Case #1 Heka-Puotila Oy, Helsinki
How we carried out a resident-friendly sewerage network renovation in a property with over 300 homes
Heka-Puotila Oy is responsible for the property and maintenance management of 2,470 leased homes owned by the City of Helsinki and located in eastern Helsinki. The company employs 30 members of staff. Its objective is to provide comfortable, safe and affordable housing and to maintain the value of properties.
Client: Heka-Puotila Oy
Property: 7 apartment blocks, 40 stairwells, 323 apartments in Puotila, Helsinki
Year of construction: 1962
Lining carried out: 2011–2013 (mainly in 2012)
Designed by: TeknoPlan Oy
Supervised by: TeknoPlan Oy
Task: Lining of vertical drains and branches
“There’s not too much argument against the need for a piping renovation in a 50 year old residential building. Even though some of the drainage pipes were still in usable condition, the majority were at the end of their service life. Emergency repairs had to be carried out at increasing frequency and in more and more difficult-to-reach places. We also began to see a worrying amount of blockages in the pipes,” says Matti Tiikkaja, Heka-Puotila Oy’s work manager responsible for the Heka-Puotila piping renovation projects.
The Puotila apartments which were due for piping renovation underwent basic renovation in 1994, when the floor drains and domestic hot water pipes were replaced. Now the vertical drains and pipes leading in to them were due a renovation. The condition of the ground sewer was satisfactory, so it was not included in the project. The piping renovation was planned carefully and put out to tender. Such a large contract attracted lots of interest. Repipe Oy was chosen as the contractor for the job.
“Renovation one stairwell at a time”
When there are over 300 apartments in a property, detailed advance planning is the only way to ensure success in such a demanding and long-term project. Repipe decided to progress one stairwell at a time as its operating method. This meant that the project was manageable and disruption to residents was kept to a minimum.
One stairwell contains three vertical drains, from which pipes branch off into kitchens and bathrooms. Apartments in one stairwell were under construction for around two weeks, during which drains could not be used for a week. Residents were provided with composting toilets and shower facilities were organised in the building’s sauna area. In practice, most customers moved out temporarily during the lining work.
Repipe’s engineers always completed one stairwell in full before moving on to the next. Work progressed constantly and there was no unnecessary back-and-forth movement between sites. During traditional line renovations, there can sometimes be confusion about what’s going on, but there was no such atmosphere on this job.
“From a client’s perspective, the method of progressing one stairwell at a time is the best solution. Individual sites are seen through to completion one at a time and residents aren’t bothered with construction men running in and out of their apartments for weeks on end. “Of course, it requires the contractor to have cast-iron professional skills in project management,” says Matti Tiikkaja.
Repipe kept well within the agreed schedule. In some apartments, the opening of structures was unavoidable. There were also some changes concerning sections of piping with quite sharp bends. For these sections, Repipe built its own special tools. For the most complex branches, Repipe constructed precisely-dimensioned branch reinforcements. They help to ensure the quality of the lining: waterproof and smooth.
“Customer feedback on this project was entirely positive. We were kept well informed and Repipe took the initiative and found solutions to any surprises that cropped up with a direct, product-development attitude,” says Tiikkaja.