A housing cooperative in Tapiola, Espoo, commissioned a pipe repair project include several renovations in the flats and remodelling of bathrooms. The biggest project to date in my career as service engineer really put me to the test. It was wonderful to see the customised changes being carried out.
In autumn 2014, I was rounding up my latest project as service engineer in Kallio, Helsinki, and looking forward to the next one. A housing cooperative with 200 flats in Tapiola, Espoo, promised to be something very much different. It was the largest project in Fira Palvelut’s five years in business, and given the number of flats and owner-residents, we could also expect more changes to the basic layout compared to a normal-size project. The housing cooperation board also wished for special flexibility towards owners’ requests.
I have to admit that this bathroom, designed by the owner, was one of my favourites in the project.
We were expecting that the residents would be interested in renovating more of their homes than just the bathroom, and that turned out to be true. Many of the owners had spent a lot of time planning the renovation before we were even part of it.
NO TWO BATHROOMS WERE ALIKE
One of the best things about my work as service engineer is that I can help to create the results the residents wish to have. Sometimes all you have to do is to make sure that the pre-selected fixtures are installed at the right height for a slightly shorter person. At other times, you and the owner may refashion the entire flat starting from skirting boards and ending with window frames. The Tapiola project included both of the above and everything in between. The 18-month project provided lots of variation in my everyday work; for instance, I drew 200 bathrooms, and not even two of them were alike. Of course, it also meant more work at every stage, compared to all bathrooms being renovated with the basic layout.
This is a really functional bathroom and I think families with young children would love it. It works well for handling laundry, having a wash and getting ready for the day.
We asked for feedback from the residents at a few points during the renovation. The positive feedback was the best reward for the work and kept us going until the finish line:
“The renovation is underway. What I’ve seen of the renovations in other flats it looks promising. Contacts – good; preparations – good; specification and checklist for the flat –good; outside you can see that there is a renovation underway, but it’s not messy – very good …”
READY FOR NEW CHALLENGES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
We had a really good spirit on site through the project and even major changes were implemented in close cooperation with the owners, site foremen and the fitters. As important as a good end result is, equally important, at least for me, is that the whole process went so well that all parties are happy, from the first information meeting to the residents moving back in..
Today, almost two years later, we are almost done with the pipe repairs. We handed over the last completed blocks last Friday, almost a month ahead of schedule. There still remains some finishing touches and cleaning up outdoors and in the shared facilities, and then Fira Palvelut is ready to move on to other challenges. Although we won’t be around in the building in the future, I hope that the residents will think of us fondly when looking at their renovated homes. 🙂