Beach maintenance in Barcelona's Metropolitan Area


In the past, management of the facility maintenance and cleaning service for beaches in the metropolitan area of Barcelona was handled by each of the municipalities independently.

Given the potential benefits that could come from an integrated management of the entire coastline due to its morphology, the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) began managing these tasks on behalf of the City Councils.

AMB awarded the contracts of beach facility maintenance and beach cleaning to two different private companies.


The AMB and 8 city councils signed an agreement in which the AMB would be responsible for:

Provision and supply, installation, maintenance, cleaning, repair, and replacement of the beach street furniture installed by the AMB and its removal out of season, if necessary
Maintenance, cleaning, and repair of the elements not installed by the AMB, if so agreed
Cleaning of the beaches (not in Barcelona)

The agreements also included:

Cleaning the sand and collecting trash from the beach (not in the case of Barcelona)
Sanitary control and monitoring of sand quality (not in Barcelona)
Maintenance, assembly, and dismantling of the public address system.

An important argument in defense of both inter-municipal cooperation and the outsourcing of services is the potential exploitation of economies of scale by private companies and/or supra-municipal entities. Additionally, outsourcing the services allows to introduce competition for the contract.

SDG Impact:

SDG 3: Good health and well-being. The good maintenance of furniture and high beach cleaning standards helps beach users to improve health and wellbeing.

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation. The goal is achieved through the cleaning of sand in beaches.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth. The contracts creates job positions to carry out these services (maintenance & cleaning)

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure. With this contract the metropolitan area beaches upgrade its public capital stock improving users beach experience and satisfaction.

SDG 15: Life on land. The project, by cleaning beaches, helps to restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, and halt biodiversity loss.

SDG 17:   Partnerships for the goals. The private sector participation allows the integration of the task, reducing operation cost while making a more efficient use of public resources. Additionally, the public sector transfers the operation risk to the private sector.

Compliance with UNECE People-first PPP criteria:

The project:

  • Improves users’ experiences in the AMB beaches as the project improves service quality by the integration of tasks.
  • Improves public health by setting sand cleaning standards.
  • Increases availability of public funds for other programs, such as social ones, resulting from savings derived from the efficiency gains of the integrated maintenance contract.


More information


This case study aspires to be People-first Public-Private Partnerships project and is published as received from the proponents.