Building reconstruction – an integrated approach
When planning reconstruction works we should prioritise an integrated approach even when we want to execute the work in parts. Why is it important and what should we focus on when planning and commissioning renovation works? CEO of Conberg Ehitus, Ert Soasepp is specialised in building reconstruction and construction and he shares some expert advice.
Often we come up to situations when reconstruction works have started and a new facade or roof has been commissioned, but there is no integrated project plan. As a result, the construction works have been executed in a way that further reconstruction is considerably more complex and expensive. Most bizarre are cases where current works have not taken into account the future need to replace utility networks such as water, sewage, rainwater or heating pipeworks or electricity, communications, or solar panel cabling.
Therefore it is important that when you commission a project, the structural solutions are designed based on thorough building expertise, taking into account the most up-to-date and actual condition of the existing building. Through expertise, we will find out which parts of the building should stay intact, which parts should be demolished or reconstructed, and what are the most feasible reconstruction solutions. An integrated project is the only way to ensure high and long-lasting building quality.
Choice of building materials used in reconstruction determines its profitability
Profits from reconstructing a building depend largely on the right choice of building materials. Unfortunately, people tend to base their choices solely on cheap prices or advice on product information booklets. It is not always as simple as that. These are general and standardized instructions and it is impossible to write in detail of all specifications. Thus, these instructions cannot be used as a base for working solutions. In addition to instruction manuals, you need expert knowledge to properly assess the condition of the building and consultations with the technical support team of material manufacturers. Conberg Ehitus OÜ works together with many experts to coordinate solutions related to construction materials. Also, we have long experience in construction and we have learned that there are materials that are not suitable nor durable in the Estonian climate.
For some buildings that have restrictions on design and building by the local municipality or National Heritage Board, it is nearly impossible to meet the thermal transmittance standards which are also required as part of the main conditions when applying for the Kredex Foundation support. For instance, in order to maintain the historical external appearance, we are not allowed to install insulation that exceeds the thickness of 20-30mm. Because of these situations, we have reached the new generation insulation materials, which in a 20-30mm thick layer provide the same thermal transmittance as the usual 200mm wool insulation. Our latest finds include nano paint, of which 1-2mm layer equals 50mm wool insulation thermal resistance.
Correct and and actual documentation is a must for reconstruction works
In order to achieve high-quality final results in building reconstruction, we need strong project management, responsible and experienced team of construction workers, and regular construction supervision. All parties of the object must understand the aim, conditions, and what aspects are checked. If conditions are not agreed upon then it could lead to chaotic construction works and the final quality is difficult to assess.
When choosing your contractor, you should examine the standards of the company’s project management and the competence of the project manager. It is good to know if there is a plan, schedule, quality instructions, and systematic quality control to manage the construction works of an object. Also important are construction workers who have experience in reconstruction works and up to date documentation of the actual situation.
Construction faults could lead to serious consequences
Problems arise when people want to take the reconstruction works of a building into their own hands or seek freelance workers to execute construction. People might have the skills to install materials, but they lack the necessary education, training, and technical knowledge of building physics. Due to incompetence or unawareness, there could be excess humidity inside of the building and condensation water leakages inside the building structures, leading to the growth of fungi. Fungi damages building structures and in time the results are irreversible, the structures might suffer a loss of load-bearing capacity or the entire building needs major repairs to eliminate the fungi which pose a threat to people’s health. It is a construction fault, and as a rule, insurance companies do not compensate for these losses.
There could be other problems. For example, if during construction, fire safety rules are not followed, the local municipality does not authorize the use of the building. In order to receive authorization, one must eliminate shortcomings and build according to regulations, but this could mean the demolition of previous work and reconstruction. In the Estonian building sector, there are unfortunate cases where documentation has been drawn up just to get authorization, but documents do not reflect the actual state of the object and the inspector does not have access to check if the closed structures meet the requirements. This activity is useful for the contractor, who dodges remaking faulty works. However, inhabitants of the building will suffer, and in case of an emergency, they might not be able to evacuate since there is nothing to hold off a fire that is spreading rapidly. Fire safety requirements are in place to save lives.
Experienced contractor provides a firm warranty on their work
Since 2005 Conberg Ehitus OÜ has specialized in the reconstruction and construction of new buildings. We have reconstructed thousands of square meters of private houses and buildings, including those where we have restrictions on design and building because of the historical and cultural specifications of the area and the need to preserve their state. This means everyday cooperation with heritage protection specialists and local municipalities.
Our company offers integrated and comprehensive service, which includes building expertise, design, applying for building permits, and executing construction works alongside the required construction documentation. When the construction is finished, we apply for authorization to use the building and compile reports for the National Heritage Board. If it is needed, our specialists at Conberg Ehitus can help you out in the process of applying for KredEx support, in order to receive positive decisions in a reasonable time and without any major hindrances.
Our competent team will find the best solution for our Client in every situation, be it old or new generation materials. Commissioning Conberg Ehitus will guarantee a high-quality building service. We have developed our company project management model and our construction team consists of workers who have more than 10 years of experience in the construction sector.
Relying on our previous practice, we offer a 3-year warranty on our works, ensuring our client feels confident and we receive feedback on our works to further grow and develop even more effective solutions. Our company has insurance for both construction and maintenance period, in other words, 36 months after the finalization of construction works, to ensure the protection of the Client’s property and investment. Our mission is to offer our clients cultural, high quality, and comprehensive construction service with a higher objective to reach a trust-based partnership. Our vision is to be the first choice for clients who appraise the value and preferred employer amongst effective workers.