitled.

What if things go well?

If all goes well, then all parties receive their requested profit in full at the end of a project.

If things go even better and a project is delivered too early and/or (way) under budget? Is the contingency not fully utilized? Were smart cost savings made during the project? Then the amount saved is distributed as additional profit to all contractors and the owner.

A nice bonus, and a very good incentive to work together even better and more efficiently.

What if things go wrong?

When unexpected costs come up, the owner initially uses the contingency to pay for those extra costs. Has that amount been used up as well? Then he draws on the combined profit lump sum – made up from the ‘profit at risk’ of all parties – to pay the costs.

It does not matter which party spends more than expected: all parties lose part of their profit if the owner has to use the lump sum to pay for unexpected costs.

This encourages all parties to work well together to avoid problems. This is completely different from traditional projects, where blame is often placed on each other to avoid penalties.


So how do you determine the contingency amount? 

Current uncertainties

At the beginning of a project, your view of the total cost is not yet clear. At that point, you will set the contingency higher than when you are further advanced in the design phase of the project.  

You also need to look at the budgets and cost proposals of all parties. Is one partner setting their costs too high so they can ‘save’ later and get more profit? Then you can set the contingency lower to keep the cost from spiralling out of control 

Future uncertainties

Do you know in advance that certain things will need to be figured out on the spot? Or do you anticipate a problem with your building application? Then you can set your contingency higher to absorb those costs 

However, try to avoid this. Find out in advance what the problem is and foresee a solution. Otherwise, you will probably provide too much or too little money. In that case, you as the client will have to pay more anyway.  

Can you really not solve the problem or uncertainties at the beginning of the project? Then provide a larger amount for the contingency, but be specific in the contract. What do you (not) expect from the solution, and what do you (not) want to pay for? This way, you already prepare the change order (modification of the contract), and you will have fewer big surprises and/or time-consuming discussions later. 


What if the parties are entitled to additional profit? In a Lean IPD contract, you specify how any extra profit will be divided between the owner and the construction parties.  

For example, you can take into account the contingency amount. The smaller the contingency, the more risk the project team has of losing their profit. In that case, they earn a larger share of the extra profit. Is the contingency relatively large? Then the owner can claim a larger piece of the extra profit for themselves.  

You can also choose to work with tranches. The first 2% savings go to the owner, the next 3% extra profit is shared among everyone else, and so on….  

Finally, you can also opt that profits from savings are shared among all parties up to a certain limit. Often owners choose to pay everyone until they have made 50% or 100% more profit than they first intended. After that, the remaining amount goes to the owner anyway. 

Change orders

Of course, things can still change when the contract is already signed. That is why we have change orders. These are changes to a project that will lead to changed results, delivery terms or costs. Change orders are only later included in the contract.

There are 3 changes that can lead to a change order:

  • Problems with the government: An institution is being difficult regarding a permit, legislation is changing….
  • Unexpected obstacles: Sometimes the team does enough preliminary research and still run into unexpected problems. This leads to a change order only if they really could not discover or research the problem beforehand. Otherwise, the responsibility is borne by all parties in the project, and the owner can pay for those unexpected costs with the contingency or the profit lump sum amount.
  • Assignment changes: The owner can change the assignment when the project is already underway.

Errors, coordination problems, wrong resources and methods, equipment replacement… do not trigger a change order. These problems are all solved in Lean IPD with money from the contingency and profit at risk. 


A Lean IPD contract is very different from traditional construction and infrastructure contracts. The owner, designers and builders sign the same contract, communicating openly about their (expected) net costs and desired profits. That information is put into a risk/reward plan.

In a limited number of cases, that contract can be modified with change orders, but usually the costs for unforeseen challenges in the project are paid for with the contingency and profit at risk lump sum amount.

Is the contingency amount not (fully) used? Then the project team and the project owner are paid additional profit. This encourages everyone to make the project as economical as possible, thus increasing the profit for everyone.

Are the contingency and the profit at risk used up, and will additional costs be required to complete the project? Then the owner will continue paying the costs of the construction team, so the project partners will always break even.

Want to know more?  

In our next article, we will elaborate on the benefits of Lean IPD in construction projects. Then we will discuss possible problems and their solutions, and give tips on how to apply Lean IPD successfully. 

Do you want to know more about Lean IPD or utilize Lean IPD in your next construction or infrastructure project? Contact us. Our Lean IPD project team is happy to think along with you.  

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Word design consultant op je nieuwe job

16 Nov 2022

Word design consultant op je nieuwe job 

Heb jij zin in een nieuwe uitdaging en motivatie om bij te leren over een nieuwe sector? Via het Training Program ga je aan de slag als consultant en stap je tegelijkertijd in een aansluitend leerprogramma. Het leertraject is gemaakt om jouw vaardigheden en kennis aan te vullen, zodat jij de beste match voor de klant wordt. Ondertussen word jij betaald voor je werk, natuurlijk.

