A safe and functional learning environment through the PPP model

YIT CORPORATION News, August 9, 2019 at 8.30 a.m. 

Jynkka primary school in Kuopio
Jynkka primary school in Kuopio

YIT has built schools throughout Finland based on the public-private partnership (PPP) model. This cooperation model, which could also be called a life cycle model, provides security for the client for decades to come, harnesses the constructor’s expertise for long-term use and ensures that the teachers and students are provided with functional premises that meet their needs.

A safe and functional school building is the foundation of smooth learning. However, the school as an environment poses many challenges to construction: new learning methods require more versatile and functional spaces, which, however, need to last for decades. The school building needs active and dedicated maintenance. Any problems, such as unhealthy indoor air, need to be addressed in a timely manner.

These challenges can be met with the PPP model, and YIT is a pioneer in the PPP field. Unlike traditional contract tendering, in the PPP model the builder is involved right from the design phase and is responsible not only for the construction but also for the maintenance of the building. In practice, the client – a municipality or a city – only needs to sign a single contract and it gets a completed and fully functional school building the cost of which is known for 20 years to come, for example. Indeed, the PPP model is particularly well suited to public construction such as schools, since school buildings are constructed for long-term use and the premises will not be rented out.

In school PPP projects, the long-term partnership between the client and the constructor is especially important. In addition to providing the municipality with security and predictability, the model provides YIT with the opportunity to make full use of its competences which the company has accumulated over the years.

“Operations based on a long value chain, enabled by the life cycle approach, are deeply embedded in YIT’s strategy. We want to take on a broad responsibility so that the customer can focus on their own business rather than worrying about maintenance,” says Hannu Soikkeli, Director of Life-Cycle Projects at YIT.

After the construction phase, the cooperation between the client and the constructor keeps evolving throughout the service period. Regular meetings and user surveys along with a dedicated property manager will ensure a smooth flow of information.

“One principal commented that it makes life so much easier when you know who to call instead of having to worry about glitches in the air-conditioning or other inevitable maintenance issues,” Soikkeli says.

Cooperation between pioneers

YIT has been involved in school PPP projects in Finland right from the beginning. The projects range from 400 to 500 pupil schools to around 1,000 pupils.

“We have carried out PPP projects throughout Finland, from Espoo to Sodankylä. The cities of Espoo and Kuopio have been significant pioneers in utilising the life cycle approach,” Soikkeli explains.

In Kuopio, there have been three school PPP projects. The Puijonsarvi school and Martti Ahtisaari school were completed in 2011, in the following year Puijonlaakso daycare centre as well as the renovation of the Rajala school. The renovation of the Pohjantie school was completed in 2013. According to the second PPP project agreement, we completed the Jynkkä primary school in 2017, and in 2018 the Karttula comprehensive school and daycare centre, along with the libraries in both schools.

The third PPP project was about the Hiltulanlahti school and daycare centre with the service period. The building was ready in the end of July 2019, and it was taken into use in August.

According to Soikkeli, the Kuopio projects have shown that the cooperation model can produce a good end result that meets the client’s objectives.

“I am especially proud of the mutual trust and good cooperation between the project partners that we achieved in Kuopio. It is quite crucial because good cooperation brings about successful solutions.”

In Espoo, the PPP model has been applied in school renovations and extensions. At the moment, there are two projects under way. The first project is nearing completion in stages. The Kirsti school will be completed by autumn, and the Viherlaakso school and upper secondary school are being renovated. In the second project, the Tuomarila and Laajalahti schools are in the design phase and will reach the construction phase in the autumn.

Smooth going from daycare to graduation

In addition to Espoo and Kuopio there are numerous other locations where YIT has been or is currently building safer and more functional schools. The outstanding buildings thus constructed using the PPP model will serve the residents of the respective areas for decades to come. The buildings are usually designed to have versatile, multifunctional premises.

“The school buildings constructed on the basis of the PPP model normally houses several functions. In addition to classrooms and gyms, it is typical to include other functions as well, such as libraries, child health clinics and diverse other facilities,” Soikkeli explains.

One prominent project being carried out by YIT is the largest wooden school building in Finland, which is to be constructed in Imatra and will also serve as a multifunctional facility for the people of the area. When completed, the Mansikkala school centre will serve more than 1,300 children and adolescents, as well as clients of a child health clinic, students of a community college and members of various clubs and societies.

The Kalliola school and Heinsuo comprehensive school, built by YIT in Hollola, are designed for well over 1,000 students, and the facilities were constructed so as to support the revised curriculum. The school complex including three daycare centres and two schools built by YIT in Porvoo is a good example of a PPP project in which special attention has been paid to energy consumption.  

The PPP model provides security for the municipality and a familiar face for the school staff to turn to, but the most important thing is that the students have a safe and functional learning environment.

Tietotie 6 welcomes students 

In addition to the PPP model, YIT also carries out successful school projects based on traditional contract models. One such project is the conversion at Tietotie 6. This former office property now houses the Otaniemi, Espoo upper secondary school, which received its first students in August.

The new Otaniemi upper secondary school, which was created when the Olari and Pohjois-Tapiola upper secondary schools were merged, receives 800 students as the summer holiday draws to an end in August. The school is located next to the Aalto University metro station at Tietotie 6 and offers students the opportunity to study, in addition to a normal curriculum, a math and science-oriented or a theater and media-oriented curriculum.

The Otaniemi upper secondary school is part of a project in which Regenero, a joint venture by YIT and HGR Property Partners*, converted an old office building at Tietotie 6 in Espoo into school and office premises. The demolition and conversion work for the Tietotie 6 project began in 2017 and the actual renovation started in spring 2018. The office premises were opened for use in early 2019, but the project comes to a final conclusion when the students start school in August.

“Tietotie 6 is an exceptionally large and complex project for a renovation project. The conversion from an office building to a school has been an interesting and rewarding project. The school will have top-notch facilities, including a new gym and auditorium,” says Tero Aaltonen, Vice President, YIT Business Premises.

*YIT, HGR and their joint venture Regenero sold the Tietotie 6 property in December 2018 to Special Investment Fund eQ Care

For further information, please contact:

Hannu Soikkeli, Director, Head of Lifecycle Project Development, YIT Finland Ltd, puh. 0400 409 445, hannu.soikkeli@yit.fi

Mikko Lempinen, Director, Head of Property and Land Development, YIT Finland Ltd, puh. 050 3720766, mikko.lempinen@yit.fi

Arja Korhonen, Communication Manager, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 40 554 5806, arja.korhonen@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, more attractive and more 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 restated pro forma revenue for 2018 was approximately EUR 3.2 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq