Construction11.10.2011

Wooden apartment block nearly finished

The wooden apartment block is also highly eco-efficient.

The wooden apartment block is also highly eco-efficient.

Nail guns are popping and sawdust is flying. Finland’s Nail guns are popping and sawdust is flying. Finland’s tallest wooden apartment block is being built in Vierumäki, Heinola. The building’s exterior is being finalised and interior work is in full swing. The first residents will be able to move in before Christmas.

In early September the exterior of the wooden apartment block looked pretty much ready. Work on the interior was still in progress. In most apartments the walls were already painted, kitchens installed and bathrooms tiled. In other words, the most time-consuming phases were over.

- Installation of the elements took longer than planned, but we’ve made up for lost time in the interior. There is no fixed completion date, but we’re pretty much on schedule, says Janne Inkinen, Development Engineer with Koskisen Timber Construction.

Waiting for the next one

With Koskisen’s and Herrala Houses’ first wooden apartment block project nearly finished, it raises the question of when the next one is due to start. Inkinen hopes it will be soon, while the current one is still fresh in mind. According to him, Koskisen is ready to tackle another similar project. With the production of Herrala Houses’ small prefabricated elements concentrating on the summer season, it would be ideal to be manufacturing elements for apartment blocks during the winter.

- Overall, the first apartment block project has been very informative and we will be wiser in many issues when the next project of the same scale presents itself. In terms of the entire project, it would make sense to prefabricate the exterior wall elements even further, Inkinen reckons.

There are plans to include a separate space within Herrala Houses’ production facilities for the manual manufacture of the exterior wall elements of apartment blocks. This would also enable the manufacture of larger elements.

- Larger elements may make both the engineering and installation easier and faster, Inkinen points out.

Eco-efficiency

The other builders, in addition to Koskisen, are the City of Heinola, Versowood Oy and the main contractor for the site, Rakennusliike Reponen. According to Inkinen, the project has boosted co-operation between the different operators, which has run smoothly in every respect.

- Planning and project management play a key role in these kinds of joint projects. The work has progressed smoothly from one phase to another under the expert management of Rakennusliike Reponen, the main contractor.

The block integrates materials and construction methods in a new way, and the energy consumption of the eco-efficient building will equal the level of a passive building. The building will be heated with district heating produced with renewable fuels. In addition to the building’s facade, wood is also visible in the posts, beams and stairs of the stairwell and balconies.

- Comparable apartment-block wall element structures would also be suitable for other low-energy-level buildings with a fire class of P3 and P2, such as institutions, and assembly and business premises. This could be the next big market opportunity,” Inkinen concludes.