‘Later in life I want to look back on PPP projects with societal impact’

Clio Hans

My name is Clio Hans and I’ve been a legal manager at BAM PPP in Belgium for 1.5 year now. In this role I am involved in the development of coherent contractual structures during the tendering stage of public-private partnership projects. In addition I provide legal support to PPP project teams in the realisation and maintenance stages. It’s my job to ensure that all involved understand the meaning of the contract.

Everyone’s guide through the contract

At the moment I’m working on a tender for a prison complex. On the basis of standardised questionnaires we have taken stock of the risks, the impact of which we discuss in weekly meetings. Another purpose of these meetings is to test our mutual expectations. Because of the financing there are often wide-ranging obligations with regard to risk mitigation, which may not be immediately clear to all involved. Projects like these can get very complicated, with specifications and contracts covering up to 150 pages of fine print. Where necessary, I can guide all parties through the complexities.

Open dialogue for constructive collaboration

The way to reach a balanced contract is to see things from the viewpoint of the other party. If everyone is prepared to do that, there can be an open dialogue, which makes it much easier to reach a joint result. My role in this process is to ensure an adequate legal structure and to encourage constructive collaboration.

I listen carefully, always trying to understand the different angles. Should discussions stall at some point, that understanding can help to find a way forward. Similarly in the case of any disputes during the realisation or maintenance stages, it’s important to find out what the original intention behind the contract was. Situations are never black or white, the solution is always somewhere in the grey.

Projects that make the world a little better

It’s a privilege to be working with specialists in the fields of technology, finance and insurance. It helps me broaden my knowledge in a way that I like to put to use in PPP projects that fill a genuine societal need. Projects that aim to develop alternative energy sources, for instance, or eco-friendly means of transportation, or alternative methods of waste management. The intellectual challenge of this work is highly motivating, but it’s even more energising to be involved in projects with a great societal impact. Those are the ones I hope to be able to look back on later in life.