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2007 EUR22850EN












Final Summary
1. Objectives of the project 4
2. Comparison of initially planned activities and work accomplished 4
3. Description of activities and discussion 5
4. Conclusions 9
5. Exploitation and impact of the results 9

ANNEX A Seminar material

1. Reasons for renovation 11

2. Strengthening of foundations 14
3. Strentghenning of frame 34
4. Partition wall system 37
5. Roofing renovation 46
6. Additional floors 100
7. Prefabricated modules 123
8. Heating system renovation 184


1. Objectives of the project

Renovation know-how is becoming more and more significant in the context of increasing renovation

The broad technical objective of the NewEu project has been to disseminate effectively several new
steel based renovation technologies to new EU markets. Technologies demonstrated in practice in the
two earlier ECSC - projects (Demonstration of pre-fabricated modular construction in the renovation
of multi-storey residential buildings [7215-PP-10] and Steel in residential buildings for adaptable and
sustainable construction [715-PP-058]).

This includes the following technologies: The use of modular construction units, pre-fabricated lifts
outside the old buildings, pre-fabricated balconies added to the old buildings, construction of additional
storeys on the existing buildings, wall and roofing and energy efficient buildings, modular housing so-
lutions and wall and roof panels.

The broad technical objective was sub-divided into the following sub-objectives:
Preparation of material to be presented at seminars in the participating countries.
Translation of the material into Polish, Lithuanian, Estonian, Hungarian and Latvian.
Arrangement of seminars in participating countries.

The broad commercial objective is to increase the market share of steel in the construction industry in
the renovation of old buildings.

2. Comparison of initially planned activities and work accomplished

The tasks fixed in the technical annex have been fulfilled by the partners. The following minor devia-
tions have been recorded.

In WP1, deliverables were realized as planned.

In WP2, there were minor deviations in number of printed booklets especially in Poland. This is visible
also as smaller costs.

In WP3, amount of translated documents was as planned.

In WP4, extension to project time was applied based on market studies in Poland and Baltic countries.
The seminars were organized in autumn 2005 instead of spring 2005. Reason for changing planned
seminar times was to quarantee better participation to seminars. Spring is high season for construction
in CE wheras autumn is closing time for projects and proper audience is easier to reach.

3. Description of the activities and discussion

3.1 Main activities

3.1.1 General

In the project kick of meeting was decided division of tasks, timetables and layout and structure of the
text documents and PowerPoint slides. An Internet work page was created for the project by Ruukki.
The latest versions of documents were always available on the Internet page and after commenting
ready material was stored there. During the project time there were altogether three meetings arranged.

The main material presented and distributed in the seminars were produced in WP1 and translated in
WP3. Work packages were;

Work Package 1: Preparation of the material to be used in seminars

Task is a preparation of written document and presentation material about steel based new renovation
technologies. The material to be disseminated at national seminars is based on the ECSC projects:
Demonstration of pre-fabricated modular construction in the renovation of multi-storey residential
buildings (7215-PP-10) and Steel in residential buildings for adaptable and sustainable construction
(7215-PP-058). Work has been mainly carried out by Rautaruukki and Finnmap Polska.

Work Package 2
The task is a preparation of national seminars. Preparation work includes marketing of the seminars in
each country, preparation of marketing booklet and practical arrangements of seminar in each country.
Work has been mainly carried out by Vilnius Gediminas and Rautaruukki.

Work package 3
Translation of the dissemination material produced in WP1 will be made into the following languages:
Polish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Latvian. The working language of the project is English
and all documents will be produced in English also.

Work Package 4
The task is to arrange 9 seminars in participating countries.

3.1.2 Contents of the seminar material

The final English version of the written text and presentations covers the topics shown below.

1. Reasons for renovation

2. Foundation
2.1 Strengthening of foundation
3. Building frame
3.1 Strengthening of frame
4. Internal structures
4.1 Partition wall system
4.2 Suspended ceiling system
4.3 Raised floors

5. External envelope structure
5.1 Roofing renovation
5.2 Roof maintenance
5.3 Faade refurbishment
5.4 Window renovation
5.5 Products
6. Extension of building
6.1 Additional floors
6.2 Balconies
6.3 Balcony repairs
6.4 Prefabricated modules
6.5 Alteration of roof shape
6.6 Lift shafts
7. Additions per country
7.1 Estonia
7.2 Finnmap
7.3 Poland
8. Other
8.1 Heating system renovation
8.2 Plumbing renovation
8.3 Ventilation system renovation

3.1.3 Translations and publishing

After the final content of material had been agreed text documents and PowerPoint presentations were
translated into the following languages: Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Hungarian.

All text documents and presentation in English and in five other languages were put on a CD in order to
distribute them to all partners, the Commission and TGS8 members.

3.2 Main activities

3.2.1 General

Alltogether 7 seminars were arranged in the participating countries. Every partner was responsible for
the organisation of the national seminar. All seminars were held between September and December
2005 as follows;

Date Place Co-ordinator

21.10.05 Warsaw Finnmap Polska
19.10.05 Katowice Finnmap Polska
17.10.05 Sopot Finnmap Polska
08.12.05 Tallinn TUT
21.12.05 Vilnius Vilnius Gediminas
09.11.05 Riga SIA Finnmap Latvija
16.12.05 Budapest Rannila Hungary

A total of over 400 participants attended the seminars. More precise information on national seminars
and actions will be given below:

3.2.2 Polish seminars

Seminars took place in Warsaw ( on 21th of October), Katowice (on 19th of October) and Sopot (on
17th of October). In seminars participated 88 participants.
For the seminar needs we have prepared PowerPoint presentation and also dissemination material.
The presentation was prepared, according to the contract requirements, and included following informa-
- reasons for renovation
- renovation process
- bulding frame and foundations
- internal structures
- external envelope structures
- building additions
- prefabricated modules
- alteration of roof shape
- lifts
- others.
Presentation was conducted in English language ( by Mr. Lasse Rajala from Finnmap Consulting
Oy ) and interpreted into Polish language.

For promoting the seminars was prepared a booklet of 8 pages printed in 3000 copies. A promotion
of seminars was led in group of proffesionals civil engineers, housing association experts, con-
structors, architect associations and universities.

3.2.3 Estonian seminar

The seminar took place on 8th of December 2005 in Tallinn and had altogether 74 participants.

In order to achieve the objective of the project the following actions were taken.

In collaboration with the partners the material for the seminars was prepared.
Text, pictures and diagrams were translated, edited and prepared for printing and presentation, includ-
ing the topics:

renovation of facades, roofs and foundations;

addition of floors, elevators, stairs, balconies and bathroom units;
modification of roofs;
energy efficient and ecological principles in renovation;
modular construction.

In order to market the seminar and achieve the best results, the content was discussed with the represen-
tatives of the target professional groups architects, construction companies, property owners, engi-
neers (through professional organisations), students.

Examples of houses and sites in different cities of Estonia, suitable for the steel-based technology of
renovation, were selected. Drawings were obtained from archives. Steel-based renovation solutions
were prepared for the selected buildings, regarding the real situation of technical conditions and real
estate market.

250 A5 pages of material was translated and composed for presentation. National foreword was added.
The material was printed on paper (100 copies) and copied on CD (100 copies).

For promoting the seminar and renovation technology, a booklet of 8 pages was translated, edited and
printed (100 copies).

100 PowerPoint slides were translated and composed for presentation.

3.2.4 Lithuanian seminar

The seminar took place on 2005.12.21 in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (overall 72 partici-
Additional seminar was organized on 2006 03 21 in VGTU (overall 67 participants).
Disseminated number of material collection is 110 for members from special enterprises.

3.2.5 Latvian seminar

The seminar took place on 9th of November 2005 in Riga and had 54 participants. Latvian Association
of Civil Engineers had advertised and informed good its members, because about 10% of members
were present. Audience was active and they have many questions based on the presented materials.
Representatives of Ruukki, Finnmap Consulting and Finnmap Latvija tried to give answers to those
questions. Pictures from seminar are included in this material.
At the end of seminar all the participants have received the signed statement of participation of seminar.

All the English text (250 A5 pages) prepared by Ruukki was translated in Latvian. Translations were
checked and corrected by the member of Latvian Association Of Civil Engineers both linguistic and
professionally. 120 PowerPoint slices were translated and prepared for seminar. This material were cop-
ied on 100 CD`s. These CD`s were distributed to participants. The rest of materials has been distributed
in seminar arranged on next day. That seminar was for building contractors and owners.

100 booklets with 8 pages were prepared, translated and printed for seminar.

During the seminar following presentations were held:

Reasons for renovations ( Mr. Lasse Rajala, Finnmap Consulting)
Strengthening of foundations (Mr. Markku Husso, Finnmap Latvija)
Building additions ( Ms. Vita Zelmene, Finnmap Latvija)
Renovation process and solutions( Mr. Lasse Rajala, Finnmap Consulting)
Renovation of buildings and Latvian Construction Regulations, presented Mr. Dzintars Murniecks from
Building department of Ministry of Economics of Republic of Latvia

Mr. Lasse Rajala in Riga seminar Riga seminar audience

3.2.6 Hungarian seminar

The seminar took place on 16th of December in Budapest and had altogether 53 participants.

Presentation of typical panel building in Hungary was made in cooperation with the Technical Univer-
sity of Budapest. Possible renovation methods were examined with the consideration of the Hungarian
technical, social, political and financial conditions and circumstances.

Translation of the renovation material had been done so that 250 pages of document material and about
100 Power Point slides could be given to architects, engineers and installers. For this reason this mate-
rial was copied to 150 CD-s and also a booklet of 8 A5 pages (250 pieces) were distributed among those

4 Conclusions

Dissemination of the knowledge in steel intensive renovation methods has been performed in this pro-
ject. The project partnership has produced a text document as well as PowerPoint slides on new steel
intensive renovation methods including design guidelines. Design examples and constructional details
were also included as well as series of completed buildings were introduced.
Documents and PowerPoint slides were translated into Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Hun-
garian, which sums up with English versions in a total of over 1100 document pages and 500 Power-
Point slides. The English version of the text document is attached to Annex 2 and Seminar presentations
on CD. All language versions are included on a CD provided with this final report.
Seminars on steel intensive renovation methods were arranged in participating countries mainly
targeting design engineers, architects, constructors and authorities.

5 Exploitation and impact of the research results

Renovation technologies developed and tested in the two ECSC projects; Demonstration of pre-
fabricated modular construction in the renovation of multi-storey residential buildings (7215-PP-10)
and Steel in residential buildings for adaptable and sustainable construction (7215-PP-058), are rela-
tively new, but they offer new market opportunities for European steel producers and European steel
construction industry.
The most important task of this dissemination project was to convince the market of advantages of us-
ing steel in renovation. All partners were of the opinion that the seminars were successful and the inter-
est for usage of steel in renovation was raised within audience. The produced material is useful after the
seminars and the text document can be used as handbook for renovation.

ANNEX A Seminar material


Picture 1

Reasons for the projects - benefits

According to statistic value about 80% of existing housing building in Poland should be renovated, that
why it must be a plan to keep and renovate housing space especially to use the existing free spaces on
the roof.

For the existing buildings often untidy one chance for renovation is agree for changing destination of
common part over the last floor.

Add a new floor and complete an existing building may be a motor of change on better solution not
only in building but in buildings area as well.

Based on the statistic value from 2001 in Poland are about 350000 existing buildings what must be

Economical benefits:

costs of adding new floor are much less (20-30%) then build new apartment. Adding on the build-
ing market new apartment (more attractive) in very good localization (center of the city) where is
no possible to build a new one.

realization for rent or sale of new apartments (extra benefits),

thermo modernization (warm-up of existing buildings and new elevations), chip credit,

higher technical standard, less costs of living and conservation,

higher market value of whole building and all apartments,

investment as a self financing project external investor.

Usable value:

realization of new usable area:

new floor on the roof,

attic adaptation,

higher building standard:

functional changes,

new technical equipments,

new elevations,

new hermetic roof,

formatting exact microclimate of apartments.

Esthetical value:

forming of better architecture (proportions, esthetical, roofs shape of building and external view),

forming of attractive internal area (materials, acoustic, light),

better feeling of resident.

Ecological benefits:
less emission of harmful substance (ex. CO2) because of thermo insulation, less request for warm
for buildings,

protection of energetic stuff,

area saving, use existing buildings,

green area saving,

changing of small architecture and landscape.

Usage of technical knowledge, production potential, technical support and possibility of products and
components of Ruukki one can create professional system and service to manage all aspects of this pro-
jects, what create in practice real benefits, real value for the company and develops new areas in steel


Picture 2

The most troublesome tasks in renovation projects are connected with re-
pairs on and renewal of foundations. Mostly these involve additional piling
of the existing pile foundation or piling of an existing natural foundation
bed. Strengthening of foundations is usually required because the founda-
tion mat and the wooden piles under the foundation wall block are de-
cayed. Other reasons include subsidence of natural foundation bed on soft
ground, construction errors at foundation stage or new loads created by

Picture 3

Typical applications of steel piles include locations where the work space
is restricted or which are sensitive to vibrations. With small steel piles the
vibration level is minimal owing to the small cross-section area and light
driving tools. Displacement of soil becomes a critical factor where the
adjacent structures are supported on natural foundation beds or wooden
piles. Driving of steel piles causes extremely little soil displacement.

Steel piles can usually be driven with light tools that can be economically
transported to the site. Projects where only a couple of piles are required,
are also typical applications of steel piles. In comparison with eg.
reinforced concrete piles, steel piles are easy to handle also in cramped
locations, inexpensive to joint, require only low driving energy and are
easy to attach to the structures above them.

Picture 4

On renovation sites the number of piles and their locations are determined
on the basis of the condition and load-bearing capacity of the existing
foundations. The piles are usually located on both sides of the foundations
and the loads acting on the foundations are moved over to the piles via steel
beams. A cantilever slab or beam can also be built under the old foundations
and supported to the piles under the building. The right pile type is chosen
according to the condition of the foundations, and several different pile sizes
can be used on the same site depending on the load-bearing requirements.

Picture 5
The long-term strength of steel piles is ensured with anti-corrosion
protection. The effects of even corrosion are normally taken into
consideration by excessive dimensioning of the structure. The corrosion rate is
influenced by, among others, the soil type and humidity conditions, and it must
be determined separately in each case. Very often the corrosion rate is 0.02
mm/year. When the service life of structures is 50 years, the most commonly
applied corrosion allowance is 1 mm. Steel piles can also be protected by a con-
crete jacket or with organic coatings that isolate the steel from the soil. The steel
piles used in building construction are end-bearing piles that rest on a bearing
stratum. The most commonly used piles are so-called system piles (eg. RR and X
piles) for which steel pile joints, points and caps based on friction jointing have
been developed.
Picture 6

Also bored piles, G piles made of spheroidal iron as well as large pipe piles are used. On the basis of the
driving method, steel piles can be divided as follows:
driven piles
4- jacked piles
4- bored piles.

Steel piles are good examples of the recyclables of steel. The basic element is often a section cut from
the previous pile. The basic element is driven in the ground first, followed by jointed elements. Finally
the extra length of the pile is cut off, and the cut section used as the next basic element. Pile sections
that are too badly damaged to be used again are recycled as normal scrap steel.

Picture 7

Underpinning with Steel Pipe Piles


There are about 400 multi-storey buildings founded on wooden piles in the city centre of Turku in
Finland. Soil conditions are variable from hard rock to very soft clay. Due to the soil conditions and
ground water lowering there are basically four different types of underpinning projects. Under dimen-
sioned cohesion piles in a deep clay layer, decaying cohesion piles, combination of the previous reasons
and decaying end bearing piles in a thin clay layer area. Many different execution methods have been
used impact driving, jacking and drilling and combinations of these methods.


Turku is the oldest city in Finland. There are about 400 multi-storey buildings founded on wooden piles in
the city centre. The underpinning of Turku City centre has just started. About ten large underpinning projects
with steel pipe piles have been carried out, and a multiple amount underpinning projects shall be carried out
in next 15 years.

There has been carried some development projects out during the underpinning projects. For example: de-
velopment of small diameter drilled piles, jacked steel pipe piles, post grouted steel pipe piles installed with
combination of drilling, impact driving and jacking. There are also several development projects in progress
and more development projects will be started in next ten year.


The soil deposits in Finland were mainly formed during the last glaciations or thereafter as result of various
geological processes.

Soil conditions are very variable. In the centre of Turku the thickness of the soft sedimentary deposit can be
as much as 60 m. The bearing layer beneath the soft soil layers is typically very dense glacial moraine or
bedrock. The surface of the bedrock is normally quite inclined. This is understandable, because bedrock is
located on the ground surface a few hundred meters away from the deepest point of clay deposit as shown in
Picture 8.


moraine bedrock

Picture 8 Principals of groundwater and soil conditions in Turku.


There are two major reasons for underpinning; under dimensioned cohesion piles and upper ground water
lowering and its impurity. Basically there are four different types of underpinning projects due to these rea-
sons. Under dimensioned cohesion piles in a deep clay layer, decaying cohesion piles, combination of these
reasons and decaying end bearing piles in thin a clay layer area.

The execution method of steel pipe piles is chosen on the basis of the condition of the wooden piles, soil and
environmental conditions, the space available for the underpinning, and other similar reasons. In Turku have
been used many different execution methods, impact driving, jacking and drilling and combinations of these



In Finland impact driven steel piles has been the most common underpinning method in the recent decades.
Nowadays the use of impact driven piles in demanding underpinning projects has decreased. The reason for
this development is the risk of damaging the superstructure caused by impact driving. The main reasons for
damages of the superstructures are settlements, which is normally uneven.

Settlements are caused by:

Vibrations caused by impact driving
Soil displacements caused by piles
Soil compaction under the old foundation as well as old piles

However durability of superstructures for vibration and particularly for uneven settlements can varied dra-
matically at the old structure sites. Impact driving is still the most efficient and cheapest method for under-
pinning in many cases.

Pile type

The diameter of impact driven RR-piles varies from 60 mm to 220 mm. RR140 (d=139,7 wall thickness 10
mm) is the most common pile for underpinning.

Picture 9 shows RR-steel pipe pile, which is the most common pile type for underpinning.

Picture 9 Parts of RR-pile.

In Picture 9:

Pipe pile elements with fastened outside sleeve splice

Inner unfastened splice

Rock shoe

Bottom plate

Pile cap


The bearing capacity of a pile has to calculate in three different ways:




Each of previous mentioned things can be dimension the bearing capacity of the pile. Geotechnical capacity
might limited the bearing capacity of pile, when the surrounding soil layers are relatively stiff and headroom
of basement is limiting the efficiency of impact driving. Structural capacity might limit the bearing capacity
when piles are driven to bedrock and the surrounding soil layers are relatively stiff. Buckling might limit
when the surrounding soil layers are quite loose (for example undrained shear strength under 15 kPa).

Calculation of allowable geotechnical capacity is based on total safety factor method.

R bu + R su
R ca =

Rbu is ultimate base resistance

Rsu is ultimate shaft resistance

F total safety factor, in compression 2,2

Ultimate base and shaft resistance is calculated from equations:

R u = qbu A b

R su = q
siu A si

Ab is cross-sectional area of pile base,

Asi is shaft area in soil layer i

qbu is ultimate point resistance/area from Table 1

qsiu is ultimate shaft resistance/area from Table 1

Allowable geotechnical capacity has not been reached before the driving of the pile has fulfilled the deter-
mined end-driving criteria of the pile. Nowadays in general the end-driving criteria have been determined by

In Finland the efficiency of impact driving is normally the main factor of the pile capacity. At the basement
in very limited headroom (< 2,2m), the height of drop of the hammer is quite small or size of pneumatic
hammer is small, otherwise the length of the pile elements is very short. In generally pile elements are 1-
1,5m long.

