IFD building catalyst for circularity and accessibility

(January 20, 2023)

In the period 2025-2035, provinces and municipalities face a major task of expanding and replacing bridges, viaducts, underpasses and culverts.

The total task is estimated at €9 billion. Commissioned by the province of North Holland and Bouwend Nederland, the Economic Institute for Construction (EIB) has carried out an analysis of the potential for IFD construction (Industrial, Flexible and Demountable) in this task.

What is Industrial Flexible and Demountable Building (IFD)? Click on the video for an explanation. .

Opportunities IFD

The EIB lists 4 factors for the success of IFD construction: the functionality (in the sense of standard) of the design, the technical conditions, the lifetime of various components and the traffic intensity. A functional design provides opportunities for standardization and prefabrication of e.g. bridge basements, abutments and columns of bridges and viaducts. This brings important benefits, such as lower design costs and fewer failure costs. There is less traffic nuisance for the surrounding area due to shorter construction time and the construction is circular because the standard elements can be reused.

The most important conclusions from the report are that IFD holds potential for approx. € 3 billion of the total task, IFD makes an important contribution to a circular construction economy and that IFD can contribute to a shorter construction time with less traffic disruption. The implementation of IFD requires good cooperation between decentralized authorities and the innovative capacity of the market. Read the full report (pdf, 1.24 MB) for more information.

Jeroen Olthof, Deputy of the Province of North Holland for Accessibility and Mobility: “The Province of North Holland is a leader in IFD construction. From now on, we will apply it to all our fixed and movable bridges. With IFD, we save on raw materials and design costs. Maintenance and replacement are faster, so there is less harm to the environment. In short: IFD is sustainable and cost-effective and most effective if all road authorities use it. So let’s do this too. Together we are investing in a circular future.”


On Wednesday 18 January 2023, Bouwend Nederland chairman Maxime Verhagen and Jeroen Olthof presented the report to Jaap Smit, chairman of the IPO (Interprovincial Consultation).

“IFD seems amazingly simple and effective. By making it less complex, it ensures that the task of replacing bridges and viaducts is successful. Also circular and ultimately at lower costs. I understand that on a larger scale, IFD is the key to accelerate. Mass is needed for this,” says Jaap Smit.

Maxime Verhagen: “The construction industry is ready to standardize more and not to approach each work of art as a unique project. A multi-year programmatic approach initially requires additional investment. Apply this broadly so that market participants can recoup these extra investments. Ultimately, it leads to satisfied builders, satisfied customers and a satisfied environment. I encourage customers to stop going for the lowest price alone. Just put the tasks on the table and the market can come to work with them together with the customers.”

What now?

Actions are necessary for the further development and use of IFD:

  1. Association of enterprising customers and market parties. A concrete market perspective is important in order to initiate further investments from the market parties.
  2. Making extra budget available. The analysis shows that there are not sufficient resources available to use IFD.
  3. With quick gains, positive effects can be achieved quickly. Initial results from parties launching IFD projects on the market now and in the coming years offer the prospect of continuation and refinement.
  4. Monitoring of practical examples that provide insight into experience. In this way, successes and pitfalls can be shared between the various parties.

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