Public tender for sanitary units in Schouwen-Duivenland

“We were looking for the best idea, not the cheapest.”

The municipality of Schouwen-Duivenland (Zeeland) is the location of two brand-new Pop-Up Toilet Company sanitary units on car parks; on the outskirts of Zierikzee town centre and close to the beach in Westenschouwen. This is a very special project, for both the municipality and for Pop-Up Toilet Company, for a number of reasons.

Director Marco Schimmel: “Generally speaking, tenders consist of pages full of rules and regulations. The municipality of Schouwen-Duivenland took a different approach: on half a page, they defined their expectations and wanted to see what we could offer! This project was a fantastic challenge for us right from the start.”

Toiletunit Zierikzee

Two sub-projects

The tender comprised two sub-projects, each with their own distinct vision, target and looks. One was a sanitary facility on the car park on the outskirts of Zierikzee town centre, and the other on a car park near Westenschouwen beach, in the dune area.

Toiletunit Westenschouwen-min

No specifications

Project manager Sylvia van Rienderhoff, architectural adviser and project manager of the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland: “It became an open assignment, from which we did not define specifications, but simply a summary programme of requirements. If you overload your request with rules, protocols and requirements, there will be little space for the creativity and resourcefulness of the supplier. We were looking for a market party who could offer us a solution which we ourselves could not envisage.” Three market parties were invited to write a performance plan and to provide a presentation. The contract was awarded to Pop-Up Toilet Company.

From honest advice to the best idea

Van Rienderhoff: “Marco really is honest when giving advice. He informed us that he could supply the quality required by our programme of requirements, but not for that budget. We therefore challenged him to show us exactly what was possible. And he did so. It was clear that he had invested a great deal of energy, spending two days here in order to check out the situation in the daytime and at night. Based on what he had seen and his practical experience, we received sound advice which we could report to the council, leading to the budget being adjusted accordingly. That is what we were looking for in a contractor: not the cheapest idea, but actually ending up with the best idea.”


Van Rienderhoff: “We adjusted our ideas for the facilities in Zierikzee and Westerhoek, based on Marco’s advice. On analysing the number of visitors per day, it became apparent that we had planned excess sanitary facilities for Zierikzee (within walking distance from the centre) and not enough for Westenschouwen (at the end of the road to the beach). That is the specific knowledge offered by a market party, which we required.

Full service

That same knowledge and experience also proved useful during installation. “The energy company employee came on Friday to connect the unit, as agreed. He was unable to do so apparently, because ‘the mounting plate did not comply with the dimensions given in the Building Materials decree’. While the technical space was large enough, he could not be persuaded. What now? Marco simply jumped in his car, drove to the DIY store, had a plate made to measure and hung it in the technical space. All done! How often do you see that nowadays, that the director of the company will solve such issues personally?!”

Toiletunit Westenschouwen met douches

A very good tender process, for everyone involved

Van Rienderhoff reflects on how smoothly things went. “I’ve been in touch with everyone who had anything to do with it: from the cleaners, the field staff and the urban developers, in order to define the programme of requirements. It’s great to be able to take this approach to a tender, and all the project team agree. The whole thing was aimed at the result rather than the procedure, and the actual working process becomes shorter because you know what you’re getting. The Pop-Up Toilet Company team arrived on Monday morning and were finished by Friday afternoon!”