1 2 3 4 5
[blow [ht qbu qsiu
/0,2 m] /0,2 m] [MPa] [MPa]
33 5 10 2 0,02
35 10 30 3 0,03
36 20 50 4 0,06
37 30 80 6 0,08
38 40 100 8 0,09
40 50 10 0,10
42 60 12 0,11
43 80 16 0,12
45 100 20 0,13
*3 m 26 0,14
*5 m 30 0,15
1 Friction angle
2 Dynamic probing
3 Weight sounding
4 Point resistance
5 Shaft resistance
Table 1 Ultimate base and shaft resistance/area

Structural capacity has been calculated with the same method as with drilled piles (Section 4.3)


Traditional drilled pile

The steel core pile consists of a round steel bar surrounded by cement grout and thin-walled casing tube,
which are generally considered to be corrosion protection. Usually the diameter of steel bars ranges from 90
to 120 mm and casing tubes from 139,7 to 168,3 mm, respectively.

Drilled piles are considered to be special piles for difficult soil and environmental conditions.

Typical features are for example:

soil layers hardly penetrable
the bedrock is inclined
a certain penetration depth has to be reached
surrounding structures are sensitive to vibrations and displacement caused by pile driving
high allowable pile loads are required

only small settlements are allowed

Picture 10 Traditional drilled pile resting on hard rock.

The very hard Scandinavian rock formation at reasonable depth is favourable for end-bearing piles. Piles are
drilled to bedrock using percussive drilling methods. This is contrary to Central European practice where
drilling is the main installation method for micro piles, because of different soil conditions.

Drilled steel pipe pile

The drilled steel pipe pile type for underpinning purposes is presented in Picture 10. Contrary to the tradi-
tional drilled pile, the pile consists of thick-walled casing tube filled with concrete grouting. In this special
case, the minimisation of working phases has been of primary importance because of extensive pile lengths.
The installation method with the concentric percussive drilling and drill bits designed especially for these
purposes guarantee the minimum deviations and reliable end bearing into the bedrock.

Picture 11 Drilled steel pipe pile resting on solid and fragmented rock.

In addition, by using high strength structural steel and dimensioning the permanent casing as a composite
structure, the utilisation of high allowable loads is possible. In the case of short element lengths (~1,5 m) one
of the most critical tasks is to find the most effective splicing techniques. Two different splicing techniques
have been used: a threaded joint (Picture 11) and the welding of casing tubes by an automatic welding ma-
chine (Picture 12).

Compared to the traditional steel core pile, adequate capacity in compression is reached without a steel core.
The bending stiffness as well as bending resistance has been increased. Furthermore one working phase is
spared in installation, because separate inner reinforcement is not used.


The determination of the bearing capacity of a pile always contains two separate phases, which have to be
verified. The structural bearing capacity represents the capacity of a pile body to transfer the applied load
from the pile head to pile toe with acceptable deformation. The geotechnical bearing capacity represents the
capacity to transfer the applied load from the pile body to the surrounding ground with acceptable settle-

Picture 12 Drilled pile elements with threaded joints.

Picture 13 NDS Welding Automate.

In the case of geotechnical bearing capacity, the strength of the solid Scandinavian bedrock is commonly in
excess of the design requirements. However, the importance of appropriate site investigations have to em-
phasised. Depending on the quality of the bedrock the pile can be designed as an end-bearing pile or shaft-
bearing pile in the bedrock. (Picture 10)

The main interest in dimensioning is related to the structural bearing capacity of a pile. A drilled pile is di-
mensioned either as a steel structure or as a composite steel and concrete structure depending on the shape of
the cross section.

The structural model used in dimensioning of drilled piles is equal to the dimensioning of columns com-
pletely surrounded by an elastic medium. The buckling length and load of a pile is determined according to
the bending stiffness of the pile and the stress-dependent deformation modulus of the surrounding soil. The
critical buckling load of the pile is used in the determination of bearing capacity. (Picture 13). The influence
of the buckling as a rejective factor of pile capacity depends always on the slenderness ratio of a pile.

P/N u Pcr /N u


1,0 R =



Picture 14 Structural bearing capacity of a pile is a function of the deformation characteristics of the surrounding soil.



In Finland jacked piles were used quite a lot in underpinning until the end of the 1970s. At that time it was
recognised, that the bearing capacity of jacked piles was not satisfactory. In those days jacked piles used to
be prefabricated concrete piles. Since then the use of jacked piles has been limited only for special condi-
tions, when the use of other installation methods have been impossible or very difficult. Nowadays the need
for jacked piles has increased especially in the cities near the coast.
Jacked piles are used when it is important to minimise any disturbance caused by the installation, for exam-
ple, in a case when the existing wooden piles are badly decayed.

Pile type

In Finland the jacked pile type usually used for underpinning is the steel pipe pile with a diameter of 139.7
mm and a wall thickness of 10 mm. The piles have external sleeve joints (Picture 9). The joint is double cone
friction joint.
The sleeve joints of jacked piles have been similar to impact driven piles. During development work was
discovered that the joints of jacked piles have to be less tight to compared to the joints used for impact driven
piles. Joints can be looser because jacked piles are not subjected to tensile stresses during installation. Looser
sleeve joints can be closed with a lower pressing force and therefore no extra stresses are caused to the su-
perstructures and to temporary jacking structures during closing. Very tight joints require high pressing
forces for closing the joint, which causes noise and vibration during the sudden closing of a joint. This may
cause damage to superstructures and temporary jacking structures.

Geotechnical bearing capacity

In the case of jacked piles the main importance in dimensioning is the geotechnical bearing capacity. The
structural bearing capacity has to be dimensioned for the jacking forces and it will also be tested during the
jacking. The structural bearing capacity of a jacked pile has to be dimensioned taking into account corrosion
allowance during the designed lifetime.

Geotechnical capacity is almost never the same as the maximum jacking force of the pile. Geotechnical bear-
ing capacity depends, certainly, on soil conditions.

Typical soil condition in the Turku area (Picture 8) is that on top there is a very soft layer of clay and below
it a stony glacial moraine layer rests on the bedrock. These kinds of soil conditions might cause troubles for
jacked piles, because jacked piles are not able to penetrate into bearing layers. The pressure beneath the toe
of a jacked pile is very high when the same pile loads as for driven piles are used. Driven piles will penetrate
into the bearing layer, transferring part of the load to the ground by shaft of a pile.

To improve the geotechnical bearing capacity it is necessary to do same kind of end driving as with impact
driven piles. In Finland the end driving system for jacked piles has been the following: "The installation of
piles is completed by raising the pressing force at the till layer to a level that is two times the design load
specified in the geotechnical design. The load is kept constant for about five minutes, increasing the pressure
in the jack as necessary. After this the settlement is measured, the load is decreased to 0 kN and the proce-
dure is repeated. The loading is repeated at least ten times. When the permanent settlement for five consecu-
tive loading runs stays below 5 mm, the loading is ended"

The effect of end-jacking can be seen in Picture 14 In the end-jacking phase the settlement of the pile takes
place during the variations of load. During a constant loading of five minutes there is virtually no settlement.
The main point in end-jacking is that the loading is varied frequently, because changes in the load always
cause settlement in the piles. Picture 14 shows that dozens of loading changes are required to fulfil the termi-
nating condition.

[kN] [min] [mm]

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
0 0
-50 -20
-100 -40
-400 -140

-450 -160

-500 -180

Picture 15 Load variation during the end-jacking procedure.

Jacked piles for underpinning

Jacking of piles is very convenient for the residents, because it produces virtually no noise or vibration. Be-
cause jacking of a pile does not produce any vibrations and therefore does not any involve settlement risk to
the underpinned building, but minor settlement is possible after piling. In Picture 15 shows the development
of settlement during the underpinning and afterwards.

It is also possible to install jacked piles very near or even inside the bearing structures. This will reduce the
cost of load transfer structures. Major cost savings will also be realised in demolition and rebuilding because
the jacking equipment does not need so much space as other types of pile installation equipment.

Project with impact driven piles

Project with jacked piles



settlement (mm)







0 100 200 300 400 500 600

Picture 16 Settlements of two underpinned multi-storey buildings.



The CSG pile (Continuously Shaft Grouted Micropile) is a steel pile bearing mainly with its mantle and con-
sisting of an RR pipe pile and the mortar grouted mantle on it. The CSG pile is installed usually by impact
driving, equipped with a special collar in order to facilitate the feeding of the grout. The grout runs into the
earth through the holes above collar. The point of the pile comes about half a meter beneath the collar, and
the function of the point is to down guide the pile as straight as possible. The thickness of the grout layer can
be adjusted by changing the size of the collar. RR75 piles with collar sizes of 115190 mm diameter have
been tested.

Jacked CSG piles for underpinning

CSG method combined to jacking is based on the same technique as used for impact driving. The main dif-
ference concerns the feeding of the grout. There is an overpressure of 25 MPa produced on the grout by
the impact driving work. Installation by jacking causes the additional need for grout pressure equipment. The
stages of installation are shown on Picture 19.

Test piles installed by jacking and CSG method were tested in the underpinning of As Oy Vh-Hmeenkatu
6, Turku. The building is an six storey apartment block, which was constructed in 1964 and underpinned in
the spring of 1999 by Tekra Oy, company is owned by The Skanska Group. Pile RR140x10 has a total di-
ameter 180 mm with 20 mm grout mantle. Jacking installation was implemented by a light and easy to han-
dle equipment, Picture 17.

Test piles were installed with jacking force of 330 kN, Picture 17. The criteria to stop the jacking was a per-
mitted settlement a 510 mm maximum per loading, re-run 5 times. The piles penetrated through sand onto
a dense moraine layer. The test piles were loaded 78 days after installation. The maximum load was 650
kN. Mainly elastic deformation was observed, the permanent settlement was less than 2 mm.

Shaft resistance of CSG piles

Corresponding values of shaft resistance (as given earlier in Section 3), can be given to CSG piles, Table 2.
Base resistance of CSG piles can be predicted according to Section 3.

Advantages of the CSG method

There are several advantages achieved by CSG method in jacking:

Easy and fast method for improved shaft friction when there are sand or gravel layers available.
Low installation force compared with ultimate load capacity allows use of light equipment and force
transfer structures.
An even and controlled mantle of grout.
Good protection against corrosion.
No noise, no vibration.

Picture 17 Jacking installation of RR140 pile with CSG method.

Loads of CSG piles

a b

Picture 18 Installation force (a) and test load (b) of CSG piles in the underpinning of As Oy Vh-Hmeenkatu 6, Tur-
ku project.

Relative density Friction angle () Unit shaft resistance (kN/m2)

Loose 33 20
34 40

Medium dense 35 80
36 100

Dense 37 120
39 180

Very dense 41 200

43 250

Table 2 Prediction of ultimate unit shaft resistance of CSG piles.

Picture 19

Stages of jacked CSG


1) Beginning of
2) Feeding of grout,
3) Lengthening of
the pile with RR
-pile element
4) Feeding of grout
and jacking
5) Lengthening when
6) Installation to
design depth.
7) A ready CSG pile.




Picture 20 Soil layers of site of Office Building Of Evangelical-Lutheran Parishes.


Office Building Of Evangelical-Lutheran Parishes

The Office Building of Evangelical-Lutheran Parishes was constructed in 1956. Spliced wooden piles
were used for the foundation of the 7-storey building. Piles were functioning as cohesion piles in clay.
Settlement and inclination speed of the building was quite high, maximum settlement speed was 20
mm/year: No decayed wooden piles were found at the site pit investigation.




Picture 21 Cross section of Office Building Of Evangelical-Lutheran Parishes.

Underpinning was started with test piling in the spring 1995. Final underpinning was carried out be-
tween September 1995- September 1996. Underpinning was carried out with impact driven steel pipe
piles with diameter of 139.7 mm and a wall thickness of 10 mm. (RR140). Piles were driven with MKT
5 and MKT 6 compressed air hammers. Efficiency of the hammers was tested with PDA-measurements.
Piles were driven at the top of the old floor, through diamond-sawcut holes. Loads from superstructures
were transferred from the old footings to piles with anchors (4 piece/pile). Settlement of the building
was 35-65 mm during the underpinning. Badly decayed piles and vibration of piling were the reasons
for the quite high local settlements. Old inclined wooden piles also caused problems. 25 steel pipe piles
had to be replaced, because curvature of the piles was too high. These piles hit against wooden piles
during driving. A total of 330 piles were driven. The length of the piles varied from 25 to 42 meters, the
total amount of piles amounted to 12 km.

Braahenkulma, apartment house

Braahenkulma was constructed 1953 Before construction the old building named Dammert house were
demolished, because it was damaged during the bombing of the second world war.

Originally for the foundation of the 7-storey building spliced wooden were used. The piles were func-
tioning as cohesion piles in clay. There are approximately 3000 wooden piles under the Braahenkulma,
2000 piles are from the Dammert house foundations. Because of this wooden jungle drilled pile was
chosen as the underpinning method.

Special pilot pits for drilling equipment was developed to make drilling through the old wooden piles
possible. The piles were first drilled to depth of 9 m and then execution of the piles was continued with
impact driving or jacking at area of the old Dammert house. After the execution piles were injected and
capacity of the piles was tested with fast static load test.

Load [kN]
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
10 after injektion
Setlement [mm]

60 before injektion

Picture 22 Fast static load test before and after injection.

Piles were driven from the top of the old floor, through diamond-sawcut holes. Loads from superstruc-
tures were transferred from old footings to piles with anchors (4 anchors/pile). A total of 270 piles were
driven Length of the piles was from 24 to 41 meter, in total amount of piles were 10 km.

Settlement of the building was 34-60 mm during the underpinning. Because of the massive foundation
and superstructures, damages to the superstructures were minor.


Working methods and piles were developed quite a lot during 1990s. There is no longer a need to de-
molished old floor and dick down under the old footings as was the case in the past. Nowadays old foot-
ings are part of the load transfer structures, to which new piles are anchored. It is also easier to work
and move equipment on the retained old floor.

Impact driving is a useful method for many underpinning projects. So far impact driving has been the
most economical solution if superstructure and the old foundation sustains vibration caused by pile
driving. In many cases old wooden piles are in such a bad condition that impact driving is out of the
questions. For this reason considerable amount of developing work is concentrated on drilling and jack-
ing technologies.

Drilling techniques have developed over the last few years giving opportunities for developing new and
different pile types. Wooden piles can be also be penetrated by special drilling tools. A safe bed rock
contact can be secured. Drilled piles may be installed in restricted headroom. The implementation of the
pile splices is a crucial issue in pile type for underpinning purposes. Two alternative solutions are avail-
able options for conventional hand made welding joints; a welding by automate and threaded joint.

Friction joints of jacked piles have to be less tight than the joints used for impact driven piles. Joint can
be looser because jacked piles are not subjected to tensile stresses during installation. Jacking of a pile
does not produce any vibrations and therefore does not involve the risk of settlement to the underpinned
building, but minor after-settlement may occur after the piling. It is also possible to install jacked piles
very near or even inside the bearing structures. This will reduce the cost of load transfer structures. Ma-
jor cost savings will also be realised in demolition and rebuilding because the jacking equipment does
not need as much space as other types of pile installation equipment.

Shaft resistance of impact driven and jacked piles can be improved with various grouting methods.


Picture 23

Normal ageing of a building, wear and tear, conversion for a new purpose of use or new space arrange-
ment, as well as defect of workmanship during the construction stage, may make it necessary to
strengthen the frame. Frames of old buildings cannot be repaired or altered unless the properties of the
old construction materials and the old working methods are known. The older the building, the less we
can rely on the structures having been implement in compliance with the documented plans.

Any alterations of frame structures should be carried out on the terms of the existing structures and
structural systems, which means that their load-bearing capacity and static model must be specified.
Loads shall be carefully transferred over to new or strengthened structures, after which any unnecessary
structures can be removed.

Alterations that can be performed on the frame include:

replacement of structural components

temporary braces
strengthening of structures

Replacement of structures is usually required because the existing structures have been damaged or
spoilt, their load-bearing capacity has been reduced etc. An old floor of wooden or reinforced concrete
construction, for example, can be removed and replaced by a composite floor. Composite slabs, edge
and reinforcing steels as well as braces can be mounted and fresh concrete transported also in cramped
locations where on site construction is the only alternative.

For removal of old structures, a demolition plan must always be drawn up, specifying eg. the structures
to be demolished, the demolition sequence and the methods, temporary bracing, protection of structures
and the required follow-up measurements as well as waste disposal. When a structural component is
removed, the loads borne by it must be moved over to temporary braces so that no harmful transitions
or bending takes place in the surrounding structures.

Steel offers many advantages in frame strengthening and conversion projects, such as lightness, high
strength, easiness of forming and recyclables. Transportation and installation of components is inexpen-
sive and the structures have small dimensions. The components can be finished on site and the tempo-
rary braces and other structures can be re-used in the next project.

Structural strengthening

In most cases any repairs performed on frame

structures also strengthen them. Structures can
be strengthened by increasing their cross-
section area or by replacing the material in
some cross-sections by a stronger material. In-
crease of cross-section area is usually restricted
by space and installation conditions. The pur-
pose of repair action is to restore the load-
bearing capacity of the structure or to improve
the capacity to the originally designed level.

Iron and steel produced in the early days of

steel construction cannot be handled and formed
with modern methods, such as welding.
Existing steel structures can only be strength-
ened by welding if the weld ability (carbon
equivalent) of the steel is known. When
strengthening structures, the original jointing
method should always be used. Riveting can be
replaced by high-quality bolts.

Picture 24

Steel is a natural material for strengthening of old structures in the following cases, among others:
strengthening of reinforced concrete columns

strengthening of reinforced concrete beams

strengthening of reinforced concrete slabs

stiffening of penetrations in masonry or reinforced concrete walls

Columns are mainly strengthened by increasing their cross-section area. Their effective height can also
be reduced, by e.g. supporting them to some other structure. Concrete columns can be enclosed with
welded or bolted steel plates. After the concrete column has been installed, the gap between the column
and the steel enclosure is filled with cement grout by injection.

Concrete beams can be strengthened with various steel profiles, for example if concrete reinforcements
cannot be used for some reason. This is a common method in cases where the steel on the bottom sur-
face of the beam is corroded or damaged by e.g. a fire.

The loads borne by the existing beam can also be transferred completely or partly over to new vertical
structures. The best solution shall have to be chosen on the basis of the available space, the used fire
protection method, collaboration between structures etc.

The easiest way to improve the load-bearing capacity of a reinforced concrete slab is to mount an addi-
tional beam under the slab. A steel beam wedged under the slab can be used as an intermediate support.
By sawing a groove on the top surface of the slab by the beam, the possible cracking of the slab, caused
by a negative moment, can be reduced. Steel beams can also be used to strengthen the sides of floor

In brick and concrete walls, the sides of large penetrations usually have to be strengthened. Steel beams
can be used for this purpose. The wall is first broken above the penetration for installation of the sup-
port beam. When the first beam has been installed, its ends are supported from below and the wall part
above is wedged against the steel beam. Then the second beam is installed and wedged. Finally the ac-
tual penetration is made and the support structures are covered as necessary (depending on the steel pro-
file) with e.g. concrete.


Picture 25

Partition wall structures are usually renewed or added because of functional needs. The space distribu-
tion of the dwelling can be re-arranged or the application of the spaces is changed, e.g. converting attic
space, offices or production space into dwellings.

Partition walls are divided into partition walls between rooms and between apartments. Sound insula-
tion and fire proofing need to be better on partition walls between apartments than on partition walls
between rooms, which is why their construction is different.

A thin gauge steel sheet frame is by far the

most common partition wall frame in
residential buildings in eg. Finland and
Sweden. The main components of the
partition wall system are the studs and the
horizontal rails as well as the required
supports (1.0-1.5 mm thin gauge steel sheet
used for strengthening) for fixing. Sound
insulation can be improved by using either
acoustic sections with rubber gaskets, or an
acoustic spring frame fixed to the frame

Picture 26

A partition frame of steel construction offers many advantages: good
dimensional accuracy and straightness
no moisture movement, no rot or mould
non-inflammable, fire rated structures available up to 120
facilitates prefabrication, cut-to-size and numbered components
swift and easy to install
frame system permits room height deviations of up to40 mm
without having to change the frame length
curved surfaces possible.

