MKM and KredEx to enable renovations for Soviet-era apartment buildings ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Apartment building in Lasnamäe.
Apartment building in Lasnamäe. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM) and state credit body KredEx are preparing a pilot project that would enable standard design apartment buildings to be renovated under the Kredex-sponsored arrangement using prefabricated elements in the future.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) said in a press release that there are many apartment buildings in Estonia built to standard Soviet designs.

The minister said: "Many of them need reconstruction now, and since they have been built similarly, it makes sense also to renovate them in a similar way using factory-manufactured thermal insulation elements."

The ministry and KredEx are preparing a support arrangement that would allow about 20 apartment buildings up to five stories high and built to specific Soviet designs to be refurbished.

For such projects, roofing and exterior wall elements coming complete with thermal insulation, windows and the ventilation system will be manufactured at a plant, meaning that only installation of the prefabricated elements and finishing have to be performed on-site.

Aas said that the method allows to better plan the spending of materials and reduce the amount of time necessary for the conduct of renovation works.

"Higher speed will not come at the expense of quality, as we will save time thanks to automation," he said, adding that higher speed of work allows to reduce the amount of inconvenience for residents, who must go on with their day-to-day lives living in the building under renovation. 

It is estimated that the work related to the installation of the elements will take no more than a month in the case of each individual building. 

The call for proposals is directed towards apartment associations that manage a standard-design residential building up to five stories high completed prior to 1993.

The eligible designs are the Mustamäe, Õismäe, Lasnamäe, Annelinn and "Khrushchyovka" designs used in Estonia, the unofficial name for a type of low-cost, concrete-paneled or brick three- to five-storied apartment building developed in the Soviet Union in the early-1960s.

The main criterion for ranking the applications is energy use and the rate of the subsidy is 50 percent of the cost of the works.

Aas said: "Since this is a completely new method in Estonia, Kredex will choose the party to prepare the design and the party to perform the construction works for the apartment associations approved for the measure in a public competition. Hopefully this will give apartment associations greater courage and confidence to contribute to innovation together with the state."

The idea for the pilot project builds on a project completed on a residential building of the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) on Akadeemia tänav in the Mustamäe district of Tallinn a few years ago. 

The economic affairs minister said: "An approach like this has chances to help us faster to the goal set in the long-term reconstruction strategy, according to which 14,000 apartment buildings in Estonia should be refurbished by 2050."

He added: "Besides, the panels to be manufactured will be of high export value, as similar standard-design buildings were constructed in many countries of Europe before 1993."

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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