Competent cost accounting and quantity surveying created confidence in the modernisation of a Helsinki property

Sweco’s experts carried out the cost accounting and quantity surveying for the modernisation project of KOy Helsingin Uudenmaankatu 16–20. The cost estimate by experienced accountants and surveyors created an atmosphere of trust in the extensive alliance project.


Commission: modernisation cost accounting and quantity surveying, 2018




Client: Kiinteistö Oy Uudenmaankatu 16–20 

Scope: gross 19,520 m2 

The modernisation of the office and commercial building, originally built by Sanoma Oy in 1968, started in the summer of 2019. The office premises of the property located in the centre of Helsinki will be renovated in two stages and the commercial premises one space at a time. 

‘The project has progressed on schedule and within the budget from the development phase to the first implementation phase, which will be completed in the summer of 2021,’ says Sami Koskela, CEO of Uudenmaan Projektinjohtopalvelut Oy. 

The starting point for the renovation is to improve the adaptability of the office building. ‘During the modernisation of the building services and building technology, all technology and interior surfaces will be renewed and all light partition walls will be dismantled,’ says Tiina Kipinäinen, head of quantity management at Sweco. At the same time, the roof covering insulation will be renewed and new social facilities will be added to the underground car parks. 

The calculations progressed from a model floor to the entire building 

The speciality of the project was that the cost accounting and quantity surveying was first carried out on the 4th floor of the building, i.e. the model floor, and only later on the entire building. ‘The plans for the site were at such a good level that we didn’t have to make any guesses,’ Kipinäinen praises. 

Sweco’s price lists were utilised in the pricing of the site’s bill of quantities. ‘The price information must be adjusted site-specifically as needed, in which case we utilise the internet and databases, enquire from equipment suppliers and study the RATU file,’ describes Heikki Haveri, Sweco’s senior cost specialist. ‘For example, formwork and the materials it requires cost a certain amount per square metre in the price list, but the total amount of formwork affects the unit price.’ 

The calculations also require experience. Often, cost items that are missing from the bill of quantities are also added to the cost estimate. ‘On Uudenmaankatu, the cost estimate based on the bill of quantities was supplemented with a price estimate for building services,’ Haveri says. 

Successful calculations build trust between the parties 

According to the project’s manager Sami Koskela, properly managed cost accounting and quantity surveying create many benefits for the project, the most important of which is building trust. 

‘We first calculated the cost of the project ourselves and ordered comparative calculations from Sweco. This allowed us to increase the alliance group’s trust in the fact that the cost targets are appropriate,’ Koskela says. The calculations went through strict screening. ‘The calculations were also evaluated in the organisations of the owner, contractors, architect and building services engineers.’ 

The grand total of the cost estimates was the same in both calculations. Indeed, the main aim of the comparison was to find small differences. ‘We were most interested in the differences in the details because this showed us what we should still examine more closely.’ 

According to Koskela, well-managed cost accounting and quantity surveying are an effective way to avoid difficulties. ‘If the cost accounting fails, the project could be postponed by a year or two due to a lack of trust. In the worst case, the mistakes can be millions of euros!’ 

Koskela emphasises that the experience of cost accountants and quantity surveyors brings important added value for the client. ‘When the accountants and surveyors have extensive experience of previous projects, they understand how something will be carried out even if it hasn’t yet been specified in the drawings. Experienced accountants and surveyors are also able to allocate enough time for going through the choices made with the client in addition to the calculations.’ 

Good team spirit evident at all stages 

The team spirit of the alliance project has been good from the beginning. ‘We are all guarding our common coffers and have managed to avoid working in silos. We help each other across job and corporate boundaries,’ says Koskela with satisfaction. 

 The different parties met at the same table even before the cost accounting and quantity surveying. ‘We made sure as early as the initial meeting that we would calculate the quantities in a way that would benefit the main contractor Consti the most,’ Kipinäinen emphasises. Quantity surveying and cost accounting analyses were carried out at the request of the client according to both the different sections and the floors of the property. ‘Requests for additional analyses are common in renovation projects, but now we got everything right at once. It’s good to agree on things in advance!’ 

The good team spirit has also produced concrete results. ‘We have achieved a better quality result than planned and at lower costs,’ Koskela says. 

"We first calculated the cost of the project ourselves and ordered comparative calculations from Sweco. This allowed us to increase the alliance group’s trust in the fact that the cost targets are appropriate."
Sami Koskela, UPJ