Picture 27

The frames are made of 0.56-0.66 mm thick hot-dip galvanized thin gauge steel sheet by roll forming.
The spacing of the studs is either kk 600 which is based on 1200 mm wide wall panels, or kk 900 which
is based on 900 mm wide panels.

An old attic converted into a dwelling.

51A principle drawing of a framed

partition system based on 1200 mm
wide wall panels. A principle draw-
ing of a framed partition system
based on 900 mm wide wall panels.
The number of horizontal struts de-
pends on the height of the wall.

Partition wall panels being fixed.

Picture 28 A principle drawing of the steel frame structure of a curved

For unusually high walls (up to 6.0
m) or for use as a bracing frame in eg. frames of heavy doors, a separate steel frame system made of 1.2
mm thick steel sheeting, is available.

The advantage of the new 900 mm system is its lightness in installation work. Narrow panels are easier
to handle also in cramped spaces. A horizontal section is used in the system also between the top and
bottom rails. The horizontal section is mounted between the studs at a height of 1250 mm from the
floor. If the wall is over 2725 mm high, a second horizontal section is mounted at a height of 2250 mm
from the floor. This permits a maximum wall height of 3400 mm.

The components of the frame system are fixed to each other with screws, rivets of fixing clamps. The
wall panel(s) are fixed to the frame with screws. Installation time can be shortened by cutting the studs,

the heat insulation and the wall panels to size and numbering them on the basis of the installation se-
quence. Efficient installation methods and tools ensure high quality and swift installation.

A steel frame system makes implementation of curved surfaces simple. Unequal angle sections are used
as bottom and top plates. The angle section is grooved with a spacing of 20-30 mm so that the section
can be curved as desired. The sheet-metal tie plate (0.5-1.0 thin gauge sheeting) mounted on the frame
posts defines the curve shape and prevents the stops from buckling (Fig. 5.5). The bending of the wall
panels must be performed in compliance with the manufacturers instructions.

Electrical installations can be located quite freely. The frame can be ordered with pre-cut penetrations
or the penetrations can be cut on site with punching pliers. An acoustic sealant should be applied to the
panel penetrations to ensure good sound insulation.



The raised floor structured made of light gauge purlins has been planned for the needs of new building,
renovation building and supplementary building. The basic points of using raised floor are the demands
of the rebuilding flexibility of the rooms and the needs of setting house technique to floor structures. It
is essential for the rebuilding flexibility to easily open the raised floor and to access to the house tech-
nique. The placement requirements of house technique vary according to the project type, especially it
is often most simple to place the new house technique to the hollow state of the raised floor in renova-
tion building and supplementary building. The choice of the raised floor as the floor structure should be
studied from the point of view of product life cycle economy. Then the option calculations should in-
clude initial costs and the estimated future operating costs and modification costs.

The raised floor of Ruukki suits to the normal residential use or equal when considered loads and envi-
ronmental conditions. The restrictions of using raised floor in renovation building are the low storey
heights. The fire technical and sound technical features of the floor should be studied as a entity to-
gether with the load-bearing slab structure and house technique. The raised floor makes the impact insu-
lation and the airborne sound insulation better compared to the mere slab structure. The most typical
targets of use for the raised floor are for example:

Blocks of flats in new construction,

The change of the purpose of use in renovation building,
Supplementary building e.g. to the attics.

Picture 29 Ruukki raised floor

Structure, materials and accessories

The alternative structure types and the basic details of the raise floor are introduced in the figures
RRFDUK01 and RRFDUK02. The material and technical characteristics of the light purlins are ex-
plained in the chapter 8, Ruukki Light purlin. The technical information of the low liner sheet of Ruukki
are also informed in the brochure. When using plaster boards, the products come from Gyproc Ltd ac-
cording to manufacturers instructions. Other materials and accessories are specificated in every project
as well as the requested environmental classification of the used materials. The latter concerns mostly
plaster boards and the materials used to glueing and surface materials.

There are two basic structural types: plaster board floor and casting floor. Both types have similar
purlins with their adjusting feet and liner sheet. The purlins are type Z-120-1.2. The purlin division is
c600 and the adjusting feet division is c900. The right height position and the elimination of the rough-
ness of the under floor is done with the adjusting feet. The adjustment range is 50 mm the height of the
hollow space from the top edge of under floor to the bottom edge of the liner sheet is 150200 mm. If
the height of the hollow space must be more than 200 mm the solutions can be found with the help of
the product shore of Ruukki. The purlins have system perforation c300 for height adjustment of the
floor structure. The hot galvanized liner sheet type is Ruukki 20SR, mat. thickness 0.7 mm. The size of
the sheet is 1.05x1.85 m2, effective width 1.0 m and effective length 1.8 m. The total height of the struc-
ture is app. 210 260 mm depending on the surface material.

In the plaster board alternative the raised floor builds up to the two plaster board layers assembled upon
the liner sheet. The recommendation of the plaster boards are the floor plaster boards of Gyproc GL 15.
In some cases it may be used special hard plaster boards GEK 13. In the latter alternative it has to be
noticed that the mass of the sheet layer is app. 23 % minor and the surface hardness is app. 18 % lower
than that of a floor plaster board. The bending stiffness of the structure made of plaster also diminishes
app. 16 %.

Casting floor can also be done as either concrete casting or plaster casting. The total height of the cast-
ing in normally app. 60 mm. The alternative is mend to be a solution in sanitary rooms. The castings are
done unreinforced. The uniformity of the surface is defined according to the selected surface materials.

The surface materials of the plaster board alternative are quite freely choose, tiling is not recommended.

Structural operation

The raised floor has been designed to the load class I and II in RakMK part B1. The effect of the bigger
loads have to be studied separately. The deflection of the floor structure is app. 1 mm with concentrated
load (150 kg) in the sheet field between the purlins. To moderate the typical vibration and sound trans-
mission of the plain structures, the structure is equipped with a damping gum. The stability of the struc-
ture demand supporting the floor in the purlin level to the surrounding wall structures. The underpin-
ning is done point wise in every side with a stiff damping gum joint c600. The point wise underpinning
is adequate, it allows the structure to ventilate and it has been proved to make the sound technical fea-
tures of the floor better compared to the continuous underpinning when closed structure is formed from
the hollow space.

The fire resistance of the raised floor is defined according to the load-bearing slab. The raised floor
without any surface materials full fills the standard of the ignitability classification 1 and the fire
spreading class I.

House technology

Conduits and electric wires and water pipes (height under 50 mm) are assembled directly upon the un-
derlay. Air conditioning piping and gully piping higher than 50 mm and perpendicularly towards the
purlins cut the Z-purlins. The height of the hollow space of the floor allows the pitch of the sewerage
for app. 10 m in normal housing. Perpendicular pipelines toward the course of purlins are avoided as
much as possible when planning the pipe routes.

Gully piping and air conditioning piping working as sound sources are insulated when needed. The pip-
ing must not be in touched to the structures of the raised floor without insulation. The lead-through per-
forating the surface structures of the floor are insulated with flexible materials.

Possible water circulated or electrical floor heating is taken into consideration according to the instruc-
tions of the manufacturer of the plaster board and the foundering height of the casting floor.

Sound technology

The setting of the acceptable criterias to the stiffness of the structures and sound technical properties is
difficult because of the personal subjectivity. When criticizing organoleptically the features of the
raised floor the point is the equality to the conventional battened floor structure.

The raised floor improves the air insulation and impact sound insulation compared to the alone operat-
ing slab structure. The raised floor together with the normal concrete slab structures and floor surface
materials full fills the sound technical requirements of RakMk part C1.

The internal walls of the apartments built upon the finished raised floor add the mass of the structure.
This makes sound and vibration technique better in every apartment. In some cases the result can be
improved by cutting the floor structure in every room and by taking the internal walls to the slab struc-
ture, however then the conversion flexibility lessens. There is no need to do that in normal housing.

Material operations

The research and development of the raised floor in Ruukki is almost finished when considered the
principal components. Some advanced studies and production planning are under research. The readi-
ness for delivering the raised floor will be informed separately.

The delivery from Ruukki Steel Ltd considering the materials and accessories of the raised floor will be
the top surface of the liner sheet. Ruukki delivers the order to the construction site and the purlins and
liner sheets cut to size and the amount of fastening equipment and installation materials needed accord-
ing to the agreed timetable. The internal delivery in the construction site is done by the installation en-

In the material functions of the raised floor the co-operation of the house technology, construction tech-
nology and the feasible study is important. Some things have to be considered when aiming as short
leading-through time and little waste of material as possible:

Deviated from the conventional house technical planning it is beneficial to design the location of
the house technical lines cutting the purlins to the plans. Then almost all of the purlins can be deliv-
ered to the construction site cut to size,

Perpendicular lines towards the purlins are set to the limited area. Then the cutting of the purlins

Studying different design areas in early phase of planning is necessary. Then the factors influencing
for the contents of the plans and the fluency of the implementation in the construction site can be

Special attention have to be paid to fitting different work phases and material operations not to tie
operation targets unnecessarily.

Materials and accessories are possible to be stocked to the construction object by using rostrums on the
floor, leaving the slab free.


Assembling the raised floor can be started when all the house technical assemblies on the whole space
of the floor are finished. Before assembling the raised floor the slab has to be cleaned carefully from the
organic construction waste. The substructure has to be dry enough when considering the moisture dur-
ing construction. Relative humidity under the new raised floor with plaster board must not exceed the
critical value 80 %. The slab dries during construction through holes and wall adjacent, but slower. The
assembling order of the raised floor is following:

Purlins and adjustment feet are divided to appropriate area in the construction target from assembling
work point.
The first purlin is supported towards the wall with gum seals c600. The gum seals are also assembled to
the edges of the purlins, alternately one edge seal for one purlin. The purlins are not fastened mechani-
cally to the walls or the adjustment foot to the underlay. The height position of the purlin is adjusted to
its place by using hex recess set screws. Different door connections like balconies, sanitation and other
structural edge conditions have to be taken into consideration. The location of the adjustment foot from
the edge of the purlin can be max 150 mm, then there will not be too flexible cantilever in the purlin. If
the system perforation of the purlins doesnt full fill the cantilever-term in the edge of the purlin, a sepa-
rated hole is done in the construction site.
Assembling purlins continues and adjustment is done in every room, the purlins are supported tempo-
rarily when needed.
The plaster boards support profiles are assembled beside walls to free sheet edges. They also tie the
purlins together. In foundering alternative the foundering prevent profiles and profile seals are assem-
bled instead of the sheet supporting profiles. The profiles are assembled 5 mm apart from the wall.

Liner sheets are formed and perforated before assembling when needed, assembling with effective
width 1000 mm, fastening to support in every third valley trough with self-drilling screws SD3-T15-
4.8x19. The sheets are end over lapped from the edges 50 mm. The side seams are joined together with
screws c500. Bigger holes in sheet fields are supported according to the special plans when needed.
Assembling the plaster board floor according to the assembling instruction of the manufacturer.
In foundering floor alternative the foundering barriers are completed to the reveals of bigger holes and
leading-through seals to smaller perforations. Special attention have to paid to compaction of the longi-
tudinal seams of the liner sheets when using consistent foundering mass with low surface tension.
Foundering is done by using working method instructions of each material.
The assembling of the surface of the floor is finished and the surface materials with flashings are as-

Suspended ceiling system

Suspended ceiling structures are usually built or renewed because of functional needs. The space distri-
bution of the dwelling can be re-arranged or the application of the spaces is changed, eg. converting
attic space, offices or production space into dwellings. In that connection it may be necessary to make
the rooms lower, to cover services or to improve the sound insulation of horizontal structures.

The ceiling suspension system can be made in steel construction. The main components of the system
include the perimeter and corner mouldings, the main runners and cross tees as well as various adjust-
able hangers. Sound insulation can be further improved by using an acoustic spring frame fixed to the
ceiling frame, or acoustic board structures.

A steel suspension system offers many advantages:

good dimensional accuracy and straightness
no moisture movement, no rot or mould
cut-to-size and numbered components
swift and easy to install
flexible height regulation


Picture 30

The roof is subjected to weathering more than the rest of the external envelope. The roof needs to be
rainproof and possess good heat and moisture insulation properties. Moreover, the roofs mechanical
strength shall be sufficient to resist the stresses caused by snow loads and ice. Temperature variations
and the stresses caused by them can also be great. In order to avoid excessive deformation, the maxi-
mum length of corrugated sheeting, among others, should be restricted to 12 m. Where the length ex-
ceeds 12 m, movement joints should be employed.

The need for roof renovation is quite easy to determine. As long as the old roof looks intact on the out-
side and is rainproof, and the structures have not yielded, the roof is still functional. Water tightness
should also be checked on the inside. If extensive moisture damage is found on the roof base structures,
renovation is required. Leaks can be located by means of thermograph, capacitance measurement or
methods based on isotropic radiation. Building of extensions, conversion of attic space into habitable
space as well as refurbishment of the entire building usually also make roofing renovation necessary.

The first design stage is selection of the roofing material,
where the required minimum pitch may become a restricting
for tile sheeting 1:4
for corrugated sheeting 1:7
for standing seam profiled sheeting 1:7
for flat sheet-metal roofing 1:12

The next stage involves inspection of the load-bearing

structures in the existing roof and the planning of required
repairs, straightening and new structures. Sufficient
ventilation of the new roofing should also be ensured.

The possibility of utilizing the old roofing as an underlay

and temporary roof covering is also worth considering
during the design stage. This will eliminate work
interruption due to weather, as well as the need for separate
temporary covering. Unnecessary demolition of existing
structures should be avoided, whenever possible. By
utilizing as much of the old structures as possible the
amount of waste material to be disposed of is minimized.
With the exception of shingles and asbestos-cement sheets, Picture 31
existing roofing material can usually always be left under
the new roofing.

Selection of fasteners for steel roofing should

be based on their strength and corrosion
resistance. For ordinary thin gauge steel sheet
structures (max. material thickness 1.2 mm)
the shear strength of 4.8 mm self-drilling
screws or self-tapping screws is sufficient to
ensure a strong fixing. The required
corrosion resistance is determined on the
basis of the environments stress class. A
reliable end result is not achieved unless the
properties of the fasteners are checked. In
Finland, the easiest way to do this is on the
basis of a product declaration verified in
compliance with the B6 instructions of the
Finnish Building Code. A verified product
declaration contains all the required
information of the properties of the product,
its purpose of use and applications. In
Finland product declarations related with the
B6 and B7 instructions are verified by the
Finnish Constructional Steelwork
Association Ltd.

Picture 32 47
Fixing with self-drilling screws is very quick. The bore-bit tip drills the hole and the threaded part of the
shank cuts the thread when the screw is driven, all in a single action. In practice self-drilling screws can
be driven to a maximum depth of 10-12 mm of steel. If the total thickness exceeds this, self-tapping
screws with blunt tips should be used. A hole is drilled first and when the screw is driven in the hole it
cuts the thread. In other words, two separate work stages are needed. Self-tapping screws with pointed
tips are used when fastening thin gauge sheets (0.6 mm) to a wooden base or to each other with a pre-
drilled hole. A self-tapping screw with a pointed tip can bore its way through a thin sheet although it
does not have an actual bore-bit tip.

Metal roofing has long

traditions in Finland,

Picture 33

Flat sheet-metal roofing

Flat sheet-metal roofing is usually made of smooth thin-gauge sheet metal, 610 mm in width and 0.5 or
0.6 mm in thickness. For machine seaming the sheets are prefabricated in a lead cutter in which the
sheet edges are bent for seaming. The sheets are fastened to the roof base with holding down clips
which are folded into the seam, producing a concealed fix. The cross-joints are double-lock welted

Penetrations, chimney flashings, valley flashings and other components are seamed to the roofing sheet.
For penetrations a thin gauge steel sheet cone at least 300 mm in height shall be made. This produces a
tight continuous roofing which needs no underlay. An extra layer of eg. unsanded bitumen felt can,
however, be laid immediately under the steel roofing, for example to improve the tightness of valleys or
the sound insulation of the roof structure.

For flat sheet-metal roofing the pitch of the roof must be at least 1:12. The base structure is usually
boarded with 22 x 100 mm boards, with a spacing of 20-60 mm. By gutters, valleys and eaves, as well
as round chimneys and trapdoors, and in areas where snow will fall from an upper level, solid boarding
is used. Sheet-metal roofing should always be laid by a professional rainwater plumber. Plumbers are
usually needed also in making the flashings of chimneys and other penetrations, as well as in laying
sheeting on difficult shapes. Only hot-dip galvanized nails are used in the fixing of all timber structures.
More detailed instructions for laying of flat sheet-metal roofing is found in the Finnish RT instruction

When sheet-metal roofing is laid on existing tile roofing, the tiles and the battens are first removed. If
the battens are mounted on a continuous timber base and underlay foil, the sheet-metal roofing can be
laid directly on them. Otherwise the base structure has to be boarded.

Picture 34

If the roofing is laid an an existing lathing, corrugated roofing or sheet-metal roofing, battens are
mounted on the trusses and the required boarding fixed on the battens. If the seams of the old roofing
are rolled down flat, the boarding can be nailed directly through the old roofing to the trusses.

Sheet-metal roofing and fasteners.

Laying of machine seamed sheet-metal roofing. This is a popular roofing type also in roof renovation
projects of small houses.

The roofing can be fixed with eg. bitumen to the base structure.

Double-lock welts.

Sheet-metal roofing shall be laid by a professional rainwater plumber.

Standing seam profiled sheeting

Profiled roofing is usually made of 0.6 mm thick steel sheets, coated with eg. PVF2. The sheets are pro-
duced by roll forming and come complete with tongues and grooves. The effective width of the sheet is
456 mm and maximum length 10 m. The stiffness of the sheets is improved with two longitudinal
folds, to make them easier to install, among others. The tongue of the sheet is fastened to the base with
holding-down clips which are then folded inside the welted seam of the next sheet (groove), making a
concealed fix. On eaves and ridges the sheets are fastened also with screws fastened on the flat ribs. The
screws are furnished with rubber sealing washers. If required, the roofing sheets can be disassembled
later. The height of the standing seam is 45 mm. Cross-seams are made with 200 mm over-lapping, with
the tongue cut off over that distance.

Small penetrations are implemented with small soakers. Flashings for larger penetrations, such as chim-
neys, should be made by professional rainwater plumbers to ensure a tight roofing. The result is a wa-
tertight roofing for which an underlay is recommended.

The pitch of the roof should be at least 1:7. The underlay and 450 mm boarding are installed on the
trusses. Boarding should consist of 22 x 100 mm boards when the truss spacing is 450 mm, 28 x 100
mm boards for a truss spacing of 900 mm and 32 x 100 mm boards for a truss spacing of 1200 mm.
Valley bases should have solid boarding over a 600 mm distance on both sides of the valley and a wa-
tertight valley slashing is mounted on the boarding. The ridge capping used on the ridge is fastened on
the ridge point of each seam with screws and sealing washers. Snow barriers and roof bridges can also
be fastened directly on the seam of the roofing sheet.

Installation of profiled sheeting is quite simple. A rainwater plumber may be needed, however, to lay
the flashings on chimneys and other penetrations as well as on difficult shapes. Only hot-dip galvanized
nails should be used on timber structures. More detailed installation instructions are provided by the
sheeting supplier.

When installing standing seam profiled sheeting onto existing brick roofing, the bricks and the battens
are first removed. If the battens are installed on a continuous timber base and underlay foil, profiled
sheeting can be laid directly on them. Otherwise boarding shall be fixed under the sheeting.

If the roofing is laid on an existing lathing, corrugated roofing or sheet-metal roofing, battens are
mounted on the trusses and the required boarding fixed on the battens. If the seams of the old roofing
are rolled down flat, the boarding can be nailed directly through the old roofing to the trusses.

Standing seam profiled sheeting with concealed fix.

The sheeting is easy to seam tightly.

Ridge capping.