Lees verder en ontdek onze unieke kansen voor technisch tekenaars, junior of met meer ervaring.

Training Programs voor technisch tekenaars

Bijleren en werken

Wat leer je allemaal?
Technische verdieping in bijvoorbeeld Revit of Eplan nodig? Check! ✅
Maar ook zakelijke, sociale vaardigheden komen aan bod om van jou een top professional te maken. Denk hier maar aan Problem Solving, Workflow Management, Stakeholder Management, Project Management, etc.
Dit leer je allemaal in combinatie met persoonlijke begeleiding en gecertificeerde coaching om jou zoveel mogelijk nieuwe inzichten en leermomenten te geven.
Tegelijkertijd leer je de knepen van het vak in de praktijk kennen. Je gaat meteen aan de slag in een bedrijf waar je nieuwe kennis onmiddellijk kunt toepassen.
Heb jij zin in een nieuwe uitdaging en motivatie om bij te leren over een nieuwe sector?
Dan zoeken wij jou! Wie ben jij? Jij…
  • Hebt grondige kennis van de bouwsector: HVAC, elektriciteit, sanitair
  • Weet wat P&ID is
  • Hebt minstens een A2, bachelor is een plus
  • Hebt een eerste ervaring gehad met technisch tekenen met AutoCAD 2D, Revit of Eplan
  • Hebt zin om nieuwe skills te leren en wilt jezelf steeds verbeteren
  • Ziet de uitdaging van de combinatie betaald werken en leren hélemaal zitten
Met onze Training Programs start je onmiddellijk op een project en krijg je tegelijkertijd gepersonaliseerde opleidingen.
Mogelijke projecten in dit programma
⚡Van AutoCAD tekenaar tot ambiteuze BIM Consultant in West-Vlaanderen

⚡Van elektrische tekenaar tot straffe Elektrisch Design Specialist in Brussel
Klik op de functietitel om onze vacature te lezen. Herken je jezelf maar deels in de omschrijving? Heb je een andere motivatie om te solliciteren? Aarzel niet en neem contact op. We nemen elke sollicitant serieus.

Ready, set, go

Heb jij zin om eraan te beginnen? Of je nu jouw carrière verder uitbouwt, een nieuwe draai wilt geven of binnenkort in het werkveld springt, aarzel niet! Dien je kandidatuur in en Hà neemt zo snel mogelijk contact met je op voor de volgende stappen.

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Pauwels Blog

What is Lean IPD?

14 Nov 2022

What is Lean IPD? 

Lean IPD makes construction and infrastructure projects more efficient. With Lean IPD, all (main) parties sign 1 multiparty contract. Thanks to a risk/reward plan, all parties can potentially lose or double their profit. This encourages everyone to work together efficiently and deliver the project on time and within budget.

What is Lean IPD?

Most industries are becoming more productive. Except for the construction industry, where productivity has actually been declining in recent years. This shows a clear need for a new way of working to make construction projects more efficient. Enter Lean IPD.

Lean IPD stands for Lean Integrated Project Delivery. This way of working is based on 3 components:

  • Aligned contract: The client, the design team and the builders of a (construction) project sign a single contract together. Within this contract, they can increase their profit margin when they cooperate efficiently, but also lose their profit when the construction project is delayed. In this way, all parties are encouraged to finish the project on time and within budget. Everyone wins, or everyone loses. 
  • Lean Construction: All parties work with streamlined processes and strive to continually improve these processes. The workflow should be as efficient as possible.
  • Collaborative culture: It is crucial that all parties work together as effectively as possible and keep one goal in mind: the project.

So all parties work together to achieve the same goal. This efficiency generally improves project results and makes projects more cost-effective, as there are fewer delays or budget overruns.

Is Lean IPD useful for you? 

Do you need Lean IPD for every project? No. Lean IPD is especially useful for projects: 

  • that will cost more than €750,000 due to their complexity,
  • that involve multiple parties,
  • that operate with multiple delivery schedules.

In short, Lean IPD is especially useful for large, complex projects.

Where is Lean IPD being used? 

In the United States, Lean IPD has been well established for a decade, as most large construction projects (for example hospitals) there use Lean IPD by default. Meanwhile in Europe, Lean IPD is already well established in Great Britain and Poland. The rest of Europe is soon to follow.

An increasing number of large projects are also carried out in Belgium using the Lean IPD methodology. And when large companies start implementing it, smaller companies that are working on the same project have to follow. This way, the methodology becomes more and more widespread. A well-known example of a Belgian Lean IPD project is the Oosterweel Link.

However, there is still much room for improvement. In 2022, Lean IPD is still not the standard way of working in Europe. This is unfortunate, because it offers advantages for all parties involved directly and indirectly. For example, the faster an infrastructure project is completed, the sooner road detour and traffic jams are over and traffic can flow optimally again.

What are the benefits of Lean IPD? 

