YIT is looking to fulfill every Russian's dream
In 2011, YIT celebrates an important hallmark. The construction company has worked in the Russian Federation for fifty years without any breaks in operation. It has seen the country in its Soviet years and is now an active participant in the new economy. “Our current construction takes place primarily in the residential market, an area where we see steady business growth,” explains Teemu Helppolainen, Senior Vice President, Moscow and Russian Regions, YIT Construction Ltd (Russia). YIT offers solutions for all sectors of technical building systems, construction and industry services. It is headquartered in Finland and operates in the Nordic countries, Central Europe, Russia and the Baltics. The turnover for the company is around EUR 4 billion, of which EUR 400 million is sales from Russia. “Also, we have invested approximately EUR 500 million in Russia, which shows our commitment to this country,” adds Helppolainen.
Reliable partners needed
For YIT, the aim is to shorten the construction time. “We build homes faster than our competitors because we excel at project management. This means we need reliable partners who can deliver what we need,” notes Helppolainen. In May 2011, YIT signed an agreement to purchase from Elematic three battery molds, two tilting tables and a floating machine for production of precast wall and façade elements. Elematic’s Key Account Manager Juha Hautalahti notes that YIT is an important customer and a respected company in residential construction. “We are happy to work with YIT on their projects and have noticed that more and more companies are investing in precast production,” says Hautalahti. “During the past 40 years, Elematic has delivered precast factories to Russia for production of not only facades, but also hollow-core slabs, columns, beams, piles, stairs, lift shafts and internal walls, such as Acotec walls and solid walls,” he adds.
New factory opening
The Elematic equipment will go to YIT’s factory located in Voshkresensk. The site has three bays in total and approximately 6,000 square meters of production premises. The capacity for the plant is about 100,000 square meters of sellable floor area per year. This means approximately 60,000 meters cubed of different precast products. Once fully operational in March 2012, the factory will employ 110-120 workers. “We will concentrate only on load-bearing frame structures,” explains Juha Rissanen, Vice President, Moscow Region, YIT Construction. “YIT decided to buy the equipment from Elematic because we knew they have quality products and extensive project experience. They have worked in Russia also during the Soviet period, so we will not expect surprises in their delivery,” says Rissanen. The precast production will go to YIT’s key partners and also for its own investor activities around Moscow Oblast. “Our product is a totally new serial house type called YV-2012. The new series will provide better and more variety to floor plans, more flexibility, energy efficiency and comfortable living,” adds Rissanen. Rissanen says that use of precast panels is in high demand due to the quicker construction speed. “Our capacity will ensure our core housing business,” he notes.
Building skill important
Rissanen explains that what he likes about precast concrete is that it is easy to create the elements needed and they are quick to produce. Also, no additional wintertime heating is needed during installation and less danger of freezing. “The quality standards at the factory are at a high level, which means we get good quality product,” he adds. In the past, precast was used with old mass production standards and poor construction skills, explains Rissanen. “During the Soviet years, sandwich panel insulation was often missed or put too thin between panels. Also, the joints between panels were not properly constructed and did not have the correct flexible joint material.” Over time, the joints hardened, then leaked and deteriorated. “Russian housing developments did not have a system to collect money from residents to make repairs. If and when the joints were replaced, they were done with the wrong materials.”
Changing old misconceptions
Because of this, even today in the Moscow region, companies cannot build houses from sandwich panels for external facades. “Panel frame houses with external walls made of brick are considered reliable, but sandwich panels still have a bad reputation,” laments Rissanen. But Rissanen adds that YIT is helping to change old misconceptions. In the St. Peterburg area, this ban on sandwich panels for external facades does not exist. “YIT has many high quality precast concrete panel houses in St Petersburg. Sandwich panels have been produced using good standards, and the joinery is applied accurately,” he says. One very nice example is the Kommendant housing development in a St. Petersburg suburb. The painted concrete sandwich panel homes are attractive and a sought after place to live. “Our precast concrete frame houses at Moscow Oblast do not differ externally from cast-in situ houses,” notes Rissanen. While YIT had a number of suppliers to choose from, two factors led to the decision to go with Elematic. “Quality and reliability are the driving factors, and these are common for both of our companies,” says Rissanen.
Keeping their promises
Russia, like many countries with an emerging economy, is seeing a growing middle class. Teemu Helppolainen explains that the average Russian lives in some 21 square meters of space. By contrast, the average in Finland is 38 square meters per person, while in Denmark this figure tops 50 square meters. “Also, the quality of existing housing is sometimes poor. Russians want better living conditions and larger homes,” says Helppolainen. Additionally, Russian banks are increasingly giving mortgages to help families buy homes. “Currently, around 20–40 percent of Russians acquiring new flats are using mortgages. While this is higher than in past years, it is far behind Western country standards, where most everyone has a home loan.” Add this all together and YIT sees demand for housing well into the future. But it does not fully explain how the company has been so successful in this market. “I think one of the keys to our success is that we complete projects on time,” stresses Helppolainen. “If we say to a buyer that he will have the keys to his new home in nine months, then he will get them then.” ______________________________________________________________ Machinery details: Batterymold – 3.1 m x 7 m, 10 + 10 casting cells with 160 mm intermediate side forms, FaMe Batterymold – 3.3 m x 7m, 10 + 10 casting cells with intermediate side forms, FaMe Batterymold – 3.3 m x 6.1 m, 6 + 6 casting cells with intermediate side forms, FaMe. Note that all battery molds are equipped with electric vibrators. Hydraulic tilting tables 4 m x 8 m Floating machine