Headquarters of the Supreme Audit Office: building net-zero-energy innovation

Public nZEB buildings case study
Building type
Project type
New Construction

New headquarters of the Supreme Audit Office in Prague © NKÚ

The Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic (or NKÚ in Czech) decided to build its first permanent headquarters reusing a brownfield site in the centre of Prague. This new project would also host the Parliamentary Library, the Archive of the Chamber of Deputies (part of the Czech Parliament) and a depositary capacity for archival documents.

How was the building procured?

Three tenders were published: one for the principal architect, one for the civil engineering company and one for the construction company. In total, it was worth a value of EUR  36,253,900 (ca CZK 820,000,000) (21% VAT included).

The tenders for the architect and the civil engineer company included quality award criteria to assess the experience of the architect with Building Information Modelling, as well as with Design-Build experience. Two market consultations were carried out before launching the construction tender and over 150 companies were invited to share their views with regard to the Design-Build methodology. In addition to technical specifications related to that method, bidders were asked for a quality management system in accordance with ISO 9001 series, or an environmental management certificate in accordance with ISO 14001, and to develop a life cycle cost (LCC) over a period of 30 years.

What are the key nZEB features?

The new headquarters exemplifies the concept of nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEB), including features such as:

  • Smart heating-cooling system using thermo-hydraulic solutions. The system will be supplemented by heat recovery, stored in the summer season.
  • Green roofs that bring additional thermal insulation.
  • Optimised façade designs to minimise energy consumption and enhance indoor environmental quality.

These innovations align with the SAO’s commitment to environmental sustainability and resource efficiency.

Did the project have an impact on skills?

To ensure that the project meets its objectives, the technical specifications asked that the architects and the core team has experience with designing using Building Information Modelling or BIM. It also required that the core team are qualified and have experience in the civil construction sector. The public authority also conducted two premiliary market consultations with over 150 companies to inform them about this complex project. By enaging the market prior to launching the tender and embedding competence requirement in the tender, the Contracting Authority stimulated demand for certain construction skills.

The good contract management and communication between the contracting authority and the companies is also remarkable, which led to other environmental benefits during the construction process.

Keywords: Sustainable and Innovation Procurement, Nearly Zero-Energy Building (nZEB), Building Information Modeling (BIM), Skills Development, Office, Community Integration, Supreme Audit Office (SAO), Prague, Czech Republic.

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