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Information about City buildings and the development projects related to indoor air

The City of Helsinki owns about 2,000 buildings. In addition to its own buildings, the City’s operations take place in rental facilities and condominiums.

The factors affecting a building’s condition are its construction date and the lifecycle stage. A new or recently modernised building is usually in a better condition than an old building where extensive repairs have not yet been carried out. Indoor air quality in buildings can also vary, even if they fill the requirements of the law.

A building's lifecycle.

The City of Helsinki owns buildings of different ages. The building stock is older than average. Although the investment level of building construction has been increased significantly since 2017, there is a still repair debt of around €1.3 billion within the building stock.

Age distribution of the building stock managed by the City of Helsinki’s Facilities Services based on their surface area.

Buildings’ condition is reviewed through investigations

In 2010–2019, the City of Helsinki commissioned radon investigations, including more than 2,400 investigations in more than 900 buildings. Most investigations have taken place in service buildings, such as schools, daycare centres, and social services and health care facilities.

The investigations carried out in 2010–2019 mostly revealed structural or age-related damage, moisture damage and ventilation problems.

The Urban Environment Division’s facility service has commissioned about 400 condition surveys in its buildings annually. They also carry out radon measurements, among other investigations.

About half of the condition surveys are performed to find out the cause of an indoor air problem, a certain instance of damage or a defect. The other half are proactive condition surveys, such as investigations carried out to support project planning.

The Urban Environment Division’s facility service commissions about 400 condition surveys in its buildings annually. Most of them are technical surveys related to indoor air and moisture conditions.

Development work

Helsinki is an active member of various indoor air-related cooperation networks, working groups and development projects. The City also commissions thesis works related to indoor air and provides materials for them. At the moment, Helsinki is involved in the following projects, programmes and networks, among many others:

The inter-municipal indoor air network was established in 2018 between parties in the Cities of Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa that are in charge of maintaining the condition of the city-owned premises. In addition to the founding members, representatives from Porvoo, Turku, Tampere, Lahti, Oulu, Jyväskylä and Kuopio have been invited to the network. The objective of this network is to discover good practices and make the procedures more cohesive in areas such as solutions for structural engineering, ensuring the success of repairs and ensuring the functionality and automation of building services.

Healthy Facilities 2028 action plan . The national programme’s objective is to make public buildings healthier and the treatment and rehabilitation of people with symptoms caused by indoor air more efficient. During the ten-year action plan, the members will attempt to establish a procedure for facility management that ensures regular inspection and assessment of buildings’ condition, suitability for their purpose and the users’ experiences.

Facilities with functional indoor air – Indoor air 2020 project reviews the factors that make up good indoor air. Real-time measurements are carried out in the premises chosen for the project while feedback is collected from the users of these premises. The project is led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Examples of completed development projects in which Helsinki took part:

The health of pupils and indoor air in Helsinki’s comprehensive schools project reviewed the experiences of pupils and their parents of the quality of indoor air in schools and developed an indoor air survey for pupils. The project was implemented in collaboration between the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the University of Helsinki and the City of Helsinki. 

COMBI project. This project was a comprehensive review of improving the energy efficiency of service buildings with the aim of reaching an almost zero energy level. The project included themes such as building physics, architecture and lighting.

Damage to plastic-covered floors due to moisture project. The objective of this project, run by Tampere University of Technology, was to review the factors affecting the damage caused to plastic-covered floors and their damage processes as well as determine functional material combinations. Helsinki took part in the first stage of the project.

04.10.2021 09:50