Finished roofing with standing seam profiled sheeting

Corrugated sheeting alternatives, low corrugated sheets 18, 19, 20, 26, 35 and 45.

Penetration units.

Longstrip corrugated sheeting

Corrugated sheeting is available with both sinusoidal and trapezoidal corrugations, in dozens of differ-
ent types. The profile height of sheeting used for roofing purposes is normally 18-45 mm. The trade
name usually indicates the profile height. Sheet gauges vary from 0.5 to 1.0 mm and the correct gauge
is selected on the basis of the loads and boarding spacing. Effective widths are nowadays 900-1100

Corrugated sheeting is laid on a ventilated base, on boarding, to facilitate draining of possible condensa-
tion from the lower surface of the sheets. Underlays are usually recommended. The size of boarding is
selected on the basis of loads and the truss spacing; the boards are usually 22-50 x 100 mm. A steel
frame can also be used instead of boarding. For longstrip corrugated sheeting the minimum pitch is 1:7.
The sheeting is laid so that the lap joint does not touch the decking, i.e. with the narrow side of the pro-
file facing up. The sheets are usually lapped by half a fold. For fixing, hot-dip galvanized or zinc screws
with rubber washers are recommended, fixed on the rib tops. Chimney flashings are seamed to the
decking and the decking is fixed and sealed to the roofing sheets. The decking is usually raised all the
way to the ridge. There are prefabricated penetration units available for different roofing profiles, for
installation of air conditioning ducts and units. Prefabricated components are available also for ventila-
tion pipes, antenna penetrations and fire vents. These are easy to install and seal on the roofing sheets.

When laying corrugated sheeting on existing brick roofing, the bricks and the lathing are first removed.
If the laths are straight and in good condition, the roofing sheets can be laid on them as such.

If the new steel sheeting is laid on an existing roofing felt, corrugated sheeting or flat sheet-metal roof-
ing, new battens and boarding must be fixed on the trusses, on tops of the existing roofing. The sheets
can also be laid directly on the old smooth roofing felt or flat sheet-metal roofing, if the seams are
dressed down flat.

Corrugated sheeting can be laid on an existing asbestos sheeting without changing the battens. If the old
sheeting is left under the new roofing, the joists and the boarding shall be installed as close to the
trusses as possible.

Manufacturers of longstrip corrugated sheeting have published detailed installation instructions for all
profiled sheeting types. General instructions can be found in the Finnish RT instruction 85-10374.

Tile sheeting

Tile sheeting usually requires a minimum pitch of 1:4, The spacing of decking must always match that
of the cross profiles (300.460 mm). Boarding is installed under each transverse corrugation. 22 x 100
mm boards can be used with a 900 mm truss spacing and 32 x 100 mm boards with a 1200 mm truss
spacing. An underlay is recommended in all cases.

Like all profiled sheeting, tile sheets are always delivered to the site by order. Together with the re-
quired accessories, tile sheets build up an all-inclusive roofing system. The suppliers produce on the
basis of the customers drawings not only the tile sheets but also the required flashings, seals, fasteners,
underlay, rainwater system, rood bridges, roof ladders and fire ladders. The units are delivered to the
site straight from the factory, complete with installation instructions.

The roofing sheets are fixed to the boards on the top of the rib with hot-dip galvanized or stainless
screws and EPDM rubber seals and washers. Flashings, seals and penetration units are fixed according
to the suppliers instructions which vary to some extent from one product to another. The delivery of
tile sheeting system usually always includes also installation instructions. The chimney flashings are
jointed to the decking by seaming, and the decking is fixed and sealed to the roofing sheets. The deck-
ing is usually raised all the way to the ridge.

Penetration units are available for all tile sheet profile types for installation of air conditioning

ducts and units. Prefabricated components are made also for ventilation pipes, antenna penetrations and
fire vents, that are easy to install and seal to the roofing sheets.

When the tile sheets are laid on existing brick roofing, the bricks and the lathing are first removed. If
there is a felt underlay or sound shingle roofing under the lathing, these can be left in place. Thin bat-
tens are nailed on the trusses and the boarding is located on the basis of the tile sheetings pattern spac-
ing. The delivery of tile sheeting includes detailed instructions for installation of boarding. If the old
structures are dismantled, an underlay is recommended under the boarding.

If the new steel sheeting is laid on existing roofing felt, corrugated sheeting or flat sheet-metal roofing,
new battens and boarding must be fixed on the trusses, on top of the existing roofing. The sheets can
also be laid directly on the old smooth roofing felt or flat sheet-metal roofing, if the seams are dressed
down flat.

Tile sheeting can also be laid on existing asbestos sheeting. If the old sheeting is left under the new
roofing, joists at least equal in height to one corrugation as well as the required boarding are first
mounted in the ribs of the old roofing as close to the trusses as possible.

Steel base structures

The base structures of steel roofing can also be made in steel construction, whereby the entire roof
structure is rendered non-flammable. Steel frames and trusses are made of cold-rolled sections. Also
structural pipe and other structural sections can be used to strengthen or renew roof base structures

Rainwater system

Picture 35

The construction of rainwater systems has

traditionally been the responsibility of a
rainwater plumber, and usually the systems are
constructed in connection with roof repairs. With the
introduction of prefabricated roofing also prefabricated rain-
water systems have become common

The main components of a rainwater system include the horizontal gutters that collect
the water draining from the roof, and the down pipes that transfer the water in a controlled
manner clear of the building. On flat sheet-metal roofs, the rainwater system often includes
also vertical gutters. In addition, various fasteners, funnels, angles, curves, end pieces etc.
are required. These can be either prefabricated or made on site, as required.

Examples of tile sheets.

Tile sheeting can be fixed quickly with the right tools. Correct working position also reduces shoulder
and back problems.

Roofing screws: a) self-drilling screws and b) self-tapping screws.

The gutters and the downpipes are selected so that for each 1 m2 of the roof surfaces horizontal projec-
tion the gutter cross-area is 100 mm2 and the downpipe cross-area 50 mm. When mounting the rain-
water system, it should be noted that

the gutter shall be inclined towards the downpipe by 5 mm/m

the front edge of the gutter shall be at least 25 mm below the imaginary extension of the roofing

the rear edge of the gutter shall be at least 15 mm higher than the front edge.

Snow barriers

Picture 36

As indicated by their name, snow barriers are used to stop snow falling from pitched roofs. Steel roof-
ing is usually so slippery that the snow will glide down. On the other hand, this automatic snow re-
moval is often considered as one of the advantages of steel roofing.

Snow barriers are needed if falling snow can injure people, or damage structures or some other prop-
erty. They are often used also to stop snow from falling in front of doors, on stairs etc. from where it
would have to be removed in any case.

There are several different types of snow barriers available on the market: tubular, made of plate mate-
rial, profiled and net barriers. The selection of a snow barrier is influenced by the pitch of the roof, the
length of the slope and the risks caused by falling snow. It is important that the strength of the struc-
tures, corrosion resistance and roof tightness by fixing penetrations are considered carefully.

Roof ladders and roof bridges

Building regulations specify that safe access must be provided from fire ladders and trapdoors to the
chimney, to the air-conditioning plant and to any structures requiring regular inspection. For steel roof-
ings, this regulation applies when the pitch of the roof is higher than 1:8. Access shall also be provided
to the required fixing structures and equipment of safety and maintenance systems. Access can be ar-
ranged by means of roof ladders parallel with the slope or roof bridges parallel with the ridge.

Roof ladders and bridges are supplied by several manufacturers. The choice should be based on the
strength and corrosion resistance of the products, as well as on the their applicability to various roof
types. Roof ladders and roof bridges are in most cases fixed to the roof structures which means that the
tightness of the penetration fixings should be ensured.

Picture 37


General performance of a roof in the sense of building physics

Building physics

The rain is the most visible of the moisture attacks to a structure. It may appear as water, sleet, hail, fog
or snow. The inclined rain always occurs together with a hard wind. The inclined rain is considered to
be one of the most important factors burdening the encasement of a building and of the originators of
the moisture damages. The inclined rain has a great effect on the shore and at the peripheries of the ex-
panses. The quantity of the inclined rain is about 20 to 30% of the quantity of the vertical rain, or about
100 to 200 mm/m2. The height and shape of the building as well as the trees and buildings around the
building affect so that the inclined rain is not evenly applied to the wall of the building. The attack is
highest in the top parts and in the corners of the high-rise buildings. The most important ill-effects
caused by the snow are the loading on the roofs and the snow penetrating through the vent holes into the
structural elements. Where the snow has drifted on the balconies and the wall sides, the structural ele-
ments and materials are exposed to direct moisture contact.

The drifts may also deteriorate the ventilation of the external walls and increase the moisture content in
the ventilation space. A light snow cover is also a good thermal insulation, affecting primarily the tem-
perature distribution of the roof structure and levelling the temperature variations. In the planning it
should be kept in mind that due to repeated melting and freezing, ice embankments may arise on the
roof, behind which melting water may collect and rise, e.g. at the discontinuities of the structure. Harms
caused by the rain in the walls can be reduced by using sufficiently overhanging eaves, which prevent
the rainwater from penetrating at least into the top parts of the walls and the structural elements of the
roof. Correspondingly, the possible moisture attack due to splashing and ponding of the rainwater
should be taken into account in the lower part of the external wall and in the parts of the foundations
above ground level. Using a decent rainwater system and correct sewerage of the rainwater, the service
life of the building is extended by years.

Picture 38 Actions to different parts of the roof and the origins of moisture.

Movements of moisture through the structural elements.

The moisture moves through the structural elements as liquid, vapour or both. To establish the move-
ment, some potential or force is needed. The movement of water in liquid form is affected by the wa-
ter pressure, the wind pressure and the capillary suction. The absolute humidity of the air indicates the
water content of the air under a certain condition in grams per cubic metre, i.e. the warmer the air is, the
more it contains water vapour. The relative humidity (RH) indicates the water vapour content of the air
at a certain temperature as a percentage of the maximal water vapour content (g) that the air at that tem-
perature may contain. When the maximal water vapour content of the air is exceeded, the dew point is
reached and the water vapour condenses into water. In any structure, the water vapour always con-
denses on the surface colder than the adjacent air. The dew point is the temperature at which the water
vapour of the air changes into water, i.e. condenses, and reaches its saturation humidity.

The movement of the water vapour in the structural elements takes mainly place as follows:

as a diffusion, where the water molecules move from a higher concentration into a lower one,

as a convection, where the air functions as a medium carrying the water vapour.

The humidity contained in the indoor air or outdoor air penetrates into the structural elements either in
the form of diffusion caused by the partial pressure difference of the water vapour (the direction of the
diffusion is from the higher partial pressure to the lower one), or carried by the air flow, i.e. convection,
caused by the air pressure difference.

The humidity in the indoor air is determined by the outdoor humidity and temperature, the indoor tem-
perature, the ventilation as well as by the moisture evaporating from different sources. The relative hu-
midity of the indoor air is lowest during the winter, when the cold outdoor air, coming into the interiors
as a compensation air, contains little humidity (even though the relative humidity is high). Despite this,
the absolute humidity of the indoor air is higher than that of the outdoor air because of the creation of
humidity in the indoor air (use of the room).

Picture 39 Movement of moisture through the structural elements

Performance in the sense of moistness engineering

The performance of the roof elements in the sense of moistness engineering is affected by many exter-
nal factors. The most important parts of the roof structure in addition to the load-bearing structures are
the roofing, the thermal insulation and the vapour and air barrier. The performance of one part depends
also on the performance of the other parts, which is the reason why it is important to build the roof cor-
rectly from the very beginning. The roof structure of the building, the attic space or the substructure of
the roofing collects moisture during the use of the building from the outdoor air as well as from the in-
door air if there are deficiencies in the moisture and air barrier of the roof. The indoor air nearly always
contains more humidity than the outdoor air. It is caused by moisture evaporating from the different
moisture sources in the indoor air during the normal use of the building (people, washing, laundry dry-
ing, cooking). The humidity difference between the indoor air and the outdoor air tends to level out.
Especially during the winter time, when the indoor air is warmer than the outdoor air, the humidity of
the indoor air, i.e. water vapour, tends to move out through the structural elements. When the humidity
(water vapour or the damp air) moves towards the colder parts of the roof, its temperature falls. The
humidity condenses into water, when the temperature is low enough. In a thermally insulated roof (glass
wool, rock wool or celluwool as a thermal insulation material) the condensation takes place on a tighter
surface than the thermal insulation, such as on the surfaces of the load-carrying structure of the roof, on
the lower surface of the underlay, on the lower surface of the roofing or in the battens of the roofing.

The humidity contained in the outdoor air may also condense on the lower surface of the roofing or the
underlay. This is possible, if the temperature of the roofing is lower than the temperature of the outdoor
air. There is a natural explanation for this condensation. The heat energy is transferred by radiation
from a warm piece to a colder piece separated from the warmer one. The firmament or the outer space
is cold, and the roof radiates heat energy into the outer space on bright, cloudless nights, and the roofing
gets cool then. It may become considerably colder than the temperature in the outdoor air. In that case
the water vapour contained in the outdoor air reaches the dew point and condenses into water on the
surfaces of the roofing. The condensation is visible as bleeding or frosting of the roofing surface.

The vapour condensation caused by the reverse radiation is considerably less than the moistening of the
structures caused by the water vapour moving through the leaky roof. A prerequisite for a well perform-
ing roof structure is a decent vapour and air barrier. It has as a task to prevent the access of the warm
indoor air and the humidity contained in it into the innards of the structural elements. A plastic foil in-
stalled in the structure (for example a 0.2 mm thick polyethylene plastic) acts both as a vapour barrier
and as an air barrier. Where a plastic foil is not installed in the structure, the air barrier has to be built
using other optional materials. To use a vapour barrier in the roof is always to be recommended, how-
ever. It is advisable to use such products as the vapour barrier materials that have a proven long-term
durability. The harms caused by the condensation due to the reverse radiation are prevented by ventila-
tion of the structure.


During the building time, the different measures, such as masonry work and concrete casting, bring a
considerable quantity of moisture into the indoor space of the building. The moisture brought during the
building time is ventilated through the windows out of the indoor space. Heating the indoor space inten-
sifies the drying process. Fans may be utilized in the ventilation, if required, but is has to be kept in
mind that excessive ventilation increases the need to intensify the heating.

The ventilation should also be taken care of during the use of the building, because the ventilation is the
most effective means to remove the excessive humidity from the indoor air. According to the Finnish
building code, the air in one and two family houses should be changed at least once in two hours. An
insufficient ventilation leads to rise in the humidity of the indoor air and to bad air quality. The ventila-
tion should be well planned the natural ventilation as well otherwise it won't work!

The water proofing and the attic space in a house with a ridge roof should be built to be ventilating.
Where the vapour and air barrier of the roof of the building is decently built, the need to ventilate a
sheet roofing depends on the condition of the outdoor air and the condensation on the lower surface of
the roofing due to the reverse radiation. It is even possible to create a moisture damage using a me-
chanical roof ventilation. Indoor air having high humidity is sucked through the defective vapour barrier
into the attic space, from where all the vapour is not got ventilated into the outdoor air. The humidity
condenses in the structural elements of the roof, where it may in the long run cause a moisture damage.
The generally required ventilation flow in the space between the roofing and the underlay can be re-
garded to be an average ventilation air flow of 0,01 to 0,03 m3/s (cubic metres of air per second) per
metre of the pane width. The ventilation air flow varies as a result of the pressure fluctuation due to the
wind, the temperature difference between the indoor air and the outdoor air and the increase in the roof-
ing temperature due to the solar radiation. In order to get the roofing adequately ventilated, wooden
laths should be used between the underlay and the wooden battens. Where steel battens are used, the
elevation laths are not in general required except for Classic. This way it is ensured that the required
ventilation mentioned above is realized in practise. It should be noted that the air space between the
roofing and the underlay as well as that between the underlay and the thermal insulation have in general
to be ventilated, i.e. connected to the outdoor air.

Picture 40 Principle drawing of the ventilation for the attic space

Picture 41 Movement of the moisture through the structural elements (exces-

sive moisture may lead to moisture damage)

Picture 42 Arrangement of ventilation on the ridge roof

Picture 43 Ventilation when using a normal underlay

Picture 44 Ventilation when using an underlay permeable to diffu-
sion vapour and a ventilating ridge sealing tape

Picture 45 Typical moisture damage caused by insufficient ventilation in the roof


According to the law of the partial pressures of the gases, the gas molecules in an indeterminately dis-
tributed gas mixture tend to move so that an evenly distributed gas mixture will develop. This phe-
nomenon is called diffusion. In the structural engineering, diffusion is normally understood to mean the
moisture movement as water vapour through the structure.

The direction of the diffusion is nearly always from the warm space towards the colder one. The most
important factor affecting the direction of the diffusion is the moisture difference between the spaces.
This way the moisture tends to diffuse through the comparting structure into the space where the partial
pressure of the water vapour of the air (normally the absolute humidity as well) is smaller. In fact, in the
case of porous building materials, it rarely is question of the pure diffusion, when the water vapour
moves into the material layer and leaves it on the other side. Part of the moisture may move in the mate-
rial in the capillary way.

In order to prevent the excessive penetration of the water vapour into the encasing structures and at the
same time the possible moisture damages, the encasement should be designed so that a sufficiently
moisture impermeable layer comes between the thermal insulation and the warm interior and that the
transmission resistance of the water vapour in the encasement structure decreases towards the cold
space. The diffusion-proof layer prevents at the same time the air leaks through the structure and the
possible condensation damages due to convection moisture. The small holes in the vapour barrier don't
considerably increase the diffusion but the convection indeed.

Convection of the water vapour

The convection of the water vapour means the movement of the water vapour along with the air flow.
Regarding the performance of the structures, the air flow from the inside towards outside through the
gaps, cracks, holes etc. occurring during the cold season due to pressure difference has the largest effect
and is able to move many times the quantity of moisture as compared with diffusion. The air pressure
differences are caused by:

the wind

the temperature differences

the ventilation system, the fans.

The wind direction and the location of the openings affect the inside pressure of the building. The air
flow getting through the structure generates overpressure in the inside whereas under pressure is gener-
ated, if most of the openings are on the lee side.

The temperature difference between the top and bottom parts of the building generates the so-called
chimney effect. In the chimney effect, the heated air when rising up causes an air flow, which means
that under pressure is generated in the bottom part of the building.

When considering its effects, the convection can be split as follows:

The air gets colder when flowing from the inside towards outside. This may result in condensation
and collecting of the humidity in a detrimental quantity.

The air gets warmer when flowing inwards. The flow dries the structure, because the ability of the
air to retain humidity increases.


The condensation means the phenomenon in which the water vapour condenses into water. The conden-
sation may take place either on the surface of the structure or inside it, when the relative humidity of the
air is 100%. In the structural elements, the water vapour always condenses on the surface colder than
the air, if the condensation humidity of the vapour (the dew point) is exceeded.

In most cases the condensation of the humidity can be caused by:

the cold inner surface of the structure bordering a warm room (e.g. a cold window glass),

cold bridges,

defectiveness or incorrect location of the vapour barrier,

the holes in the vapour barrier, which enable the convection flow to take place from the inside to-
wards outside.

Condensation of the humidity

Where the moist air is in contact with such a surface or pore wall where the temperature falls below the
temperature of the dew point temperature, the humidity is condensed on the surface or the pore wall.

Condensation on the surface of the structure

In order to prevent the condensation on the surface, the surface temperature of the structure should be
higher than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air.

Decisive factors affecting the condensation of the humidity on the inner surfaces of the structures are:

the thermal resistance of the structure,

the thermal resistance of the inner surface,

the moisture content of the indoor air,

the temperature of the outdoor air.

Picture 46 Possible condensation of the humidity

Condensation inside the structure

The moisture content in the encasement of the building varies continuously depending on the changes in
the environmental conditions (seasons, rain, sunshine etc.). The structure must not be such that its mois-
ture content increases over the years. It has to be considered in addition to the moisture coming from
outside, the moisture coming from inside, too, as well as the possible inherent structural moisture in the
structure. Part of the moisture coming from inside condenses into water at some point of the structure, if
the vapour pressure exceeds the saturation pressure corresponding to the temperature at that point.

Condensation due to convection

The condensation due to convection is more remarkable than the condensation due to diffusion. The
movement of the moisture by means of the convection takes primarily place in the gaps and holes. The
condensation occurs in connection with the flow from the inside to the outside (except for some special
rooms such as ice halls, cold and frost stores). The condensation point is either inside the structure or
outside it. One example of the condensation point inside the structure is the inside surface of the wind
barrier and one example of the condensation point outside is the lower surface of the roofing. The pre-
requisite for the condensation to occur is that the temperature at the condensation point is lower than the
dew point temperature of the flowing air.

Selection of the underlay

The material for the underlay is selected according to whether there is an adequate, over 100 mm deep
ventilation space between the underlay and the thermal insulation of the roof. Where the underlay is laid
on the surface of the thermal insulation, it has to permeate the moisture attack exerted by the indoor air
to the structure. To ensure the performance, an underlay, permeable to the water vapour but imperme-
able to water, should be used, even if the vapour and air barrier of the roof were adequately done. The
permeability of the building paper can be considered as the limiting value for the water vapour perme-

water vapour permeability of the underlay > 1500 kg/m2 s Pa 10-12

Where there is an adequate ventilation space between the underlay and the thermal insulation (for ex-
ample a ventilating attic), the moisture attack from the attic or the indoor air to the water-proofing can
be partly prevented by using an underlay. The water vapour permeability value for the underlay should
then be:

water vapour permeability of the underlay < 500 kg/m2 s Pa 10-12

Ridge roof, ventilating attic space

An underlay is installed in a ridge roof under the sheet roofing. Where the roof is provided with a venti-
lating attic space, it is advantageous to use an underlay that permeates the water vapour poorly but has a
lower surface that is able to adsorb the humidity possibly condensing on it from the air of the attic. The
underlay gets dry when the attic is ventilated. The underlay is left between the rafter and the ventilating
lath, which means that a uniform ventilating space forms under the roofing from the eaves right to the
ridge. The underside of the roofing gets ventilated from the eaves right to the ridge, where there is a
connection to the outdoor air through the ventilating ridge. The roofing can get ventilated depending on
the wind conditions from the eaves right to the other eaves also or from the ridge right to the eaves.
Where an underlay permeating diffusion vapour is used, it should be installed without breaks over the
ridge in order to prevent the powdery flying snow from penetrating through the ridge into the ventila-
tion space to moisten the thermal insulation. Where a normal underlay is used, the installation of the
underlay is realized according to Pictures 42 and 43; when the ventilation of the roof is realized that
way, the overlapping of the underlay as well as the ridge sealings prevent the powdery snow from pene-
trating into the structural elements. The attic space is ventilated through the eaves. The ventilation can
be intensified by means of the ventilation grates in the gables, and the use of them is advisable in steep
ridge roofs (with high attic space). The ventilation grates of 200 200 mm2 in the attic are normally
sufficient in the gables of the one and two family houses as well as a gap of 20 mm at the eaves.

The thermal insulation of the external wall and that of the roof has to be protected using a wind barrier,
in order to prevent the cold outdoor air from weakening the thermal insulation of the structural ele-

Ridge roof, thermal insulation in the direction of the pane slope

The ventilation of the roofing is arranged like in the ridge roof provided with an attic. A ventilation
space, at least 100 mm deep, is made between the thermal insulation and the underlay. The new houses
should have a horizontal thermal insulation under the ridge so that there is an open connection from the
underside of the rafters to the ventilation grates to be installed in the gables.

Where the chimney closes the ventilation space, it is possible to intensify the ventilation using ventila-
tion pipes. In a well performing roof, one ventilation pipe on each side of the chimney is sufficient.

Where a horizontal insulation cannot be established, for example in refurbishment projects, an underlay
of material, permeable to water vapour but impermeable to water, is installed. The underlay can be laid
on top of the thermal insulation, if the thermal insulation reaches the top edge of the rafters. The venti-
lation laths should in that case be at least 50 mm thick. This way the entire structure gets ventilated
from the eaves right to the ridge. The risk of this structure is the bad airtightness of the roof. If the mois-
ture attack from the indoor air to the underlay is high, the lower surface of the underlay may frost or
freeze. The melt water then runs into the thermal insulation layers. The performance is ensured by in-
stalling the vapour and air barrier carefully and by tightening the seams with tapes as well as taking spe-

cial care of the tightness of the joint between the lead-through elements (the chimney, the vent pipes of
the sewerage and the air-conditioning) and the vapour and air barrier.

Hip roof, ventilating attic space

In order to establish a well-performing ventilation in the hip roof, the ridge of the hip roof has to be
ventilating. The ventilation space between the underlay and the roofing in the hips is connected to the
ventilation space in the long sides by means of either the battens or the ventilation laths. Using the ven-
tilation laths requires that they are installed on top of the ridge support between the hip and the pane.
The ridge capping protecting the ridge between the hip and the pane has a task as a ventilation duct pro-
vided that the ventilation space is open under the ridge capping. It is advisable to use battens in a hip
roof independently of the roofing type.

The ventilation of the attic space or the roofing can be intensified by means of the venting pipes or the
ventilating ridge structure. Because the underlay should be laid without breaks under the ridge, a lead-
through aperture for the venting pipe of the attic space should be done in the underlay. The spacing of
the venting pipes must not be more than 4 metres. The size of the venting openings in the attic should
be at least a gap of 20 mm at the eaves as well the cross-sectional area of the venting pipes 2 to 5 cm2
per m2 of the attic plane.

Hip roof, thermal insulation in the direction of the pane slopes

The roofing has only the possibility to ventilate through the eaves or through the ventilating ridge. In
order that the hips of the roof to be ventilating, the ridge capping on top of the ridge between the hip
and the pane has to be ventilating, or it has to connect the hip to the ventilating ridge. The ventilation
gap at the eaves should be at least 20 mm and the cross-sectional area of the venting pipes for intensify-
ing the ventilation 2 to 5 cm2 per m2 of the roof plane. The spacing of the venting pipes must not be
more than 4 m.

Mansard roof (curb roof)

In a mansard roof, the thermal insulation is normally in the direction of the pane slope. To build the
roof, it is important that the ventilation spaces for both the roofing and possibly the thermal insulation
and the underlay continue without breaks over the turning lines of the pane. Then the ventilation space
for the roofing is open from the eaves right to the ridge, and it can ventilate through the ridge capping.
To establish a good performance in the ventilation space in the new buildings, a horizontal portion in
the insulation under the ridge should be done. In the refurbishment projects, it may be advisable to in-
stall the underlay on top of the thermal insulation, and to make an adequate ventilation space (ventila-
tion laths > 50 mm) between the roofing and the underlay. At the locations of the chimneys etc., the
ventilation can be intensified by means of the venting pipes.

Lightning protection for buildings

A house with a sheet roofing is not in need of a separate copper conductor to be installed on the roof,
but the roofing itself may work as the surge arrester for the building. The need for lightning protection
depends on many factors. The law does not require any lightning protection but for some valuable
buildings or for those containing hazardous substances.

The damage caused by a lightning is based on the thermal, mechanical and electrical effect of the light-
ning. The lightning surges may cause a risk of death as well for people as for domestic animals. More-
over, the surge peaks caused by the lightning may damage electrical equipment.

The buildings can be protected against lightning surges coming either along cables or as direct strokes.
The surge wave coming through the cables can be directed outside the building into the earth. The pro-
tection for the building against direct lightning strokes is based on arresting the lightning with a con-
ducting wire sustaining the lightning before it hits the building and conducting the current further into
the earth.

The roofing sheets installed according to the installation instructions conduct the lightning surges be-
tween the roofing sheets through the lap screws. The sheet sustains unharmed the thermal effect of the
lightning surges. The down leads are connected to the roofing so that the contact area at the joint is al-
ways at least twice the cross-sectional area of the lead. The down leads are advisable to be installed at
the opposite corners of the building. In larger buildings, it is advisable to use down leads at all the cor-
ners of the building. As the down lead, a copper conductor of 16mm2, an aluminium conductor of
25mm2, or a steel conductor of 35mm2 can be used. The down leads are connected to the circumferen-
tial earthing surrounding the building. Further information on the lightning protection for buildings and
its realization is presented in the SFS handbook 33 "Lightning protection for buildings".

Picture 47 Lightning protection for a building, principle drawing


Flat roof conversion

The conversion of flat roofs into dou-

ble or mono pitch roofs can be ac-
complished with lightweight steel
structures. The structures are made of
galvanized steel and thus resistant to
corrosion. Normally the roofs are
built using lightweight sections fixed
with self-tapping screws. The bottom
rails are fixed and anchored in the
existing roof slab. If the underlying
thermal insulation is hard enough, the
bottom rails can be fixed directly on
top of the old roofing membrane. The
anchoring bolts should reach down to
the load-bearing slab.
Picture 48 The components are delivered cut to
size, so that there is very little con-
struction waste. Installation is fast and easy and can be carried out irrespective of weather.

Ordinary roofing membranes

can be used. Thanks to its low
weight and ease of installation,
steel roofing is a highly com-
petitive option. The attic will
be protected against fire be-
cause the structures are non-
combustible. Ventilation of the
attic is provided as usual. Gaps
of about 10 cm are left at the
eaves, which is normally
enough with gently sloping
floors and short frame spans.
With steeper roofs and wider
Picture 49
frames, ridge venting must also
be provided. The water con-
densing under the roofing materials is retained by the base membrane from where it removed
by ventilation through evaporation. Ventilation openings and access doors are provided at the

Pictured here is the conversion of a flat roof into a

pitched roof in a building with a concrete frame. The
structures are made of galvanized C and Z sections.
The bottom rail distributes the load over the old roof.
The sections are fixed to one another with self-tapping

Picture 50
The roofing material consists of machine-
seamed steel sheeting.

Picture 51

Systemroof roofing system

Picture 52

System roof for new construction and renovation

This Systemroof introduction and design guide is an abbreviated version of a more extensive set of in-
structions available in English and Swedish. The purpose of this guide is to introduce the reader to the
system, its various possibilities, and its structural and physical features and properties.


Systemroof is a roofing system made up of thin sheet metal components and zinc-coated and painted
thin steel sheets. The system can be used for residential and industrial construction purposes and for
new roofs as well as the renovation and modification of existing roofing structures. The existing sub-
roof left in place may be made of poured concrete, prefabricated concrete components, lightweight con-
crete beams, load-bearing profile sheets or wooden trusses.

Systemroof refers to a structure supported by vertical columns and built on a concrete or lightweight
concrete base. Systemroof-ROT, in turn, refers to a version of Systemroof that is based on prefabricated
trestle stands. These trestle stands are mounted directly on an existing wooden truss structure covered
with tar paper.

Picture 53 Systemroof-ROT

Each Systemroof is built to order. The roofing package is delivered complete with load-bearing frame
components, eaves, cladding, lead-ins, gables, and other fittings and mounting hardware. Humidity and
temperature studies and extensive practical experience have shown that Systemroof works very well in
terms of production and functionality, as well as maintenance.

Existing sub-roof

The column-based roofing system is used whenever Systemroof in installed on poured concrete or con-
crete beams/hollow slabs. These types of concrete-based sub-roofs provide a great deal of latitude with
respect to the placement of the vertical columns.

However, this is unfortunately not always the case. Renovation projects often involve sub-roofs with
wooden battens, lightweight concrete beams and profiled sheet metal. Systemroof-ROT trestle stands
are then used to distribute the roof load more evenly across the sub-roof.


Flat and very low pitch roofs with rolled asphalt or bituminous cover are the most common reason for
roof leaks. Standing water exposes roofing materials to moisture, frost and ice, which gradually break
down the cover and damage the underlying structures. Roofs may also get damaged in connection with
snow removal or repair work.

Systemroof brings the following advantages to renovation jobs:

High pitch roof that sheds rainwater and melting snow outward, away from the building frame.

Existing structures can support the small dead weight of the roof unreinforced.

The existing roof acts as a weather barrier through the entire renovation job.

Systemroof facilitates economical repair and modification jobs. It is simple and requires very few
measures with respect to the existing roof.

Work-related environmental disturbances are minimal. All structural components are lifted directly
onto the existing roof and there is no need to leave parts lying on the ground.

The new roof requires minimal maintenance and future repairs will be quick and inexpensive.

New construction

The quicker a building is roofed over, the sooner it can be occupied or it will produce revenue. System-
roof significantly shortens the construction process in comparison to a traditional truss roof. The attic
space can also be better utilised and the fire safety of the roof is improved.

Quotations/financial analyses

Compile all drawings and structural documentation. We can use our analysis software and standard
drawings to submit a complete sales quotation and a time estimate for your job. You will get a summary
quotation that shows you in an easily digestible format what using Systemroof for new construction or
renovation will mean in terms of time and cost. The following information is needed for a complete

Roof length Construction location Existing sub-roof

Roof width Roof shape Lead-ins

Existing pitch Eaves

New pitch Gables

System economics

The simplicity of the system and the limited number of system components help to keep manufacturing
costs down. Long continuous saddle roofs typically yield the lowest production costs while hip roofs
and large eaves bring costs up. The systems steel components need practically no trimming or finish-
ing, and therefore involve minimal waste or extra work on site. A Systemroof is an extremely economi-
cal roof, especially when one also considers its long useful life and high quality.


Ruukki Construction can provide any drawings, descriptions and specifications required to support in-
stallation, as well as static analyses for governmental authorities. The dead weight and snow, wind and
man load capacities of Systemroof are dimensioned on the basis of applicable government regulations.

Roofing system description

Roof types

Freely variable roof pitches and an extensive selection of available colours and cladding profiles sup-
port a broad range of beautiful and architecturally varied roofs. The most common roof types are sad-
dle, hip and single pitch roofs.

A saddle roof (Picture 54) with two sides is a classic roof type. This roof type facilitates the best use of
attic space. Water shed to both longer sides.

Picture 54 Saddle roof

A hip roof (Picture 55) with four sides is a modified version of a saddle roof. This roof type looks more
elegant than an ordinary saddle roof.

Picture 55 Hip roof

A single-pitch roof (Picture 56) resembles mainly a flat roof. Leak problems are addressed sensibly
without major changes in the overall architecture of the building. Attic space is considerably more lim-
ited than with a saddle roof but still sufficient for ventilation ducts and other installations.

Picture 56 Single-pitch roof

Systemroof with vertical columns

The systems frame structure is based on vertical columns, Z-profiles running from gable to gable, and
mounting anchors fixed to the sub-roof. The vertical column solution is typically used with concrete,
lightweight concrete or load-bearing profiled sheet metal sub-roofs. In the last case column loads need
to be conveyed to structures underlying the profiled metal sheets. Concrete-based sub-roofs provide a
great deal of latitude with respect to the placement of the vertical columns and other mounting points.

Picture 57 Cross-section of Systemroof on support columns

Picture 58 Profile view of Systemroof on support columns

Legend for pictures 57 and 58:

Profiled sheet metal cladding, see page 8
Z-beam, see pages 8 and 9
Vertical column, see pages 9 and 10
Mounting anchor, see pages 10 and 11
Brace, see page 12
Eaves, see page 13
Ridge, see page 13

Systemroof-ROT with trestle stands

When renovating existing roofs built on wooden truss sub-roofs, for example, loads need to be spread
evenly across the roof with the help of trestle stands. These trestle stands are prefabricated at the factory
to make installation at site quick and easy.

Picture 59 Cross-section of Systemroof-ROT

Picture 60 Profile view of Systemroof-ROT

Legend for pictures 59 and 60:

Profiled sheet metal cladding, see page 8
Trestle stands, see page 11
Ridge, see page 13
Eaves, see page 13

Roof cladding

A Systemroof can be covered with any Ruukki cladding profiles or corrugated sheeting. Please refer to
Rannilas roofing system manual for profile selection, dimensioning, lead-ins, and cladding and colour

System Z-profiles

Systemroof girders are made of hot-galvanised, cold-formed Z-profiles. These Z-beams run the length
of the Systemroof from end to end and their flanges are therefore tailored to the pitch of each roof. The
top flanges of Z-profiles must always point toward the eaves.

Z-beams can be installed in a number of ways for optimal effect. The Z-beams of column-supported
Systemroofs can be joined at each, every second or every third column depending on the roof span.
Longer Z-beams speed up installation and should be used with shorter roof spans and loads. However,
the most common way to install the Z-beams is to join then at each support column (Picture 61). This
work done on site can be avoided by using trestle stands.

Picture 61 Systemroof with Z-beams joined at each vertical column

The picture below depicts longer Z-beams and there are thus fewer joints. This is possible if the roof
ridge has a double beam, for example.

Picture 62 Z-beams joined less frequently

Z-profiles are fixed to the vertical columns and joined together (Picture 63). The number of screws
needed depends on case-specific roof loads.

Picture 63 Joining of Z-profile to vertical column using a support piece

Vertical columns

Systemroof Z-profiles are mounted using vertical columns made of hot-galvanised C-profiles. Verti-
cally installed C-beams (Picture 64), in turn, are fixed to the sub-roof using a mounting anchor. Double
supports are used with large loads.

Picture 64 C-beam

Vertical columns are dimensioned on the basis of the normal load corresponding to the Z-profile sup-
porting forces. Doubled-up vertical columns are screwed together back to back. Vertical columns are
fixed to the mounting anchor with self-drilling crews.

Mounting anchor

Load transfer from the vertical columns depends on the type of sub-roof. Mounting anchors used with
concrete sub-roofs are hot-galvanised U-profiles (Picture 65). The mounting anchor conveys downward
point loads straight into the sub-roof and upward-directed outward pulling loads into the base through

the joint. When the sub-roof is made of wooden trusses, e.g. 1.2 m on centre spacing, load-distributing
trestle stands are used instead (see next section).

Picture 65 : Mounting anchor

If the sub-roof is made of profiled sheet metal, the vertical columns need to be placed on top of underly-
ing structures for the proper channelling of point loads. When loads are relatively minor, a hat profile
piece can be placed on top of corrugated sheets. The load-bearing capacity of the corrugated sheet needs
to be then specifically checked. The mounting anchor is fixed on top of the hat profile piece (Picture 66-
a). With large loads a hat profile needs to be used to convey loads directly past the corrugated sheets
and into the underlying structures (Picture 66 - b).

Picture 66 Installation of mounting anchor on corrugated sheet (alternatives a and b).

Systemroof-ROT with trestle stands
When repairing old asphalt and bitumen covered roofs on wooden trusses, loads cannot be conveyed to
the underlying trusses in the normal manner through vertical columns and mounting anchors. Trestle
stands help to distribute loads evenly across the sub-roof, to which they can be screwed directly. Trestle
stands are prefabricated at the plant and consist of Z-profiled top and bottom girders and C-profiled up-
rights (Picture 67). Trestle stands can be made collapsible for easier transportation.

Picture 67 Trestle stands

The table on the following page provides maximum loads for various stand heights and Z-profile thick-

Height Z-profile 1.2 mm Z-profile 1.5 mm

0.8 7.0 10.0

1.2 7.0 10.0

1.6 7.0 10.0

2.0 7.0 10.0

2.4 7.0 10.0

2.8 7.0 10.0

3.2 7.0 10.0

3.6 6.3 10.0

Table 3 Dimensioning values for downward loads (kN/m)

Reinforcing the Systemroof structure

Horizontal forces generated at the sloping vertical column joints require additional bracing. These
forces run both parallel and perpendicular to the sides of the roof. The horizontal element of wind loads
also needs to be considered. The structure is reinforced with the same C-profiles used for the vertical
columns. These cross braces are installed as shown in Pictures 68 and 69.

Picture 68 Brace running perpendicular to the side of the roof

Picture 69 Brace running parallel to the side of the roof

Details and roof fixtures

Eaves and gables

The shape of roof eaves has a significant effect on the appearance of buildings. There are a number of
alternatives, with or without overhang, different fascia treatments with profiled sheet metal, wood, flat
flashing, etc. The technical requirements for eaves also include proper roof ventilation, preventing the
entry of blowing snow, and improving the stability of the roof frame. Picture 70 shows a standard Sys-
temroof solution. The top flange of the C-profile is bent based on the pitch of the roof cover.

Picture 70 Standard solution for eaves

The gables of older roofs usually need to replicate all former details for a uniform look. The pitch of the
roof and the overhang of the eaves play a major role in defining the appearance of the roof also at the
gables. For hip roofs this means the extending of gutters with the help of various types of corner pieces.


The roof ridge can be constructed either with a single or a double beam. A ridge cap is mounted directly
on the top Z-beam (Picture 71). When the roof is ventilated at the eaves, no ventilation needs to be pro-
vided at the ridge. The cladding sheets are bent on the inside and profiled sealing strip (e.g. rounded or
flat) is used in the joint between the cladding and the outside cap.

Picture 71 Roof ridge detail

Water removal

Systemroofs water removal is based on a conventional gutter system. Rain gutters are mounted on the
fascia boards before the roof cladding is installed in place. With overhanging eaves rain gutters can be
fixed directly to the roof cladding. Each Systemroof can be equipped with a water removal system
complete with all details (see Rannilas roofing system manual).

Picture 72 Water removal system

1. Gutter 9. Bend
2. Corner piece 10. Well joint part
3. Gutter end 11. Bracket for brickwall
4. Bracket 12. Bracket for woodwall
5. Gutter joint 13. Outlet pipe
6. Outlet 14. Outlet pipe with joint
7. Downpipe 15. Y-joint
8. Watertunnel

Roof safety

All roofs must be built for safe foot traffic and maintenance. Governmental regulations on roof safety
depend on building height and the pitch of the roof. Systemroofs can be equipped with all required
safety items, such as catwalks, wall and roof ladders, slide stops and safety line lugs (Rannilas roofing
system manual).

Mounting hardware

The basic criterion applied to the selection of roof mounting hardware is that the corrosion resistance of
fasteners must be at least as good as that of the materials fastened. This means that Systemroof frame
structures need to be fastened with zinc-coated self-drilling screws, and roof cladding must be mounted
on the frame with sealing self-drilling stainless steel screws. Aluminium rivets can also be sometimes
used to overlap cladding sheets and mount other roof fixtures.


Large free spaces between support points make the installation of equipment and pipes on top of a con-
crete sub-roof easy. The spacious unheated attic offers ample space for ventilation systems, air blowers
etc. Entry from the building interior is arranged in a manner that facilitates access to these installations.
Roof access can also be arranged through access hatches and separate ridge walkways are therefore not
necessarily needed.

Physical behaviour of roofs

Condensation and ventilation

Under unfavourable conditions water may condense on the bottom sides of cladding sheets. The amount
of condensate will depend on relative roof and ambient air temperatures, relative humidity and roof

Air temperatures at the unheated attic typically dovetail with outside temperatures but are also affected
by radiant heat from indoors, particularly at night time. This also keeps the roof temperature several
degrees below the ambient air temperature. Snow and cold rain may also cool down roof cladding. Re-
lated condensation occurs over a short period of time and is followed by a longer drying period. Con-
densate amounts are typically small and do not warrant any special measures. Roof cladding can be
equipped with a condensate-resistant bottom surface to prevent possible dripping.

Relative humidity is the result of a number of factors. In new buildings relative humidity is boosted by
moisture found in various types of building materials. It is important to cover the sub-roof as quickly as
possible during construction to protect it against rain. Any snow, ice or water on the sub-roof must be
removed immediately upon the completion of the roof. Possible insulating materials must be kept dry
before installation. In wintertime the drying process can be helped with heat blowers.

The roof humidity balance is affected by relative humidity, temperature conditions and ventilation.
Ventilation is typically handled through the eaves and the flow of air is generated by a pressure differ-
ential between the attic space and the ambient environment. Ventilation occurs through the cladding
profile at the eaves. Systemroofs eaves are designed to keep blowing snow out while still providing for
appropriate ventilation. Practical experiments have proven that a ventilated ridge will typically not in-
crease the flow of air. At the gables the wall profile openings are sealed with profiled seal strip.

Additional insulation

If the existing roof is poorly insulated, it may be sensible to add insulation to the sub-roof in connection
with roofing renovation. Insulation can be added easily directly on the existing roof at the time the Sys-
temroof frame is installed. Blown fibreglass insulation is particularly well suited for this purpose. Addi-
tional insulation will save energy and reduce the risk of moisture damage by keeping underlying struc-
tures warmer.

The transfer of heat from the underlying space to the attic may be caused by thermal pressure differ-
ences or positive pressure ventilation. Poured concrete provides a sufficient heat barrier. That is why it
is important to seal all lead-ins, ventilation ducts, attic window joints, etc. It is also important to keep all
attic doors and hatches closed.

Additional information on the physical behaviour of roofs is available in the Rannila roofing systems

Fire safety

A number of serious attic fires have occurred with roofs whose bearing structures are made of wood.
Fire can spread very quickly and easily through these types of structures. All Systemroof components
are non-combustible and do not therefore themselves constitute a fire hazard. The roof cladding also
provides effective protection against outside fire sources. The installation of the system also involves no
work stages that would be fire hazardous.

Roof maintenance


Only a clean roof will remain technically functional and maintain its design appearance. For this reason
the entire roofing should be inspected from time to time and, if required, the roofing and the associated
structures should be cleaned.

The only form of cleaning usually required by steel roofing is removal of leaves and branches from be-
hind chimneys, from valleys and the rainwater systems. This removal should be performed every year
before winter, if there are a lot of trees near the roof and the roof shape favors accumulation of leaves
and branches. Cleaning can usually be carried out mechanically with e.g. a brush. Water jets and high-
pressure hosing can also be used.

Sometimes the whole roof surface may require cleaning. If normal cleaning with water and a brush is
not sufficient, soap-based detergents and special emulsifying detergents designed for cleaning of steel
surfaces can be used. As long as the surface is intact, it can also be cleaned with a high-pressure hose.

Local repairs

On all steel roofing materials, local damages and minor damages caused by structural changes can be
repaired without having to renew the entire roofing. The need for repairs is most often encountered with
old sheet-metal roofs where the vertical gutters or other structures that collect leaves and branches have
not been cleaned for years, which has gradually caused corrosion on them. Small holes can be repaired
with a screw and washer.

The damaged components or components requiring replacement for some other reason are on sheet-
metal roofs usually removed down to the next intact seam and a new sheet is mounted in place. The sur-
face of the new sheet should be finished in the same way as the rest of the roofing.

With longstrip profiles and especially with tile sheets repairs can be problematic because it is difficult
to get the same profile if its production has been discontinued or the manufacturer is not known. If the
same profile cannot be found, any profiled sheet can be bent to the same pattern. With tile sheets, on the
other hand, the replacement sheet can be removed from a smaller or less visible roof section and then
that section can be re-roofed with a similar profile or flat sheet-metal roofing. Even the color is usually
the right when using this repair practice.

Paint treatment

The long service life of steel roofing is based on anti-corrosion treatment. Basic protection of up to over
a hundred years is achieved by galvanizing. Regular paint treatment will prevent the zinc coat from
staining. The need for paint treatment can be assessed e.g. in connection with cleaning. Stripping,
cracking, chalking, obvious discoloring or even visible rust stains are clear signs of a need for a new
paint treatment. If the roof has been covered with galvanized sheeting alone, or if the roofing is coated,
it can be painted also to change the color.

All steel roofing has to be thoroughly cleaned before painting. All loose dirt is removed first, as well as
all rust stains and also any loose paint from previously painted or plastic coated roofing. Suitable tools
for this are steel brushes and scrapers. If the entire old paint coat or coating is in poor condition, it can
be removed completely by water sanding or with paint removers. Afterwards the roofing is carefully

cleaned with a brush or by high-pressure hosing. Special detergents designed for cleaning of steel sur-
faces, available in paint stores, can be used for cleaning.

Successful paint treatment requires that at least the uncoated areas are primed. After the surface has
dried, the areas that were rusty or where the zinc coating was damaged, are painted first. There are rust-
preventive primers for this purpose. Galvanized or previously painted steel roofing should be treated
with special primers designed for this. With plastic coated roofing, the type of the coating has to be
known. The most common coating is Plastisol, known for its striped surface patterning. For Plastisol,
the same paint is used for priming as for the surface coat. Roof areas on which there is no coating left
are primed with suitable primers.

Galvanized and previously painted roofs are finished with normal steel roofing paints. Special repair
paints are available for plastic coated roofing. The instructions of the paint manufacturers must always
be followed, to ensure a good end result.

Technical solutions for faade refurbishment


The old facades renovation methods offered by Ruukki are based on the ventilated cladding systems. In
these cases the renovation of the facades include generally additional insulation and cladding of old fa-
cade by using Ruukkis facade products.

Additional insulation and recovering of facades

Additional insulation and cladding of facades is a good and a generally used renovation method. The
renovation method is cheaper than other solutions by its life cycle costs. The requirement of durability
of facade cladding can be estimated 25-30 years and based on accrued experience this can be exceeded
with most generally used ventilating methods.

The advantages achieved by ventilated renovation are:

Old wall structure dries

Saves heating energy

The life time of old external wall lengthens

Ventilated recovering methods mean technical solutions which have a common vent slot between addi-
tional insulating material and new facade surface. The purpose of the vent slot is to eliminate the mois-
ture coming through the wall and also to prevent rainwater from penetrating to the thermal insulations.
The width of the vent slot has an influence on the effectiveness of ventilation and water elimination in
extreme conditions. When the wind pressure is high the water flows also upwards on the wall and can
penetrate behind the faade. Thats why the vent slot is also called leakage hole. The renovation of a
faade with this method gives also an opportunity to an easy correction of a faade surface.

The necessity of a vent slot arises from the characters of the surface materials. The water vapour im-
permeability of used sheet is normally so low that if the sheet was on the surface of the thermal insula-
tor, all the moisture coming through the wall would condensate on the back surface of the sheet and
during winter it would moisten the whole wall structure. The instruction in construction in cold area has
always been to reduce the density of structural elements when going from warm to cold. By using this
method no condensative surfaces are built up to the structure.

Building physical influences

New cladding prevents rainwater from penetrating to the wall structure. Only this has a high influence
on dropping the moisture of an old external envelope. Cladding also enables opening element seams
and because of that more effective ventilation affects also the old external wall element and insulating

Wall structure dries by using cladding. Relative humidity falls normally only to the level where car-
bonation of concrete and steel corrosion is still fast, Picture 73. Frost weathering also causes problems
because the temperature of external skin follows almost entirely the temperature variation of outdoor
air. The external skin can freeze and melt even 100 times during one winter in the southern coast of
Finland. Thats why the moisture of external skin must be lowered and the temperature must be raised
with additional insulation to prevent extra damage.


Relative effect (%)




40 60 80 100

Relative humidity (%)

Picture 73

In the basis on different research results the use of 60-95 mm additional insulation lowers the relative
humidity of an old external skin to the level RH 45-55 % which means:

There is not enough moisture for steel corrosion even if the carbonation was fast.

The temperature of the external skin of the element has raised so high that the capillary water con-
tained by concrete does not freeze any more.

The U-level of the old wall structure has returned almost to the original level.

The growth conditions of mould in the heat insulation layer have weakened.

Methods of implementation

The solutions offered by Ruukki are based on the sheet solutions produced from colour coated steel
which are Liberta, Fasetti and Liner sheets. This material has a technical illustration from each of these

Using any of these renovation method associates with its own special features and that is why there is
also a possibility to make mistakes. The most general work mistakes have been negligent and inade-
quate making of external silling, inadequate correction, negligent erection of heat insulation layer and
negligent and inadequate fastening of sheets. The most general design errors occur when choosing at-
tachment and heat insulation and arranging ventilation.

The choice of fastening method must always be based on well performed condition survey. In condi-
tion survey the existing condition of old faade and the additional fastening is defined. At the same time
the influence of the additional weight of the new faade to the old faade is defined. For example the
additional weight of Ruukkis Liberta faade varies from only 20 30 kg/m2 based on the size of the
casette and insulating thickness.

Picture 74

If there occurs special problems in condition survey, such as totally rusted hairpins or insulation is to-
tally fulfilled with mould germ colony, then it may be possible to break up the whole old external skin
and insulation. Fixing a faade as technical implementation will be done in the same way in both cases,
look at the figure RSDUK01.

Renovation of a faade is always designed by a structural engineer who has an overall understanding of
the structures of the object. Structural engineer should have the result of condition survey in use to be
able to define the durability of fasteners, the thickness of additional insulation and the supporting struc-
ture of the new cladding.

The fastening of Ruukkis adjustable fastener or fastening angle to an old faade surface can be done
for example with fasteners introduced in table below.

Frame Concrete Siporex Steel Timber

Coated fastener Fastener, stainless external skin internal skin 1-3 mm 3-12 mm >12 mm
SPIKE D06-6,3x38 SPIKE DL06-S-6,3x38 x
SPIKE D -6,3xL SPIKE DL -S-6,3xL x x*
EX170-S-8x210 x x*
EX230-S-8x270 x x*
IGR-T-8x90 IGR-S-8x90 x
SD3-4,8x25 SD3-S-4,8x20 x
SD12-H15-5,5x32 SX12/12-S16-5,5x40 x
TDB-T-H15-6,3x19 TDB-S-6,3x19 x
SW-T-H15-6,5x50 TDA-S-6,5x51 x
*when there is concrete behind the Siporex

Table 4

It is also possible to renovate brick wall faade by using Ruukkis products. Then Ruukkis control fas-
tener or fastening angle is fastened to the surface of brick with e.g. HUD-1 Hilts general plug.

Ruukkis faade system also includes supporting structures for the cladding. They base on purlins made
of steel sheet and they are fastened to adjustable fasteners with self drilling screws. Technical solutions
and equipment have been introduced in this material always with the product issued and the fasteners
are introduced below the product issued. The structural types are introduced in figures RSDUK01 and


Window renovation assessment

Water, sunshine, wind, temperature variations and neglected maintenance are factors that stress win-
dows and make it necessary to renovate them from time to time.

It is time to assess the condition of your windows when they can no longer be fully used as designed, if
living comfort is compromised or technical faults arise. When evaluating the renovation alternatives,
the condition of the windows should be thoroughly assessed and also any faults found, including their
causes and extent.

The properties of an old window should be assessed on the basis of the following to reach a decision on
maintenance and potential replacement:


Draftiness/cold radiation



Costs (replacement/maintenance/energy savings)

Value of real estate.

Old windows typically have the following problems:

High expenses:

As the windows become older, regular maintenance intervals become more frequent and extensive

Energy loss


The mouldings no longer open or close properly

The locks or bolts become either too stiff or too loose, with higher friction

Original solution was not ideal for the particular use

The mouldings are either swollen or twisted, clearance either too narrow or wide

The hinges are too small for the load

Feeling of draftiness:

Draft between frame and wall

Draft between moulding and frame

The whole window radiates cold (poor U-value)

Washability, maintainability

It is difficult or even dangerous to wash and maintain the windows

Mould and other damage to the wood

The outer moulding and especially the lower part of the frame contains softened wooden parts

The nails on the glazing beads are sticking out

The vent boards have cracked

Surface treatment of frames and mouldings

Peeling or cracking of paint

Change in hue

Fading or evaporation of glazing

Cracking of putty

Water damage

A faulty window structure leads water into the wall structure

A leaking wall structure may lead rainwater onto the window

Uneven quality

Windows on the south side are in poorer condition than on the north side

Use of sheet glass, used frequently in earlier years, distorts the view


Child-safe window opening mechanism missing

Window putty fails, leading to the glass falling off


Poor sound insulation


Frost created between the panes

The inner pane becomes frosty in the inter-pane gap

Replacement air

Amount of replacement air insufficient or uncontrolled


Heat from the sun makes the inside air uncomfortably warm

UV radiation

Harmful UV light can enter the interior and fade colours

Correction painting of windows

The correction painting of the windows wood and aluminium surfaces must be carried out according to
the window manufacturers instructions. The correction painting of wood surfaces must be made on a
dry and cleaned surface under suitable conditions.

Aluminium oxidation begins as soon as the metal comes into contact with the oxygen in the air, which
means that maintenance painting of scratches is not necessary, although touch-up painting is useful.

Exterior paint surfaces must be checked every 2-5 years and the necessary maintenance work done be-
fore any further damage can occur.

Maintenance of glass surfaces

Any dirt on the glass surfaces can be cleaned with standard cleaning agents. The windows should be
washed at least once a day and more often if they become dirty.

Instructions before you begin to wash

Before you begin to wash the windows, the indoor wall and floor under the window should be covered
to avoid damage to them by the water that runs down the pane during washing. Washing should be
avoided during rain or strong wind, because any rainwater entering through the window hole may dam-
age the windows or surrounding structures or the wind may slam the windows or mouldings hard
enough to break or damage them.

Opening and closing the windows during cleaning should be done with extreme care as the mouldings
will be supported only by the hinges. Wide mouldings (over 1,500 mm) should always be supported
from the side they open and provided with a separate support during the washing.

If closed for a long period, a moulding may become stuck in some place. If this is the case, the window
should be opened carefully pulling particularly from that place. If you pull out the moulding from one
corner, it may bend so much as to break the glass.

The mouldings should always be treated with care, because any extra stress may cause fine cracks on
the edges, which may in time lead to larger cracks.

The window mouldings should never be opened so wide that the inner moulding hits the reveal or the
outer moulding hits the frame, because even the slightest force on the opening side of the window cre-
ates a much greater stress on the hinge, the fastenings of which may be damaged or even give way en-

The latches connecting the mouldings are opened to separate the mouldings in order to wash the panes
in between.

When washing high (over 1,400 mm) windows, the moulding must be supported also from the top (with
your other hand or having another person to help) to avoid any twisting and consequent damage.

Washing the windows

The recommended equipment for washing is a lint-free cloth or chamois and squeegee.

Detergents designed for window washing should be used. Substances containing strong solvents or cor-
rosive agents should not be used, because they may damage painted surfaces and glazing materials. The
water should be used often enough, because any grains of sand in the water will easily scratch the win-
dows. A metal scraper should not be used, because it may leave permanent scratches on the glass. These
scratches may develop into larger cracks and break altogether. Larger stains on the window should be
cleaned immediately, because strongly alkaline substances (cement and lime-based substances and bird
droppings) corrode the glass relatively easily, and if left on for longer period may leave permanent

When washing in cold weather, the water should be cold too, because warm water may cause such
strong tensions in the cold window that the glass will break. If necessary, use antifrost (such as dena-
tured spirit) to prevent freezing.

With self-cleaning glass (Activ glass), a rinse with water is enough, but if they contain any larger stains,
they can be washed with ordinary glass washing detergent, rinsing it off in the end with clean water.

The windows' wooden parts are washed with a mild detergent liquid and a little water, preferably using
a damp rag. The drying should occur quickly after washing.

Aluminium parts are washed with a mild detergent liquid and plenty of water. However, water sprays
should be avoided, because water sprayed at high pressure may enter small cavities where it will take a
long time to dry.

When working near an open window, you should be extremely careful not to fall. You should under no
circumstances reach outwards through the window hole, unless sufficient safety measures are in place.

After the washing, when you are closing the window, make sure all the latches etc. are properly closed.
If inappropriately closed, the window may be damaged or its technical properties deteriorate.

When you wash the window, it is also advisable to check the sealing and fittings. Any defective sealing
should be replaced and the fittings should be lubricated, because they are usually clearly visible. The
need for any surface treatment is also easy to assess at this stage. If the window is equipped with re-
placement air valves, their filters should be checked too and either washed or replaced. The valve open-
ing is hovered.

