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Often it is necessary to move elsewhere temporarily while the pipe renewal takes place.  A major overhaul may be necessary, but it may turn out quite tricky for some.

PIPE RENOVATIONS are at hand in many households, particularly in buildings built in the 1970s and 1980s. In bigger buildings, it is possible to remain in the household for the duration of the renovation, but especially in the cases of thorough pipe renewals and smaller places, it is necessary to move elsewhere temporarily.

According to a report by the Federation of Finnish Financial Services, pipe leakage causes the greatest proportion of reimbursable household damage. Up to half of all pipe renovation cases are caused by recurrent leaks. It is estimated that the real surge of pipe renovations is still ahead, as the large group of apartments built in the 1970s and 1980s reach the point of needing overhaul.

This decade will see an average of 10,000-15,000 pipe renovations per year, and even 30,000 in the 2020s. According to a statement by Jari Syrjälä, the Managing Director of construction union LVI-Tekniset Urakoitsijat, housing companies run by tenants are especially lax in maintenance and repair.

Different methods of pipe renovation:

• Traditional “open-trench” method

• Old pipes are taken out and replaced by new ones

• Requires structures to be opened

• Suited for old houses which often have moisture and asbestos problems

• Old houses often have sunken pipes, and easily situated property pipe lines

• Involves renewing electricity in the bathroom

• Often more costly and labour-intensive than other methods

• Estimated life-span of renewed pipes is up to 50 years

Coating methods

• Involves the coating of existing pipes with different materials

• Less expensive than other methods

• Not suited for locations with moisture problems or extensive damage

• May increase lifespan by up to 20 years if successful

• Finnish insurance policies on damage to coated pipe systems varies

Flue-element solution

• Flue-elements are “ready” ascending pipe elements that pipes and cables can be inserted into

• New pipes may be inserted via new routes or left where they are

• Does not necessitate opening of structures on a large scale

• Moisture insulation must be in order

• Viable solution if new pipelines are to be inserted on the surface instead of in the structures

What the pipe renovation generally stands for is the renewal of a building’s water and sewer pipelines. In the traditional renovation the estate’s moisture insulations, tiling and water fittings are also renewed, along with the main lines of the basement. Sometimes heating pipes and radiators are renewed in the course of the pipe renovation as well.

Extreme winter conditions put a strain on Finnish pipelines.Maria Tuominen, 23 had to move back to her parents’ home as the renovation took place at her apartment from May to July. Many renovations take longer, especially if they include other refurbishments. She says it was nice to be at home as this amounted to fewer expenses, but the situation may be worse for many. The renovation itself often also causes practical problems for tenants.

“The noise was horrendous of course, for a long time. As I moved back, I was missing a shower wall panel, so the water leaked out whenever I took a shower. I tried to prevent it from leaking with towels and plastic bags, and I had to dry the bathroom after showering. The panel wasn’t installed until the end of August, and it only took about 5 minutes,” Tuominen says. “Maybe they got the panels only then, I don’t know.”

“Installing the washing machine was also very challenging. We almost had to tear out the toilet seat or sink to make the machine fit. The layout of the toilet seat is somewhat bizarre. It would have been a whole lot easier if they could have let us bring the washing machine, before installing the toilet seat and sink so that it was almost impossible to fit it between them,” Tuominen says.

Belongings and furniture need to be moved in most cases, especially technological devices and valuables, as construction companies do not account for possible damage. If possessions are left in the apartment, they need to be well covered, and they are often still covered in dust by the end of the renovation.

...

ANNIKA RAUTAKOURA
HELSINKI TIMES
LEHTIKUVA / HEIKKI SAUKKOMAA / JUSSI NUKARI

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