Project management in school renovations often demands comprehensive BIM and moisture control competence
Each year, Sweco acts as project manager and supervisor in 3 to 5 school and educational institution projects across Finland. In Helsinki in recent years, our specialists have participated in the renovation of Vesala Comprehensive School, Töölö Comprehensive School Lower Stage and Botby Comprehensive School.
“Botby is an excellent example of a school project that involves the renovation of an extensively protected building combined with new construction,” explains Sweco’s Area Manager Ari Salminen. The biggest challenge in the renovation of Töölö Comprehensive School was its location in the Helsinki city centre. “Another challenge was that teaching was continued throughout the project.”
Modern and healthy facilities
In addition to municipalities and cities, we offer project management services to private schools and upper secondary education institutions. “In Lahti, for example, we have renovated several private schools. The extensive renovation of Salpausselkä School included the renewal of the entire building services system,” Salminen says.
The projects make extensive use of BIM-based design. “A building information model allows us to take the views and needs of different project parties into account in design,” Salminen states. “By using BIM-based design, we can ensure for our part that users receive modern and comfortable learning environments.”
Many renovated schools also have indoor air problems, meaning that project management must have extensive competence in quality and indoor air condition control. “Moisture control specialist tasks and other inspection tasks are an important part of current school projects,” Salminen explains.
Openness and collective spirit are the cornerstones of school projects
School projects are usually finalised on schedule and on budget, since the client and the users are integrated closely in the project group. “It all starts with openness and trust,” Salminen emphasises. “The best results are reached when the clients and users are also committed to the implementation of the project.”
Cooperation on many levels ensures that the educational institutions receive versatile and functional facilities that serve the new curriculum. “Our task is to ensure that the project pays attention to the correct issues. This means that costs are kept in check as well.”
Sustainable urban construction evident in schools of the future
Most of the schools that are now being renovated were built in the 1960s and 1970s, so modernisation has a significant impact on the buildings’ energy efficiency and maintenance needs. “The upkeep and maintenance costs of real estate usually decrease together with the energy costs,” Salminen summarises.
In many renovated schools, the heating systems are partially replaced with renewable energy. New construction also relies on renewable energy as much as possible.
“A great example is the Salpaus Further Education VIPU 5 project, in which both geothermal heating systems and solar panels were incorporated in the two new buildings,” Salminen explains. “Another important frontrunner in responsible school construction is the Laune multipurpose centre.”