Virtual organisation enables the transfer of Finnish wastewater treatment expertise to other countries

YIT CORPORATION News, May 23, 2019 at 08:00 a.m.  

YIT’s expertise in excavation, procurement and design management can be utilised in the construction of wastewater treatment plants. YIT has been responsible for all wastewater treatment plants built in bedrock in Finland to date. The special expertise accumulated from the projects in Finland can also be exported to other markets, not only in the form of labour, but also as a virtual transfer of competence.

After its completion in 2020, the Blominmäki wastewater treatment plant along Ring Road III in Espoo will process the wastewater of 400,000 residents. The new plant and increased treatment capacity are part of preparing for the continued growth of the Helsinki metropolitan area. YIT’s Santeri Saarikko has a long track record of working on wastewater treatment plants. He is currently the Project Manager in charge of machinery and process engineering in the Blominmäki project. For Saarikko, the appeal of wastewater treatment projects lies in their diverse content, ranging from excavation to metalworking and from planning to implementation.

“This job calls for versatile skills. When you know the processes and how they are used, you can prepare certain plans more cost-efficiently in the tendering stage, for example,” Saarikko says.

YIT has been responsible for all wastewater treatment plants built in bedrock in Finland to date. In addition to the Blominmäki wastewater treatment plant currently under construction in Espoo, YIT has built the Viikinmäki plant in Helsinki and the Kakolanmäki plant in Turku, both of which are also underground facilities. YIT also carried out the excavation work on the ongoing Mikkeli wastewater treatment plant project. Excavation is also presently underway at the Sulkavuori plant in Tampere and the expansion of the Henriksdal wastewater treatment plant in Stockholm, Sweden. YIT also has construction contracts both already underway and soon to begin at the Henriksdal plant. YIT’s past projects in this field also include wastewater treatment plants in Russia. For example, in 2005, YIT built the St Petersburg southwestern wastewater treatment plant, which plays an important role in the protection of the Baltic Sea.

Making the best possible competence available to projects

The construction of wastewater treatment plants requires many types of special competencies, from excavation and complex concrete structures to rock construction. Depending on the contract’s method of implementation, the developer may also take on a broader role. For example, in addition to construction, projects can include HVAC, electrical, automation and instrumentation work related to water treatment processes and technical building systems, as well as logistics, procurement and design management.A project management contract such as Blominmäki makes it possible to make the best possible competence and strong professional skills available to the project on a large scale.

“Water towers, for example, are built using a turnkey model, which means that the design is part of the contractor’s delivery. When we have control over planning and design, we know we can carry out every stage of the project in the smartest and most cost-efficient manner,” says Anne Piiparinen, Senior Vice President of YIT’s Industrial and Structural Engineering division.

Wastewater treatment plants are being moved underground as the urban structure becomes increasingly dense and valuable land above ground is allocated for other development. Expansion work on the Henriksdal wastewater plant, for example, takes place in the heart of Stockholm, only one kilometre from the T-Centralen metro hub. This creates special demands for excavation work and the coordination of operations.

“Being careful with the excavation work has been one of the highest priorities in this project. There are residential buildings above the Henriksdal construction site, so it is essential that blasting is carried out within the specifications,” says Lars Stendius, Senior Vice President in charge of the Infrastructure projects segment’s Swedish operations.

Close cooperation with Stockholm Vatten is also important because the wastewater treatment plant remains in operation while YIT works on the expansion.

“It takes a lot of planning, coordination and knowhow to operate while wastewater treatment processes are going on at the same facility,” Stendius explains.

Competence can be transferred to other countries virtually

Approximately half of the workers at the YIT construction site in Henriksdal are from Sweden and half are from Finland. According to Stendius, the goal is to make use of the experience accumulated from excavation work in Finland.

“We have an excellent combination of skills at our disposal. That has been an important success factor for us,” Stendius says.

Key individuals and specialists have been sent on assignment to Sweden to work on the project, but the transfer of skills and competencies is also achieved more broadly in areas such as scheduling and procurement.  Piiparinen says many tasks can be easily performed across national borders. The preparatory stages of projects are often carried out by making use of Finnish specialists based in Finland in combination with people at the project location who have expertise related to local circumstances and markets.

“Together, they form a virtual organisation that can transfer expertise,” Piiparinen explains.

Today’s technology also enables other types of virtual approaches. For example, BIM information models have been produced on the Blominmäki and Henriksdal projects to allow designers to see what has already been built and what has not. The models are also useful when the plans and designs need to be adjusted, for instance.

“Planning and design is typically not location-dependent. It can be done from anywhere. Of course, it is good to visit the construction site once in a while, but modern technology makes things more flexible,” Piiparinen adds.

New and efficient technology helps develop not only the transfer of competencies, but also the wastewater treatment process itself. Using state-of-the-art technology to treat water means that the amount of harmful substances emitted into the natural environment for decades to come is further reduced. Protecting the Baltic Sea is a particularly important issue for Finland and other countries in the region. Piiparinen says Finland is recognised around the world as a country with high-level expertise in water treatment.

For further information, please contact:
Anne Piiparinen, Senior Vice President, YIT Finland Ltd, tel. +358 (0)40 823 2808, anne.piiparinen@yit.fi
Anna Leino, Communications Manager, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)50 384 5797, anna.leino@yit.fi

YIT is the largest Finnish and significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments and living services, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers, our nearly 10,000 professionals are creating more functional, attractive and sustainable cities and environments. We work in 11 countries: Finland, Russia, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The new YIT was born when over 100-year-old YIT Corporation and Lemminkäinen Corporation merged on February 1, 2018. Our pro forma revenue for 2018 was approximately EUR 3.8 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com

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YIT is the largest Finnish and significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments and living services, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers, our nearly 10,000 professionals are creating more functional, attractive and sustainable cities and environments. We work in 11 countries: Finland, Russia, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The new YIT was born when over 100-year-old YIT Corporation and Lemminkäinen Corporation merged on February 1, 2018. Our pro forma revenue for 2018 was approximately EUR 3.8 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com

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