The window structures have been designed to withstand stress caused by normal environmental condi-
tions (wind and rain). This is why they should not be subjected to any external load, because glass
breaks easily as a result of even a small point load. Venetian blinds, for example, should be fitted with
great care. The piece round which the string is attached should be fixed with a screw on the moulding,
as hitting a screw may cause cracks in the insulating glass, possible resulting in the window breaking

Detachable door openers should not be left on the latches or within children's reach to avoid the danger
of them falling out of the window.

Changing the seals

The seals should be replaced with identical or similar seals when the window is no longer tight. This
should be done at least every 10-15 years.

Windows can be replaced from the outside without disturbing the residents.


Picture 75

Additional space constructions


Construction of additional space is widely perceived as a solution to the increasing demand for offices
and housing units in population centres. At the same time, it alleviates the shortage of building plots and
responds to the requirements for increased rates of return. This article will discuss the structural tech-
niques for adding an extra floor to a building using steel-based lightweight and dry trade construction

Picture 76 Construction of an additional floor using lightweight steel structures.

Architecture and constructions

The most common roof types used over an additional floor are double and mono pitch roofs, less fre-
quently mansard roofs and domes. With steel structures, these shapes can be accomplished in any di-
mensions, meaning that they are not limited by ready-made design modules. Another advantage of this
solution is that it provides ample space for building engineering systems either under the additional
floor or in the roof structures. The best efficiency in space utilization is achieved by using high sloping
roofs and raised platforms. Apart from the shape, the appearance of the additional roof is influenced by
the external wall cladding and roofing materials. Normally, the additional floor constructions are de-
signed to provide for separate wall and roof structures, making it possible to use a wide range of light-
weight claddings and roofs. Because the additional floor should be as light in weight as possible, the
most natural choice is steel claddings and roofs.

Picture 77 Additional floors of different shapes.

Structural analysis before construction of additional space

Structural analyses are part of the project planning designed to chart the technical options available for
building an additional floor. A structural analysis is carried out to evaluate the performance of the load-
bearing frame of the building with regard to the additional load, soundproofing and fire protection. The
analysis addresses all the main building components: foundations, load-bearing frame and the existing
roof, the load-bearing roof slab included. Another objective of the structural analysis is to determine
whether the roof requires any asbestos demolition work.

Where possible, the additional loads acting on the structures

and related capacities are determined on the basis of existing
structural plans and calculations. Additionally, the positions
of the load-bearing structures will be verified by structural
measurements to determine at least the following: the loca-
tions of the load-bearing structures on the top floor, thick-
ness of the load-bearing roof slab, and the maximum dimen-
sions of the external walls of the building at the roof level. If
no input data is available, the design loads can be assumed
to conform to the building code requirements at the time of
construction and may also be derived from the measure-
ments of the structures. If necessary, the structural layers of
the roof are examined by exposing the structures. If the con-
Picture 78 dition evaluation reveals any damage to the load-bearing
structures, a more detailed inspection will be carried out to
determine their causes and effects. The load-bearing capacity of the foundations can be determined by
means of inspections.

When an additional floor is being contemplated, the structural engineer will carry out an load analysis
in order to determine:

the dead weight and payloads of the building;

the capacity of the existing structures and soil to absorb additional loads;

positioning and dead weight of the new structures;

amount of additional payloads;

amount of additional wind loads;

weight of the building materials to be removed from the old roof;

effect of modified snow load requirements.

The weight of the building materials to be removed form existing roofs varies from ~ 0.25 kN/m2 to
2.6 kN/m2. The lightest of these structures are mineral wool roofing materials with no protective pebble
layer and the heaviest are the expanded clay roofs resting on concrete slabs. When the additional floor
is made using lightweight steel structures, the current load acting on the existing roof slab is usually not
exceeded, if the effect of the amount of building materials to be removed is greater than 1.5 kN/m2. In
reality, problems may be encountered with roof slabs insulated with mineral wool, wood wool cement
or cork commonly used in southern Finland and coastal areas.

Additional floor structures

The most common structures consist of load-bearing walls or a skeleton frame. The load-bearing wall
system is specifically suitable for a residential building with a bookshelf RC load-bearing frame com-
mon in structures erected in Finland since the early 1960s. The skeleton structure is also suitable for
other types of building because the positioning of columns is freer than that of walls. A combination of
these two frame types is also feasible. Normally, the point of departure is that all the structural layers
above the load-bearing slab of the existing roof are removed.

Load-bearing wall system

In a system based on load-bearing walls, the vertical

loads are absorbed by load-bearing external/internal
walls. The walls are supported on the existing load-
bearing walls of the building. Horizontal loads are ab-
sorbed by roof slab trusses or beams resting on top of
the external and/or internal walls. As a rule, the floor
structure rests on the existing load-bearing roof slab.
Major loads acting on the floor require a specific beam
system supported on the load-bearing walls of the ex-
isting structure. Additional stability can be provided by
braces embedded in the structures. As a result, the
horizontal forces are absorbed by the load-bearing slab
that transmits them to the vertical load-bearing walls.
The roof level is stiffened by providing braces at the
gables or plates in the floor slab. This design is highly
suitable for very old structures with a "bookshelf"
frame built in the 1960s. Ample space for building en-
Picture 79
gineering systems is provided in the floor slab or under
the floor. This type of design can be used to construct a
wide range of additional floors, for example by making use of internal walls in addition to the load-
bearing external walls. A sense of space and efficiency in space utilization are achieved by using slop-
ing ceilings and raised platforms.

Skeleton structure

The skeleton structure consists of a separate frame

made of tubing or open sections. Consequently,
vertical loads are transmitted by the columns to the
load-bearing slab or a wall underneath. The roof of
the skeleton is supported by a steel section or truss.
The frame is stabilized by means of braces placed
in the walls and ceiling. Thanks to the free position-
ing of the columns, this concept is suitable for a
wide range of building frame types. The skeleton
frame makes it possible to build large open areas,
offering maximum freedom in space allocation.
Additionally, the shape of the skeleton frame can be
modified to build a mansard roof. As a rule, the
external walls consist of lightweight sandwich
walls with a perforated steel or mineral wool core.
The roof slab can consist of a prefabricated element
with a skeleton or sandwich structure. The roof can
Picture 80 also be made of load-bearing corrugated sheet used
in hall structures, covered with mineral wool insu-
lation and the roofing material. The structures used in the load-bearing wall system can also be em-
ployed in internal walls and floors. Fire protection of the steel sections included in the skeleton frame
can be provided by using special fire protection or embedding the sections inside enclosing structures.


The drawing shows a construction based on load-

bearing walls. The steel sections are protected
from fire by placing them inside external and in-
ternal walls whereas the roof truss is protected by
a fire-resistant lightweight element. The structure
satisfies the REI60 requirements and its fire rating
is P1, if the fire load is less than 600MJ/m2. The
airborne sound insulation index of the floor struc-
tures is R'w>55dB (concrete slab with a minimum
thickness of 160 mm) and impact sound level in-
sulation L'n,w<53dB thanks to a floating floor or
flexible floor coverings.

More often than not, the tolerances of the existing

structure are greater by one order of magnitude
than those of an dimensionally accurate steel
structure. The new floor is connected to the exist-
ing structure by means of installation pads and
expansion bolts to be fixed to the concrete. This
concept provides for sufficient latitude for both
horizontal and vertical adjustment.

The external walls consist of prefabricated light-

weight elements with a perforated steel frame
with factory-installed top and bottom rails. Be-
cause the external wall is a separate structure, it
can be selected freely. The best solution is to use
lightweight metal walls because the weight of the
new structure needs to be minimized.

Picture 81

The roof slab consists of 200 mm thick light-

weight elements, such as Rannila Panel. While providing thermal insulation, the element also serves as
a fire-proofing layer for the roof structures. The load-bearing structure consists of steel trusses made of
galvanized sheeting. Also, trusses or beam structures made of lightweight sections may be used.

Because of its low weight, the best choice for the roofing material is factory-painted steel roofing rest-
ing on steel battens. The floor structure consists of steel purlins supported on adjustable legs and cov-
ered by formed sheet profiles. Additional soundproofing is provided by the floating floor consisting of
mineral wool and building boards.

The internal walls are made of gypsum board with a steel frame.

The specific loads exerted by the new structures according to this concept are:

external wall elements g ~ 2.4 kN/m

Roof elements g ~ 0.75 kN/m2

Floor g ~ 0.55 kN/m2 or floating floor g ~ 0.8 kN/m2

Non-load-bearing internal walls g ~ 0.75 kN/m

Compartment walls g ~ 2.75 kN/m

Bathroom elements depending on model g ~ 3-4 kN/m2

The payload acting on the existing load-bearing slab via the floor structure of the additional floor is qk =
1,5 kN/m2 for housing units and qk = 2,0 kN/m2 for office spaces. In this concept, the dead weight of the
building envelope and the wind and snow loads it is subjected to are transmitted via the supporting
points of the load-bearing external wall elements to the load-bearing and stiffening walls of the building
with a bookshelf frame. As a rule, the load-bearing and stiffening walls offer sufficient additional load-
bearing capacity to absorb such loads. As far as the foundations are concerned, the relative share of the
additional load is inversely proportional to the height of the building, the distance between the load-
bearing walls and the weight of the roof structure to be removed. For example, in a 3-storey building
with a load-bearing wall spacing of ~ 6 m and a mineral wool insulated roof, the increase in the load
acting on the foundations is 5 to 15%. If such a building has a roof insulated with expanded clay, the
equivalent increase in load is 0 to 10%.

Modular units

Modular units speed up

the construction of the
additional floor consid-
erably, thereby minimiz-
ing the inconvenience
caused by construction.
Naturally, fast comple-
tion reduces interest ex-
penditure and allows the
owner to start collecting
rents earlier. The modu-
lar units are lifted in po-
sition just before the
roof is closed. As soon
as the roof is completed,
the rest of the work can
be carried out indoors
fully protected from the
Picture 82 weather. Modular units
are finished spaces com-
plete with technical services, so that their impact in shortening completion times is specially felt during
the indoor construction phase. The units come with ready-made connections for electrical power, water,
sewer and air-conditioning. Usually the units have a steel section frame. The envelope consists of steel
cassettes with mineral wool insulation.


Picture 83

Construction of a new balcony to an existing

building or replacement of an old balcony that
cannot be renovated, does not differ
essentially from the construction of a balcony
to a new building. However, the exact
dimensions of the building must always be
specified in advance to facilitate swift
installation of the balcony structures and to
ensure that the components can be adapted to
the building elegantly. The required openings
on the wall structure for the balcony door and
any windows must always be designed. It is
often advisable to use light structures on the
balconies, eg. a light floor, and to design the
fixings and foundations of the balcony so that
the increase on the weight load and the
disturbance on living comfort during the con-
struction stage are minimized.

Picture 84

Apart from the structural demands, balcony structures must also meet demands connected with wear
resistance and water insulation. Where the balconys support structures are located near traffic areas,
the possible loads caused by collisions should be accounted for. In balcony renovation projects, no fire
resistance requirements are usually specified for the balcony structures. However, if steel structures are
used without separate fire protection, attention should be paid at the design stage to the distances of
load-bearing structures from openings. The rated fire load should also be determined.

The fixing points of a balcony structure

attached to a dry building frame of even
temperature are stressed not only by
permanent loads and service live loads, but
also by wind loads and thermal movements.
Particularly in frames where the balcony
frame runs continuously from one storey to
another, thermal movements deserve special

The service span of the structural components,

eg. maintenance, removal and replacement
intervals, as well as removal of the entire bal-
cony, should be considered in the design of
the balcony structures. The components and
the structures should follow the same
maintenance cycles. Balcony structures are
designed so that dirt, leaves from trees or
water will not accumulate on the structures. If
the gaps are too small, they will collect dirt
and cause a corrosion risk.

Picture 85

All steel structures mounted outdoors should be hot-dip galvanized to ensure good long-term strength.
In addition to galvanizing, also protective paints can be used on the structures. The instructions of the
paint manufacturers should be followed closely, particularly with respect to the cleaning of the struc-
tures. Environmental conditions are classified according to the factors influencing corrosion of metals.
The classification is presented in the Finnish instruction RT 29-10264 Corrosion of metals. Classifica-
tion of environmental conditions SFS 4596. The service life of hot-dip galvanizing in the various
classes depends on the thickness of the zinc coating. Criteria for selection of the zinc coat thickness is
contained in instruction RT 39-10260 Protection of steel by zinc coating. Zinced components must not
be welded at the installation stage. Special attention shall be paid to the silicon (Si) content of the steel
to ensure good hot-dip galvanizing results.

Picture 86

Anti-corrosion treatment of thin gauge steel sheeting consists of hot-dip galvanizing (275 g/m2) and
also plastic coating (Pural, PVF2 or Plastisol).

Depending on the environment, the fasteners used on the structures should be of either hot-dip galva-
nized steel or stainless steel. If the structures and the fasteners are made of different materials, it should
be ensured that the formation of an electric couple is prevented, as it will promote corrosion damages.
With thin gauge steel sheeting, the strength and corrosion resistance of the fixings can be easily ensured
from product declarations verified in compliance with instruction B6 of the Finnish Building Code.

Balcony slabs

Balcony slab structures are in most cases made watertight. Draining requires that the balcony level is
laid 1:80 to falls. Water can be drained either internally or externally. The recommended solution is in-
ternal draining with downpipes and separate penetration drains mounted in the slab. In addition, an
overflow point must be designed for the balcony level, either a groove on the edge of the slab or a drain
pipe. External draining can be implemented with 50-70 mm weather and impact resistant plastic, steel
or aluminium pipe. There must be at least two drain pipes on each balcony level and they must extend
at least 200 mm outside the edge of the balcony. The water is led to the drains or drain pipes by laying
either the top surface or the bottom surface of the slab to falls, when eg. wooden lattices are used as a
surface structure on the slab.

Steel balcony slab structures consists of profiled frame beams and sheet structures. The height of the
edge or secondary profiles of the load-bearing slab are chosen on the basis of the span and the loads.
The material thickness of the steel is usually 4-5 mm by the edge profiles and slightly smaller by the
secondary profiles.

Various balcony slab alternatives include, among others:

composite board

steel beams and balcony plywood or wooden lattices

load-bearing corrugated sheet and balcony plywood or wooden lattices

reinforced concrete.

A balcony slab of composite construction

consists of a composite board on the bottom sur-
face and a concrete layer on top of it. The use of
plastic coated composite boards makes it
possible to choose the colour separately for each
balcony, and at the same time, the underside of
the balcony is easy to clean. Plants etc. can be
easily fastened to the grooves on the underside of
the board using the fasteners included in the
system. A composite board can be used also as
such as a water draining board under a wooden
lattice slab.

Picture 87
The direction of the composite board can be chosen freely. Often the most beneficial alternative from
structural point of view is to install the boards parallel with the building, whereby the sides of the bal-
cony are load-bearing and no separate beams are needed on the front and rear edges. The balcony slab
can be concreted either before installation or after the balcony level has been mounted in place. Con-
crete splashes can be avoided if the floor is cast in advance. Any laying to falls or reservations for water
draining are also easier to accomplish on ground level.

The total mass of the balcony structures can be

considerably reduced by the use of light floor
structures. A light floor can be used on sites where the
loads caused by the balconies to the structures would
pose problems, or where light structures would entail
cost savings in eg. support structures. A floor slab of
light construction consists of a watertight bottom
section made of eg. plastic coated thin gauge steel sec-
tion. This also produces a finished ceiling for the
balcony below. The load-bearing structure between
the bottom and top surfaces can be self-supporting
corrugated sheeting fixed to the edge profiles. The top
surface may be of eg. weather resistant resin-coated
plywood, with non-slip patterning. Another alternative
is wooden lattices, made of pressure impregnated
wood. Planed board with rounded corners is a good
choice for surface boarding. The lattices should be
made of sections that can be disassembled, to
facilitate removal of any objects that fall under the

Picture 88

The principle of a reinforced concrete slab is similar

to the composite floor, but without the profiled sheet
on the bottom surface. In Finland the concrete
components shall meet Class E2b requirements of the
Service life dimensioning and durability instructions
for concrete structures, BY 32. Since the steel
reinforcement of class K 45 concrete is not corrosion
resistant, the thickness of the protective concrete
layer must be at least 25 mm and the thickness of the
floor surface layer 35 mm.

Picture 89 113
Alternative balcony support structures

Picture 90

Alternative balcony support structures include:

own foundation

completely supported to building frame

partly supported to building frame

Self-supporting balconies on own foundation can be used with almost all

building frame types. This is the only alternative if the loads caused by the
balcony cannot be transferred to the building frame. The vertical structures
can consist of steel columns, the balconys side walls or lattices
preassembled into units for swift installation. The dimensions and the mate-
Picture 91 rial thickness of the columns are chosen on the basis of the loads. The
minimum dimensions and thicknesses, however, are 120 mm x 120 mm or
139.7 mm and 6.3 mm.

The connection of the slab structure to the column can be realized with a simple screwed joint using
pre-drilled tapped screw holes. This requires that the height of the building is measured for prefabrica-
tion of the slab structures fixing points. Alternatively, sufficient allowance must be provided on the
fixing points. For round columns the edge profile needs to be formed on the fixing point according to
the columns shape. Large consoles should not be used as the weld joints required in them will cause
problems in hot-dip galvanizing which relieves the weld tension.

In low-rise buildings the vertical balcony line can consist of a single section, equal to the height of the
building, with the floors mounted onto the columns with screwed joints. The balcony line can also be
mounted one storey at a time, and the floors connected to the one-storey high columns. In high-rise
buildings mounting in storey-high sections is the recommended practice from point of view of trans-
ports and also dimensional deviations.

The balcony line is fixed to the building against horizontal loads, eg. wind loads. There must be at least
two fixing points on each storey, either by the balcony slab (Fig. 7.8) or by the columns beside the wall.

If the balcony structures are supported on their own ground foundation, special attention has to be paid
to corrosion protection at ground level.

The underground parts of the columns are filled with concrete up to the drain hole made in the profile,
and the external surface is protected using eg. epoxy pitch.

Balconies that are completely supported to the building frame are constructed as units. Each unit com-
prises one balcony. All the loads caused by the balcony are transferred to the building structures, either
to the floors, to the partition walls or both. Fixing can be accomplished with wedge anchors or chemical
anchors, or a combination of them. The front edge of the slab is supported with drawbars made of round
bar steel or cold-formed steel section. For round bars stainless steel is recommended, where the connec-
tion method requires that the bar is threaded. When using joint plates normal structural steel can be
used, with the bars hot-dip galvanized after the joint plate has been welded.

A balcony partly supported to the building frame is an intermediate form of the alternatives described
above. In this structure most of the vertical loads beside the wall are transmitted to the building founda-
tions with continuous column lines.

Balustrade structures

The minimum height of balcony balustrade is

1000 mm. The height is measured by the top-
most point of the balcony slab near the balus-
trade where people can stand. For external
balustrades either hot-dip galvanized or
stainless steel is used. The weathering
properties and the appearance of hot-dip
galvanized steel can be further improved by
painting. The priming and finishing of hot-
dip galvanized steel shall be carried out in
compliance with special instructions. A long
life of the paint coat can be ensured by
making sure that no impurities are left on the
zinc coat and the paint type used does not
react with zinc.

Balustrade structures are prefabricated to re-

duce on-site work. The design and
installation of balustrade structures shall be
based on manufacturing methods and joint
types that facilitate all kinds of post-
installation work. In practice this often means
that the balustrade structures are fastened to
the top flange or web of the balconys edge
profile with bolted or screwed joints. The
connection method shall also permit easy
disassembly, repair and replacement of the
various components. In renovation projects
dimensional differences should always be
considered and the fastening method shall
Picture 92 account for considerable lateral or vertical

The starting point in the selection of the balustrade structure is often the cladding sheet to be used on
the balustrade. The material thickness of the profile (usually 3-4 mm), its shape and whether a bottom
profile is needed often depends on the cladding sheets. Open profiles make it possible to minimize the
need of battens and the depth of the balustrade structure. The profiles and the handrails should also sup-
port any changes made in the balcony structure later, eg. glazing.

