We are living in interesting times. There are huge changes underway in the traditional industries. New, innovation-minded companies challenge the ruling corporations, offering customers services that are affordable, easy, and pleasant. Taking a cab, getting your house cleaned and even applying for a driving licence – never before have consumers experience such a wealth of services.
But then there’s the construction industry, a giant that accounts for 15% of the country’s GDP. Although living costs stand for one third of the consumption of an average Finn, it seems like nothing much has changed. Where are all the enthusiastic new companies that will change the name of the game? Actually, what could be different, something that I as a home buyer would dare to dream about?
Urbanisation affects all of us. And because of it, building new housing in the cities has become increasingly important. It’s just that there seems to be a mismatch on the housing market. Prices are soaring and the only thing the home buyer can have a say on is the colour of the kitchen cabinets. And nobody says anything in advance about the neighbours: Will I get along with them?
We spend most of our money on living, and still we don’t have a clue about the cost of building. Why do we go along with it?
I considered 2015 a watershed year. It is the year of a brand new act on joint building ventures. There are many ways to go about joint building ventures and there are also many preconceived ideas about it. It does, however, contain the beginnings of a business innovation. What would our cities look like, and what would the prices of housing be, if residents were involved in the construction projects right from the start, and had the chance to influence things and paid only for the actual costs?
The quality and cost of living are far too important issues for us to subject them exclusively to the contractors’ principles of cost-cutting and profiteering. That’s why we need a construction revolution. It can be done, but we have to do it together.