Lean IPD ensures that the various parties are better aligned. This leads to more reliable projects that are completed faster and where all parties are better rewarded. 

This allows construction partners to potentially make some extra profit. Additionally, the risk/reward plan gives them extra security as they will never lose money when the project doesn’t go according to plan. 

End clients will see their project finalized faster, and probably with less costs.

What are the pitfalls of Lean IPD? 

Of course, the benefits are there only when Lean IPD is done right. But things can also go wrong.

  1. Wrong partners: A project completely depends on the quality and reliability of the partners. A bad BVOA (Best Value Option Analysis) may throw a spanner in the works in this regard.
  2. No overview: As an owner, you need to map out in advance what your project would cost if you went for the traditional way of working. That way, you can better assess whether your Lean IPD partners are asking a correct price.
  3. Immediate cost: As the owner, you pay for design costs from day 1, long before the construction phase can begin. This has a positive effect on the group dynamic between the different construction partners, but a negative effect on your cash flow.

Tips & tricks

Are you interested in implementing Lean IPD? The following tips will help you get started:

  1. Start on time. It takes time to find the right partners and to draw up a good Lean IPD contract.
  2. Involve all parties in this new philosophy from the beginning and make sure everyone understands the benefits of Lean IPD.
  3. Change management and people skills are crucial in this process. After all, every decision affects a lot of parties. Everyone must feel comfortable with the decisions in order to continue to work well together.
  4. Consider hiring an outside party to manage the Lean IPD process. This person can look at different points of view objectively and unite them more easily compared to someone who is or appears biased.


Are you interested in Lean IPD and do you want to run your next project more efficiently? Contact us! We are happy to guide you through the entire process.

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Pauwels Blog

Pauwels Consulting is a strong family

28 Oct 2022

Pauwels Consulting is a strong family

We’ve had some great team building moments these last few months at Pauwels Consulting. Not for nothing ‘a strong family’ is 1 of our core values. Our Family Day, the Corporate Cycling Challenge, Afterwork drinks… Time for a short throwback, and a look at our future plans.

The Pauwels Consulting Family Day 

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Every year, our consultants and back-office crew get together to get to know each other and each other’s families better. This year, the Family Day took place at ZOO Planckendael.

The day got off to a good start: upon arrival, a refined breakfast buffet awaited our guests. The perfect opportunity to get to know each other better! We were able to catch up with colleagues, anonymous e-mail addresses suddenly got a face, and family stories were now filled in by the protagonists themselves.

Once we had finished the croissants, oatmeal and pancakes, we dove into the zoo. We discovered how Planckendael helps endangered animals and had a lot of fun in the animal park and its many playgrounds. Perhaps the surroundings played a part, but our colleagues all described their children as “little monkeys” that day.

Why Planckendael? 

But why exactly did we choose Planckendael for our Family Day? We had a very good reason: Pauwels Consulting has adopted an animal! The choice was not difficult. When you are crowned Trends Gazelle 11 times in a row, you quickly end up with… a gazelle.

Our female rhim gazelle reaches speeds of up to 60 km per hour and covers distances of up to 30 km per day. A nice link to the sporty nature of our company.

To be continued

Usually we organize 1 Family Day per year. This year, however, we will organize 2: at the end of November our families will join us at the Pauwels Consulting Film Day. Our colleagues have already received their invitation, so the countdown can begin. Haven’t you registered yet? Do so quickly!

Corporate Cycling Challenge

In the middle of September, our next teambuilding was scheduled: the Corporate Cycling Challenge! It was the 2nd time that we participated in this unofficial Belgian Championship for Corporate Cycling, and we have to admit: it tastes like more.

2 Pauwels Consulting teams of consultants and back-office employees competed for the title. In the end, we didn’t win a medal, but 1 thing is for sure: the prize for the ‘most fun’ goes to us! Don’t believe us? Just watch!


New plans 

The achievements of our athletes have us dream of even more cycling fun. And not just for our well-trained colleagues. We’ve heard some whispers in the corridors of Pauwels Consulting that there are plans to organize a family bike ride in the spring of 2023. Stay tuned!

AfterWork Drinks

Just about every month, we also organize an Afterwork Drink to bring our consultants and back-office staff together. A padel match, a game of virtual racing or an evening at the bar? We do it all!

Those afterwork drinks allow us to get to know each other better in a smaller setting. A bit of sports and some nice snacks always make the evening complete. Our next afterwork drink is scheduled for November 17. See you there! 

What about you?

At Pauwels Consulting, we have been investing in employee satisfaction for over 22 years. We are in the Belgian top 10 of Best Workplaces® (medium-sized companies category) for a reason. You don’t achieve that status by organising 1 event a year, but by consistently working on the relationship with and between our consultants.

Do you want to be at our next team building event? Check out our job board, forward your CV, and who knows, maybe you’ll soon be part of our big Pauwels Consulting family. And if you have “little monkeys,” they are of course welcome to attend our next family day. 😊

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