Building the future: Renovate properly – a new guide to renovation

When well-executed, renovation brings a number of benefits to the users and owners of buildings. A published guide presents the latest information for those intending to perform renovations and outlines the benefits – such as comfort, long-term energy savings and retention of a property’s value – of highly improved thermal insulation levels.

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, but when renovation is needed, it is worth doing it properly. Renovations present an opportunity to markedly improve a range of factors affecting how well a building functions. For example, in many cases thermal insulation can be improved well beyond what the regulations stipulate. A successful renovation requires that the building is seen as a whole and the interactions between different systems are known and taken into account.

The guide presents issues that must be taken into account in renovations, such as sufficient planning time, the necessary background information, official regulations, the commissioning of further surveys and engaging a supervisor for the project. These issues are described from the perspective of a typical apartment complex, for which external expert assistance is particularly needed. The objective of the renovation, from the beginning of the planning, should be good indoor environment and high energy efficiency.

Signe Brander, Helsingin kaupunginmuseo

Picture: Signe Brander, Helsinki City Museum

When renovating, renovate properly

When a renovation project is well planned, executed and supervised and the thermal insulation level is markedly improved, several features of the building can be enhanced:

  • The property’s value
  • Thermal comfort
  • Reduced need for heating
  • Maintenance need
  • Stability of the internal temperature
  • Sound insulation

Renovations should not impair other functions of the building, and they should also assist in the implementation of forthcoming renovations. In particular, proper ventilation of the premises should be ensured at various stages of renovation. Maintenance and repairs are a continuous feature of good property maintenance.

The guide also includes a number of examples of renovations, but these cannot be considered as universally applicable solutions. When renovating building structures, the starting point is the condition of existing structures, i.e., suitable renovation methods must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. First priority is to ensure the elimination of the causes of previous damage and then include other improvements for the building envelope.

Published in May 2017, the guide Rakenteellinen energiatehokkuus korjausrakentamisessa (Structural energy efficiency during renovations) was drawn up in a project funded by the Ministry of the Environment, the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT and the Federation of Finnish Woodworking Industries. The project was completed by VTT.

Korjauksen toteutuksen ja kustannusten hallinta

Sufficient investment (labour, time), at an early stage, in analysing the state of the building, renovation needs and project planning enables the appropriate setting of objectives, as well as the implementation of repairs and the related cost control.

Rakenteellinen energiatehokkuus korjausrakentamisessa -opas

The guide has been published in printed form and is available as an e-book and in PDF format from the following websites:

Tuomo Ojanen VTT

Tuomo Ojanen
Senior Scientist

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