Wooden pre­fab­ri­cated el­e­ments a quick so­lu­tion for ad­di­tional space at schools

Australasian Timber - - WOODTECH -

TIM­BER-FRAMED mod­ule and pre­fab­ri­cated el­e­ment en­gi­neer­ing is a fast-grow­ing so­lu­tion for pub­lic con­struc­tion in Fin­land. Cities and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have dis­cov­ered that tim­ber-framed mo­du­lar units on fi­nance leas­ing are the best so­lu­tion for ur­gent space re­quire­ments when build­ing schools, day-care cen­tres or shel­tered hous­ing for the el­derly. The foun­da­tions of these mov­able build­ings are quick to build and the el­e­ments are easy to trans­port and quick to in­stall on site.

“For the city of Espoo, the cru­cial fac­tor in choos­ing tim­ber-framed el­e­ments was the speed of the con­struc­tion and the fact that the in­dus­trial pre­fab­ri­ca­tion of the com­po­nents pro­duces an ex­act re­sult in dry fac­tory con­di­tions,” says Esko Halmes­mäki, Project Man­ager at the City of Espoo.

Ac­cord­ing to Ele­men­tit-E Oy’s Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Veli Hyyryläi­nen, build­ings con­structed us­ing mo­du­lar en­gi­neer­ing meet all the build­ing codes and are equiv­a­lent to per­ma­nent build­ings.

“Mo­du­lar en­gi­neer­ing re­quires a strong struc­ture be­cause the build­ing has to be mov­able, and guar­an­tee­ing that the el­e­ments fit well to­gether re­quires great di­men­sional ac­cu­racy. The num­ber one com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage of mo­du­lar con­struc­tion is its speed and the main­te­nance sup­port per­for­mance the cus­tomer re­ceives.”

This new con­struc­tion prac­tice is also based on the fact that cities and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties rent the school premises for a def­i­nite time from the com­pany sup­ply­ing the el­e­ments. Es­pe­cially school and day-care cen­tre con­struc­tion are fields where tem­po­rary and ad­di­tional premises are re­quired ur­gently due to ren­o­va­tion or an in­crease in school pop­u­la­tion. Ad­van­tages of speed and time­li­ness The schools are im­ple­mented as move­able spa­ces whose de­signed ser­vice life as rented premises spans from five to 20 years. Later, the build­ings can be moved to a new place. This is a very prac­ti­cal and cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion for cities and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, as they don’t need to tie up cap­i­tal in the build­ing.

“In the fi­nance leas­ing model, the city or mu­nic­i­pal­ity can then con­tinue rent­ing, use the call op­tion and ac­quire the premises for them­selves at an af­ford­able price. If they don’t have a use for the premises, we buy them back at their resid­ual value,” Hyyryläi­nen ex­plained.

Ac­cord­ing to Hyyryläi­nen, one of the most im­por­tant ad­van­tages of tim­ber con­struc­tion with el­e­ments is the dry chain. “With our turnkey con­tract, we en­sure weather pro­tec­tion and im­ple­ment the con­struc­tion dry chain from start to fin­ish. We bring the ready mod­ules to the con­struc­tion site well packed and weather pro­tected and only in­stall in dry weather.

“Our con­struc­tion process is a lo­gis­tic sys­tem where bring­ing the mod­ules to the cramped con­struc­tion site is care­fully co­or­di­nated with in­stal­la­tion. The 700 square me­tre Matinkylä school in Espoo was put up in just four days and the whole school was com­pleted in two months.”

Turnkey project sys­tem en­sures qual­ity

Hyyryläi­nen ex­plains that the com­pany utilises the turnkey project prin­ci­ple in its con­struc­tion. This en­sures that the project pro­gresses ac­cord­ing to Ele­men­tit-E Oy’s proven sys­tem.

“To guar­an­tee the turnkey project sys­tem, we form a net­work in the lo­cal­ity with the other com­pa­nies in­volved and within this net­work we im­ple­ment the whole project from de­sign to heat­ing, plumb­ing and air con­di­tion­ing and from elec­tri­cal in­stal­la­tion to fi­nal in­stal­la­tion and com­mis­sion­ing the premises to the cus­tomer on a turnkey ba­sis.

“When a cus­tomer wants the turnkey project to re­sult in an en­ergy ef­fi­cient, draught-proof build­ing with ven­ti­la­tion and elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing that are guar­an­teed to work, we su­per­vise the whole project and the func­tion­al­ity of the end prod­uct. There are sev­eral in­di­vid­ual com­po­nent sup­pli­ers in Fin­land, and there­fore the con­struc­tion risk arises from the assem­bly of the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents and fit­ting them to­gether. This risk can be elim­i­nated by ap­ply­ing a com­pre­hen­sive turnkey project sys­tem,” Hyyryläi­nen says.

Healthy, safe and eco­log­i­cal build­ings

Ac­cord­ing to Halmes­mäki, the eco­log­i­cal goals of con­struc­tion are a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor when choos­ing the mode of build­ing. “The cur­rent so­cial di­a­logue, the city’s own tar­gets and con­sumers’ aware­ness of the whole life­cy­cle of con­struc­tion is guid­ing buy­ers in a more eco­log­i­cal direc­tion.”

“Eco­log­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly as­pects must be taken into ac­count more and more in con­struc­tion. Also, the user’s per­spec­tive must be con­sid­ered more and more right from the plan­ning and de­sign stage, es­pe­cially when the build­ing will be used as a preschool, day-care cen­tre or school,” Halmes­mäki says.

700 square me­tre school put up in four days

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