KredEx launches Soviet-era apartment block refurbishment scheme

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Already-renovated 'Khrushchyovka' apartment block in the Kopli district of Tallinn. Source: Dmitri G/Wikimedia Commons

State credit agency KredEx is offering up to one million euros in support for refurbishment of Soviet-era apartment blocks. KredEx will also oversee the refurbishment work, which will involve prefabricated units being installed in buildings and including roofing and even external walls.

The work also takes into account energy and climate concerns which would have been unknown in the Soviet era, with modern techniques bringing energy cost savings to apartment owners.

Applicants must act fast however, as the deadline is a little over a month away (the scheme began in early November).

KredEx's site in English is here.

The work should modernize the appearance of standard design apartment buildings, BNS reports, particularly ageing Soviet-era apartment blocks in Tallinn and Tartu, with the Mustamäe, Oismäe and Lasnamäe districts (Tallinn) and Annelinn (Tartu) specifically mentioned, but buildings nationwide will be eligible.

The aid is aimed at smaller, five-storey apartment buildings built primarily in the 1960s, sometimes referred to as "Khrushchyovkas", after Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader of the time, as opposed to the taller blocks built in the 1970s and 1980s in many of the same districts.

"Khrushchyovkas" make up a significant share of the 14,000 apartment buildings in currently in need of reconstruction, BNS reports, but which only require refurbishment work, rather than demolition.

Aas: Energy savings can be made too

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said via a press release that: "We believe the new reconstruction method contains a lot of potential, as it enables innovation in the construction sector and strongly improve the state our our apartment buildings and their energy savings."

Triin Reinsalu, head of the department for dwellings and energy efficiency at Kredex, said that unlike earlier support measures, the grant can be obtained to cover up to 50 percent of the total cost of the works, or up to one million euros per apartment association – usually one apartment building is so organized – regardless of the location of the building.

Reinsalu said: "As this is a completely new method in Estonia, Kredex will pick the designer and builder for the support recipients via a public procurement competition."

Work on each building takes about a month

The work will use a prefabricated method, appropriately enough given such processes were often used in the buildings' original construction, meaning roofing, external walls, insulation, windows and ventilation systems can generally be installed on-site, having already been made up off-site.

BNS reports this as benefits both in terms of cost and in build quality.

Deadline for applications in a month

Taavi Aas reiterated this, saying work per building should take about a month.

For apartment associations, the development also takes away the work of finding a firm, as Kredex will take over all administrative procedures and sourcing prefabricated elements.

Applications are open to February 1; the standard building designs eligible for support are: 1-317, 1-464, 111-121 and 111-133.

The deadline for construction businesses wanting to get involved in the procurement processes is January 18.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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