Climate change requires strong measures from the construction sector. At the same time, construction must also bear its financial responsibility. Fira’s unique approach to solution development is one response to this major challenge, serving both the climate and cost effectiveness.
“At Fira, we have our own unique method for the development of construction, as well as in-depth expertise. Our combined solution development and offer calculation team carries out a great deal of comparative studies on frame and foundation options, for example. We find optimal solutions for our customers in terms of costs and the environment,” says Harri Isoherranen, Design Manager at Fira.
In Fira’s approach, the solution development team is involved in producing the optimal solution that best suits the implementation of the construction project from the very beginning. The information model created by the solution development team enables us to calculate the building masses to be used in the building, which makes it possible to determine the costs and carbon footprint of construction during the early stages of the project
The work does not stop here – this is where the optimisation of solutions begins. The cost and carbon footprint calculation based on this first solution option enables us to identify the building elements that have the greatest impact on the costs and carbon footprint of construction. During optimisation, we focus on these important elements. We create a new information model based on the various solution options and prepare a new calculation based on the information model. The result is that we find the optimal solution in terms of costs and the carbon footprint.
Fira’s approach to solution development was created more than ten years ago, and it has been continuously developed by including new software tools, as well as carbon footprint calculations in recent years. Solution development is a natural continuation of project planning and part of Fira’s service offering, especially in business premises construction projects.
55,000 optimal square metres for Tokmanni
The optimisation of the construction project of Tokmanni’s logistics centre, with a total area of 55,000 square metres, is a recent example of the role of Fira’s solution development. Tokmanni is Finland’s leading variety discount retailer.
“Our goal is to improve Tokmanni’s profitability by upgrading and boosting our logistics and supply chain. In cooperation with Fira, we compared different solutions for building a new warehouse and optimised design solutions for the investment, while addressing the lifecycle impact. Fira has added cost-driven insight to the project,” says Harri Koponen, Vice President of Store Network and Concept at Tokmanni.
Fira has added cost-driven insight to the projectHarri Koponen, Director, Tokmanni
The planning process was long, and Fira’s solution development team came up with several options for the logistics centre in the early stages. This work really paid off: the final result significantly reduces the need for building materials and thereby also costs and the carbon footprint.
Controlling overdimensioning through Fira’s solution development
“Normally in a construction project, the architect draws up a plan. Based on the plan, special designers prepare dimensioning calculations and implementation plans to a tight schedule. In many cases, too little time is allotted to special design, meaning there is no time for proper research and planning. This may lead to the overdimensioning of solutions. For example, if the ground on the site is challenging in places, the entire building is designed and built in line with the worst spot,” Isoherranen explains
“At Fira, our primary goal is not to think about how to solve a problem that has emerged, but how to eliminate the whole problem. For example, on the Tokmanni site, the ground under the building had low load-bearing capacity. The conventional approach in the construction sector would have been to determine what type of steel piling would be needed to remove the problem. In any case, this would have been costly to implement, and the solution would have had a large carbon footprint because of the steel piling. Fira’s approach enabled us to solve the problem by moving the building so that the entire building could be placed on ground with high load-bearing capacity. No steel piling was therefore needed on the site.”
In addition to the general basic studies related to construction projects, Fira carries out a large number of its own studies such as careful penetration tests to support planning through solution development. This allows everything to be optimised, step by step, beginning with the base structure. According to Isoherranen, the additional investments in planning work in the early stages pay off multiple times during the construction phase:
“We always think about what changes are needed to reduce the overall costs. In almost every case, cost-effectiveness also means fewer materials and thereby also smaller carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, our solution development saves both costs and the environment. This is sustainable construction.”