Wooden Metsola Day Care Centre

The wooden Metsola Day Care Centre in the Rajamäki district of Nurmijärvi required seamless cooperation and solid wood construction innovation. Effective project management gave everyone the chance to get on with their work and focus on a high-quality end result.

The day care centre, due to be completed in late 2020, is designed by LPV-Arkkitehdit and represents a new kind of architecture. The shape of the two-storey wooden building follows the triangular ridge surrounded by old trees. The load-bearing structure is reminiscent of traditional timber construction. 

”The building frame consist of solid wood CLT elements, meaning that the exterior walls require no separate thermal insulation,” explains Sweco’s Project Manager Susanna Friman, who was in charge of the structural and element design of wood product components. The solution provides all the advantages of using homogenous materials. “A breathing wooden structure enables healthy and safe indoor conditions.” 

Wood has indeed become increasingly popular in the construction of day care centres and schools in recent years. ”Wood is an increasingly viable option for avoiding indoor air problems,” Friman emphasises. Wooden buildings also help with carbon sequestration. “Wood construction is in itself an environmental accomplishment.” 

Innovation through demanding wood construction 

Commonly used standard solutions are not available for wooden construction, so creating new structural alternatives is necessary in nearly every project. 

”The Metsola project required the designers and wood product component suppliers to develop new types of structures,” says Sweco’s Department Manager Petri Kokkonen, who was in charge of the structural design supervision and inspection. 

The wood element supplier Kuninkaankylän Puurakentajat has solid experience in the new wave of wooden construction that uses solid wood. The company considers wood to be the number one construction material. 

”Responsible construction has always been the key reason we focus on CLT elements,” explains CEO Jyrki Huttunen. ”We started CLT construction with small plastic-free wooden houses, but the projects have clearly increased in size. Wood element construction is on the rise.” 

Structures and technology tied together at the same table 

Sweco’s wood structure designers were in charge of the structural and element design that included the coordination of wooden and concrete structures. All design solutions took the needs of the wood element supplier into account. 

”Good design alone is not enough, as for us the most important thing is to receive the wood element designs on time,” Huttunen emphasises. Experienced designers are also important. ”It is easy to work with experienced wooden structure designers because they think in the same way as we do and speak the same language.” 

Experience helps designers transfer best practices from one project to another. ”We have noticed that, even in the digital age, it is important to meet at the same table to make the big decisions concerning projects,” Friman points out. 

One of the prerequisites of project success was to discuss functional solutions face to face with representatives from different design fields. ”For example, it was important to know the exact locations of the electrical installations on the CLT elements. Each case was discussed individually,” Kokkonen explains. 

Project management always available 

One of the cornerstones of the Metsola Day Care Centre project was strong project management. Friman ensured that the wood product component suppliers received the information and answers they needed quickly and directly from her. 

”This allowed the designers to get on with their own work,” Friman says. Project management staff utilised the Last Planner tool, which allows the project to be split into weekly tasks. The designers were also able to influence the scheduling of different tasks. ”The systematic approach created great benefits with relatively small investment.” 

According to wood element supplier Jyrki Huttunen, Sweco’s project management skills, effective communication and fast responses were the most important reasons why the project stayed on schedule. There were only three months in which to design the wood product components. 

”It was down to the effective project management that we were able to stay on schedule and within budget,” Huttunen emphasises. ”It was a great and rare thing that we received the designs right on time and that the project manager contacted us separately about them!” 

Regional Director Sami Klami from the main contractor Oy Rakennuspartio had a similar experience of the project: “Positive spirit and professional designers guaranteed great cooperation.”