Wooden prefabricated elements a quick solution for additional space at schools
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