We received practically feasible suggestions for moisture control

Fira renovated the Pasilanportti office building, located next to the Mall of Tripla, to be used by the insurance company Fennia. The contractor wanted to coordinate moisture control with a partner who would surely ensure good indoor conditions for the future users of the office building.

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When the seven-floor Pasilanportti building was transferred from Tekes to Fennia, the building was completely dismantled from the inside. Fennia wanted the changes to the facilities to support its organisation culture; e.g. new, wooden-surface negotiation rooms were built in the main lobby. Thanks to the new glass walls, the open-plan offices also have a direct view of the lobby. Fira wanted to involve a skilled moisture and quality control expert in the project, even if the law did not require it at the time. 

“We needed to protect our reputation, above all,” says Pekka Kavén, Fira’s Site Manager. He believes that an independent consultant brings extra reliability to a project. “An independent consultant has no other interests besides verifying that everything has been done as agreed. Their employees supervise the site and report anomalies in a professional manner. I respect their way of doing business.” 

Co-operation to find suitable methods 

The consultants participated in the preparation of the contractor’s moisture and cleanliness control plans, and toured the site regularly in the implementation stage. 

”Often, our expertise is needed the most when the solutions defined by designers need to function in practice,” says Miika Virtanen, Sweco’s Quality Assurance Manager. The most critical matter is moisture control during the construction works. “The structures need to dry out efficiently.” The roof of the lobby lounge with concrete poured on top of metal plates was one of the challenges. “The concrete had to be extremely dry since a dense woven mat would be installed on top of it. Together, we figured out how to make the drying more effective so that the project stayed on schedule.” 

A moisture control coordinator knows that avoiding even a single case of water damage saves both time and money. “One of our great successes was that we managed to prevent rainwater from entering the building when the old wall was demolished and the new glass wall was built,” Virtanen says. Another important matter was the sealing of the exterior walls. “We carried out several airproofing tests and tracer compound experiments. Finally, we came up with a sufficiently robust method of attaching moisture barrier film to the concrete.” 

The project stayed on schedule and within the budget. “It’s all thanks to our co-operation,” Kavén says. “When a consultant is supervising the moisture conditions, we can confidently move from one stage to the next according to plan.” 

Correct choices were confirmed in the end 

When the building was handed over to its owner, Sweco’s experts inspected the ventilation settings and the cleanliness of the air ducts to prevent dust issues during use. “Our most important job was ensuring that the building is safe and healthy for its users,” Virtanen emphasises. 

The report of a moisture control coordinator is an official document stating that the necessary matters have been taken into account during construction. “For us, the report is a critical part of the handover materials, with which we communicate to the client that everything has been done correctly. Fennia hasn’t had any trouble with indoor air quality after the renovation,” Kavén states, delighted. 

Attitudes have changed in 10 years 

Today, both constructors and property owners have a shared interest in avoiding indoor air problems beforehand, which makes consultants’ work easier. “In the past, people may have seen our work as an unnecessary extra cost, but attitudes have changed in recent years,” Virtanen says. Climate change has an impact, as well. “Conditions are increasingly challenging when the weather in Finland may be wet throughout the year. This sets new requirements for structures.” 

Kavén has also noticed the changes during the past 5 or 10 years. ”Everyone at worksites has started to think seriously about moisture.” This is one of the reasons why Fira has made an annual agreement with Sweco. ”Miika gives us practically feasible suggestions for solutions that can be implemented at the worksites. He’s very down to earth!” 

Kavén also values the methods used by Sweco in moisture measurements. “The test specimen measurement, which has been in use for a long time, is the only method that provides reliable results quickly. Our trust in measurers increases when they use effective methods.”