For YIT, site communication is one of the cornerstones of a successful construction project.
Communications are being developed in projects around Finland.
Many of us often face the familiar situation: the road is cut off or the traffic is arranged differently than a week ago. There is a construction site ahead and its signs are hard to remember.
A city can develop only by building. But how could it be done with as little disturbance as possible?
For YIT, site communication is one of the cornerstones of a successful construction project. In projects, communications are tailored to meet the needs of stakeholders and their everyday life.
It all starts with knowing the local environment
“When local environment is taken into account and communications reach the stakeholders, it saves project costs in the long run”, says Joonas Rinkinen, Communications Specialist at YIT.
Rinkinen played a major role in the renovation project of the Suomenlinna tunnel that was completed in early 2018.
As the project’s Co-operation Coordinator, Rinkinen’s task was to ensure that messages were passed between tens of stakeholders and Kaivopuisto events. Ten channels were used for this. Local residents were informed about the project via Facebook like they requested.
“If we are proactive and transparent we can most likely reduce the negative experience caused by the construction. Communications help the local environment to understand that the construction work aims to improve the environment”, says Rinkinen.
The site office of the tunnel project was nominated for the Rose of Construction award, awarded by the City of Helsinki. The cooperation between the site and residents as well as others using the area was particularly highlighted in the grounds for the nomination.
Even the naps for children were taken into account in Töölö
Information needs of the local environment have also been taken into account in the parking hall construction site that will soon to be completed on Töölönkatu. For about a year, people could feel the vibration on the walls and hear muffled rumbling under the ground in Helsinki’s Töölö district.
“The noise caused by the blasting affected the local environment’s residential buildings, companies, day-care centres and special buildings, such as the Sibelius Academy”, says Oleg Sarantsin, Project Manager at YIT Construction.
Since the blasting could not be completely quieted down, the project team worked flexibly and proactively. The project communicated changes caused by the site in an active and innovative way. For example, the site deployed a blasting notification service where anyone could subscribe to a SMS alert that was sent 30 minutes prior to each blasting. According to Sarantsin, prior notifications have helped both families with children and dog owners.
Even the smallest citizens were taken into account in the work scheduling.
“We tried to avoid blasting during the nap time at day-care centres. And, at the request of hotels, the start of the above ground drilling was postponed from seven to eight in the morning.
Joint communications with KalPa in Kuopio
In summer 2018, the puck did not hit the ice in Kuopio at Niiralan Monttu (officially Kuopio Ice Hall), which is the home arena of the ice hockey team KalPa. The ice hockey arena was occupied by construction workers who took a full advantage of the ice hockey summer break. Additional seats, restroom facilities and counters serving alcohol are built in the arena and it will be made more accessible.
“As the main user of the arena, KalPa has obviously been able to affect the schedule. The renovation of the interior of the arena started only after the Finnish Elite League season ended in spring”, says Jesse Parviainen, Project Manager at YIT Construction.
KalPa has also participated in the communications of the construction work. Videos named Niiralan Monttu in construction have been created on the progress of the construction, which have then been shared on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The videos are addressed to the fans and partners of KalPa – that is to almost all people in the area.
“Insider videos are an excellent idea. The idea came form KalPa. The same communications model has been used also in the renovations of the home arenas of NHL teams”, praises Parviainen.
YIT coordinates the communications of the project and provides information to KalPa’s followers, authorities, project teams, neighbours and others in the environment. A supervisor trainee has been hired for the site communication who writes a blog on the progress of the renovation on the project’s website.
Communications will also ensure the security of the area.
Traffic arrangements are emphasised in Tripla
The largest project in YIT history, Tripla, is being built in Helsinki’s Pasila district. Tripla is an essential part of the overall transformation of Pasila, which is primarily done on the terms of public transport. 900 trains stop in Pasila every day. In addition, trams, buses, cars and pedestrian and bicycle traffic operate in the area.
Many other operators beside YIT participate in the development of the new Central Pasila: City of Helsinki, Senate representing the Finnish state as the landowner, Finnish Transport Agency that is responsible for building the additional track and Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) operating the public transport.
“From the point of view of a citizen and a person using the area, traffic arrangements are the most important and continuous aspect of the communications related to Tripla”, says Heidi Kauppinen, Tripla Communications Manager at YIT.
Johannes Laitila, Information Designer at HSL, confirms this. In the Pasila area, the traffic must flow at all times. People must find their connections even when things change on the site.
“For example, when routes change, communications may remain in the grey area if we are faced with the interfaces between different organisations. In Pasila, communications has been handled more and more seamlessly in cooperation as the site arrangements have expanded”, says Laitila.
According to Kauppinen, construction site communications start from serving the recipient. YIT shares also HSL news in its channels and ensures that the local residents will be informed by letters delivered in their mailboxes.
Also the closing of the Pasila station and deployment of the temporary station were done on the terms of the recipients. During that time, construction site workers guided people in person on the streets.
“The location of the stops changed so we were there guiding people with a group of volunteers starting from seven in the morning. Also people from YIT participated. It helped us to see the situation through other people’s eyes – even if the customer has heard of the change and replacement arrangements in advance, the changed everyday reality requires additional support”, says Laitila from HSL.
Keys to successful communications in construction projects:
- Find out already during the planning phase who the most important users of the area are and get to know them in person.
- Communicate with the stakeholders using the channels that fit for them, whether it is a letter or social media
- Listen to the feedback and use it for developing communications and operations
- Make sure that all parties involved in the project communicate the same message
- Make sure that the internal message is the same as the external one
For further information, please contact:
Heidi Kauppinen, Communications Manager, YIT Construction Ltd, tel. +358 40 574 3170, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hanna Malmivaara, Senior Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)40 561 6568, email@example.com
YIT is the largest Finnish and significant North European construction company. We develop and build apartments, business premises and entire areas. We are also specialised in demanding infrastructure construction and paving. Together with our customers our 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 pro forma revenue for 2017 was over EUR 3.8 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. www.yitgroup.com