Balustrade sheeting

Balustrade sheeting may comprise thin gauge

steel sheeting with different coating and forming
finishes, safety glass, steel net or wooden lining.
Profiled sheets, metal cassettes and perforated
sheets are the most common alternatives. They
are easy to fix on the balustrade with stainless or
acid-resistant self-drilling screws or pop rivets.
Glazing is fixed to the balustrade with glazing
beads and weather stripping.

Corrugated sheets usually offer the most inex-

pensive solution. The profile of the sheets is
normally low (20-35 mm). The frame structure
can consist of an open profile slightly higher than
the corrugated sheeting, whereby the sides of the
sheets are covered by the flange of the open

The edges of metal cassettes and perforated

sheets are folded so that the fixing of the sheets to
the balustrade structure can be concealed. The
material thickness of metal cassettes is in Finland
chosen in compliance with the instruction RT 82-
10429, paying attention to the required strength of
the sheet fixing.

Picture 93

The balustrade sheeting may also require separate protective boards on the inside surface of the balus-
trade. Protective boards are needed eg. with horizontally installed deep corrugated sheeting or cassette.

Picture 94

Balcony glazing

The possibility of balcony glazing at a later date should be considered in the design of balcony struc-
tures. Glazing improves the heat and sound insulation of the balcony wall, increases the annual use of
the balcony and protects the balcony structures, thus reducing the need of maintenance work. The glaz-
ing structure can be either fixed with a separate ventilator section, or a so-called glazing system struc-
ture where all the glasses slide aside, if required. Safety glass is always used in balcony glazing, e.g. 6
mm tempered glass.

Completely or partly cantilevered balconies with open sides are often difficult glazing projects. Balco-
nies on the top storey of the building can also prove difficult, unless they have a fixed roof or a canopy.

The design of balcony structures should consider the space that balcony glazing needs in various situa-
tions, as well as how the glazing is connected to the railing and to the bottom surface of the balcony
floor. The railing should be designed so that the bottom glazing guides and condensate troughs can be
easily fastened to the railing structures. Any fixings to be made on the bottom surface of the slab should
also be accounted for, eg. by means of pre-mounted fixing components, a suitable allowance or correct
forming of the bottom slab surface.

It is advisable to install balcony glazing inside the front edge of the balcony slab as the slab edge will
then interrupt the running of water on the glass surfaces. Often this is not possible, however, since in
most cases the railing structures are mounted outside the front edge of the slab and the glazing has to be

fastened to the railing. Rain water running down the surfaces inside the balcony is drained away from
the structures with gutters and downpipes.

Balcony canopies

The shape of the canopy can be chosen individually for each balcony. Typically the canopy frame is
made of load-bearing hot-dip galvanized tubular or sectional steel. The roofing can be selected on the
basis of the buildings general expression, eg. corrugated or tile sheeting. The canopies are fixed with
acid-resistant self-drilling screws and EPDM washers, in compliance with the instructions of the sheet-
ing supplier.

Balcony repairs

Picture 95

Typical damages of balcony structures include frost weathering and carbonation of concrete, corrosion
of concrete reinforcement and steel structures and rotting of wooden structures. Premature damages are
usually caused by deficient waterproofing of the balcony slab, poor draining (lay to falls) and missing
edge flashings. The extent of balcony repairs can be divided into balustrade repairs and repairs on load-
bearing structures. The damaged structures can be either repaired or replaced. Repair plans should al-
ways be based on the determination of the causes of damages and finding a repair method that ensures a
long-term solution to the problems. Balcony glazing or cladding of the structures (with ventilation sys-
tem), for example, can reduce climatic stresses on the structures essentially, but will not eliminate the
damages already caused. In both cases the situation is easier if the existing structure can be disassem-
bled and is not fixedly connected to other balcony or wall structures.

Balustrade structures

The easiest form of balustrade repairs entails replacement of

balustrade sheeting or re-cladding of the existing front sheeting.
The load-bearing capacity of the open or tubular profiles used in
old steel-structured balustrades is often insufficient or so badly
corroded that it is advisable to renew also the balustrade structures
when replacing the sheeting. Very often the existing balustrade
structures cannot be used as such if the balcony is eg. glazed.

When designing the connection of the balustrade to the slab,

dimensional deviations that are common in old balconies should
be accounted for. Allowances are usually required both in vertical
and horizontal direction, to make it possible to compensate for
height differences between balcony lines and to align the vertical
lines of balcony lines. Often elongated bolt holes on fixing
components offer the easiest way to make the allowances.

Cladding of existing concrete balustrade structures is another

common repair method. The purpose of the cladding is usually to
cover various, mainly superficial defects of the front concrete
block. When selecting the repair method it should be borne in
mind that the damages of the concrete will continue to spread even
after the cladding has been installed, so visible defects should
always be repaired before cladding. The cladding is normally
fixed to the concrete block with wooden strips. If the concrete
balustrade is damaged beyond repair, it can be replaced with a Picture 96
steel balustrade which can then be clad. This will also reduce the
weight of the balcony to some extent.

Balcony slab

Waterproofing of the slab, sufficient laying to falls and improved draining will reduce moisture stresses
acting on the balcony. If the balcony, or a part of it, has already been damaged beyond repair, however,
it has to be replaced. Partial or complete demolition of the existing balcony requires careful technical
pre-planning. Worst damages have been found in small cantilevered balconies where the structures have
often been replaced or a new, larger balcony has been built. In the case of cantilevered balconies, in
particular, it is difficult to implement repairs without an increase in the weight of the structure.

Old concrete balconies can be supported in different ways:

supported to the floor with steel rails or sectional steel beams, cantilevered or recessed balcony type

supported to load-bearing partition walls with steel rails or sectional steel beams, recessed balcony

load-bearing side walls or columns, cantilevered or recessed balcony type


Demolished balconies can be replaced by new balconies or balcony parts that differ quite considerably
from the original structures in size or construction type. Storey heights, locations of existing and new
openings and supporting alternatives of the new balcony structures need to be determined for the design
and implementation of the new structures.

The selection of the floor structure is influenced by the method used for supporting the balcony. A
light-weight floor provides the designer with more freedom with respect to space utilization and foun-
dation methods. (cf. Chapter Balcony slabs, Alternative balcony support structures).



Modular construction is a term that is used for the factory production of pre-engineered building units
and components that are delivered to site and assembled as volumetric units or large panels, or as sub-
stantial elements of a building. The modular units may form complete rooms, parts of rooms, balconies,
stairs or separate highly serviced units such as toilets or lifts. The collection of modular units usually
forms a self supporting structure in its own right or, for tall buildings, may rely on an independent struc-
tural framework.

Modular units may be used for a wide range of building types, from residential buildings to complete
fitted-out buildings. This project concerns the use of modular construction to extend buildings as part of
a comprehensive renovation process, which may include over-cladding and new balconies and lifts.

An example of the application of modular construction in a residential building is shown in Picture 97.
This building has a traditional brick facade and pitched tiled roof, although the internal structure con-
sists of modular units using light steel framing.

Picture 97

The motivation for using modular construction lies in the business-related benefits that make this form
of construction more attractive to the client than alternative forms of conventional site-built construc-
tion. In such cases, the design decisions are mostly strongly influenced by:

Speed of construction on site. Rapid construction leads to business-related benefits to the client, due
to early completion and early return on capital investment.

Avoidance of disruption and loss of operation of adjacent buildings. This is often important in ex-
tensions to existing buildings, such as hotels, and in sensitive sites.

Buildings or components with a high degree of servicing. These require careful site installation and
pre-compliance trials, which are better carried out off site and off the critical construction path.

A large number of regular or repetitive units. Factory production can facilitate transportation and
can achieve economy of scale in production.

Addition of lifts or other large components, which can be pre-fabricated and installed efficiently.

Planning constraints, such as on delivery times, time of working, noise control on site.

A short weather-window, or other site constraints to the construction operation.

Lack of suitable skills at site. This might be the case at a remote site.

Client requirements for an exceptionally high degree of quality control. This can best be achieved
by off-site manufacture and pre-installation checks.

A requirement for a single point procurement route. This can be achieved through a design, manu-
facture and build service, which the modular industry provides.

Security or other related issues on site. Construction operations can be controlled more precisely
when modular units are used.

It is often thought that modular construction is, by definition, more expensive than traditional con-
struction. While this may be true for one-off buildings, there are considerable economies of scale that
can be obtained from greater refinement of the design (often by testing) and by investment in mecha-
nised and possibly automated production.

In some countries, modular construction has reached a high level of sophistication. For example, in Ja-
pan over 150,000 houses are produced annually in modular form. A typical large Japanese house is
shown in Picture 98. The extremely high cost of land in Japan creates an economic imperative to build
quickly and to achieve rapid pay-back, which could not be achieved by a conventional construction

Picture 98

Modular construction is also used in large standardised components such as lifts, balconies and stairs,
which can be used in both new build and renovation. A good example of pre-fabricated balcony is il-
lustrated in Picture 99.

Picture 99

Modular units may also be combined to form larger rooms. In this case, the length of the modular unit is
equal to the span of the floor or roof members forming the completed space. The open face of the unit
is braced or stiffened during lifting and transportation to provide stability. Alternative forms of modular
construction using single room-sized units or multiple units used to form larger rooms are shown in Pic-
ture 100

Picture 100 Various forms of modular construction

(a) Modular units stacked to form cellular rooms

(b) Modular units combined to form larger spaces

Use of light steel framing in modular construction

Light steel framing comprises cold formed steel sections in C or Z form, or their variants, which are roll
formed from galvanised steel strip of 1.0 to 3.2 mm thickness. The members are cut to length and as-
sembled by various connection methods to form the structural framework of the modular units. The
various section types are illustrated in Picture 101.

Plain C section Lipped C section Slotted C section

Zed section Back-to-back sections Box section

Picture 101

Cold formed steel sections used in modular construction

The general benefits of light steel framing in the context of modular construction are:

Robustness during lifting and transportation.

Ease and speed of manufacture (including forming the connections).

Lightness (for lifting and transportation, and leading to smaller and cheaper foundations).

Good resistance to vertical and imposed loads.

Suitability for long floor spans.

High levels of acoustic and thermal insulation can be provided by the light steel framing.

Ease of attachment of a variety of finishes and cladding materials.

Robust connections made on site (by bolting for example).

Dimensional accuracy and reliable material properties.

Freedom from long-term movement.

Durability and long life.

Fire resistance (steel does not contribute to the fire load).

Light steel framing is the ideal framing material for modular construction because of its efficient use of
materials and its ability to be integrated into a sophisticated manufacturing process. It is also possible to
mix the use of various section types, including hot rolled steel members, such as I sections and hollow
sections for heavily loaded applications, including at local lifting points.

An example of light steel framing used in modular construction is shown in Picture 102. In general, the
structure may be over-engineered for its normal applications, as sizing is more dictated by stability
and rigidity in the lifting and transportation operations. Because of this, the in-service performance of
modular buildings is often better than in more traditional buildings.

Picture 102

Applications of modular construction in buildings

Modular construction comprising light steel framing has various applications in general building con-
struction, particularly in residential buildings such as hotels and apartments. Modular construction has
not yet penetrated the low-rise housing market significantly in the UK, unlike its success in Japan. The
following building types are most appropriate for modular construction:

Hotels and hotel extensions.

Cellular apartment units.

Student residences.

Educational buildings.

Sheltered accommodation, such as old peoples homes.

Toilet units for commercial and apartment buildings.

Plant rooms for commercial buildings, hospitals etc.

Highly serviced units, such as lift shafts and industrial clean rooms.

Pre-manufactured buildings, such as fast food restaurants and petrol stations.

An internal view of a modular bedroom unit is shown in Picture 103.

Picture 103

Scope of the project

The objective of this demonstration project is to show how modular units using light steel framing may
be used to extend and adapt existing buildings by addition of the units to the side or on top of the build-
ing. Extensions may be of the form of:

New bathrooms, balconies and other facilities.

New apartments on top of buildings.

Lifts, stairs and other access to the new and existing floors.

The demonstration projects addressed both roof-top extensions using modular units, and the use of pre-
fabricated balconies, stairs and lifts. Various development projects showed how a variety of modular
units may be used to re-model buildings and provide new facilities. In these demonstration projects,
modular construction was chosen by the developers after discussion with the parties, and both projects
represent the first projects of their type in the two participating countries of the UK and Finland. The
completed buildings are shown in Picture 104 and Picture 105 respectively.

Modular construction offered considerable advantages to the client and developer in these projects. Part
of the project concerned the decision-making tools and economic and value assessment leading to the
choice of modular construction.

Picture 104

Picture 105


This section of the report takes an over-view of the application of modular construction in the residen-
tial sector, both for new buildings and in renovation.

History of modular construction

Ideas of factory-made housing developed in the late 1920s and 1930s in Germany through architects
such as Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius, and in the USA through Richard Neutra and Buckminster
Fuller. Mass production of motor cars led to similar concepts for housing, starting firstly with panel or
component-based systems and later extending to modular units.

In 1937 the American engineer/inventor Buckminster Fuller developed the steel prefabricated Dy-
maxion bathroom. Forty years later, Sir Norman Foster used steel toilet modules in his Hong Kong
Shanghai Bank headquarters in Hong Kong (see Picture 106). The wide publicity this building attracted
played a major part in helping architects to understand the advantages of using service modules in of-
fice buildings.

Picture 106

During the office building boom of the 1980s in central London, where labour and logistical problems
made life particularly difficult for contractors, many major office developments made extensive use of
toilet and plant room modules (see Picture 108). Proposals were made for completely modulising the
core areas (a concept known at the time as total core TC) of major new office buildings, where steel
toilet modules, modular plant rooms, and modular lift shafts were used together for the first time.

There has been a consistent growth in the use of bathroom pods for hotels, hostels, halls of residence,
etc. The larger hotel chains in Britain often specify bathroom pods for new hotel bedrooms, and for ho-
tel extensions. In most modern cruise ships, all classes of cabins either include toilet pods or are made
as cabin pods with integral bathrooms, and that several manufacturers who make marine pods have built
on that success and moved into the manufacture of modular products for the building industry.

Picture 107

A common characteristic of the various types of pod is that they are all inserted into load-bearing struc-
tures and, therefore, only need to be self-supporting. The highest loads are encountered when they are
being handled or transported.

Modular construction has attracted considerable attention from architects who were inspired by the op-
portunities of the construction technique. Modular construction also introduced the benefits of mass
production to the construction sector, but self-evidently required a large market to lead to economies of
In most European countries, the development in the use of modular construction has been relatively
slow and is often more associated with discrete architectural opportunities provided by the construction
medium rather than a production-oriented market demand. However, a niche market in Scandinavia is
in the renovation sector where modular units are used to renovate and extend existing tall concrete
panel or masonry residential buildings of the 1960s.

Japanese experience

The market for the modular homes in Japan is among the upper and higher-middle income groups,
whereas in the USA it is among the lower income groups. In Japan, there is almost no second hand
housing market and most sites are re-built every 20-30 years. Consequently the Japanese housing mar-
ket is now 1.5 million dwellings per year (8 times that in the UK, although Japans population is only
double that of the UK).

Industrialised building techniques of all types now account for about 20% of housing production in Ja-
pan, or over 300,000 dwellings a year. The major builders in the industrialised production sector are
Sekisui Chemicals, Daiwa, Misawa, and National. Their construction techniques are based largely on
traditional framed construction using a combination of steel sections, which are designed in accordance
with the strict Building Standard Law. The facade panels often use lightweight concrete (autoclaved
Sekisui Heim was established in 1972 as the modular building part of Sekisui Chemicals Ltd. Since
then, Sekisui Heim has produced almost half a million modular homes (each house typically consisting
of 12 to 15 modules) and is Japans biggest modular home producer. In 1976, Toyota (the car company)
followed suit by setting up a modular homes division. Although Toyota Homes output of houses is
only about a tenth that of Sekisui Heims, its importance lies in its production methods, which owe
much to sophisticated car manufacturing methods developed by the parent company. Though the two
companies production levels are very different, they produce modules that are technically similar. Se-
kisui Heim produces approximately 35,000 modular houses a year, and their largest factory produces
approximately 7,000 houses a year.

Cramped sites and narrow roads mean that modules are constructed to shipping container width of 2.43
m and, generally, a maximum 6,1 m length. High land values, crane handling and seismic design con-
siderations require lightweight, very strong modules that can be grouped and stacked two or three sto-
reys high to create large (and expensive) single family houses.

Sekisui Heim and Toyota Homes use open framed steel modules that are customised to individual con-
sumer specification, to a significant extent. Customisation is possible because of the extensive use of
computeraided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM). The sophisticated software al-
lows the architectural design and pricing processes to take place in the presence of the prospective
homeowner. The result is a unique house design made from a wide range of standard components. The
Japanese refer to this approach as mass customisation.

Each Sekisui Heim house is made from around 10,000 different components, but in order to provide
consumer choice, the plant holds stocks of over 270,000 components. Without the use of CAM, the mil-
lions of possible component permutations would be unmanageable. The modules are manufactured on
assembly lines like cars. Throughput is such that a module is completed every 3 minutes. Each module
passes through 24 workstations, so that when it reaches the end of the assembly line after 3 hours, it is
ready to transport to site. The production operation is illustrated in Picture 108. Preparation of the sites,
construction of the foundations and the erection of modules are usually left to small building compa-
nies, subcontracted to the module manufacturers.

The basic module in a Sekisui house comprises a 200 75 mm C section as a ring beam with a 125 mm
square box section at the corners. The infill elements in the wall and floor joists use 125 50 mm C
sections. Each unit is finished internally before delivery and is lifted from its four corners into position.
As noted earlier, approximately 12 units form a typical large family house, which can be constructed in
40 days, including foundations and landscaping, compared to 120 days for traditional housing.

Picture 108

European experience

Until recently, the motivation to use modular construction was less apparent in Europe than in the USA
or Japan. In the UK, greater impetus to the use of modular construction was given by the report Re-
thinking Construction, which emphasised the need for higher quality, reduced waste and speed of con-
struction through high levels of pre-fabrication in construction. In Scandinavia, the industrialised meth-
ods of the ship-building industry have led to extensions of this production technology into the building

The Finnish steel company Rautaruukki, through their division Rannila, has developed a modular build-
ing system that is based on light steel modular units with cassette cladding panels to form the facades.
Although equally appropriate for new-build construction, it has found its niche market in the renovation
sector, where existing buildings can be extended horizontally and vertically to create new high quality
space. The use of modules is also combined with over-cladding, new balconies and access stairs, which
are installed as large pre-fabricated components.

A wide range of building projects have used this system, mainly for new toilets and bathrooms, en-
closed balconies and access stairs. Unlike conventional construction systems, modular units can be con-
structed and installed all year round, which makes modular construction more attractive in the Scandi-
navian climate. An example of this form of construction is shown in Picture 109. The modular bath-
room units are fully serviced and fitted out before installation. They are used to form the new facade
and often form part of a comprehensive over-cladding scheme.

Picture 109

Modular construction is well developed in Germany, where there are a number of manufacturers of
modular units that are used primarily in housing. The largest manufacturer of modular houses is the
company Alho, which has two manufacturing plants in Germany. They have also developed a system
called a Generation house, which is based on a light steel frame substructure of up to 4.5 m width. The
units can be extended as family sizes increase (see Picture 110).

Picture 110

In Denmark, modular units have been used in roof-top extensions in the renovation of apartment build-
ings, as in the example of Picture 111 in Copenhagen. In this project, the key to the use of modular con-
struction was the speed of construction and light weight of the modular light steel frames, which could
be lifted into place onto the roof.

Picture 111

In the UK, there are 4 manufacturers of modular systems which can be used for housing, hotels, student
residences and other cellular accommodation. The main demand is for single and two person accom-
modation in inner cities with minimum impact of the construction process. It is estimated that over
1,000 modular units were manufactured during 2001 for the residential sector.

A recent major project for the social housing organisation, The Peabody Trust, was completed in Hack-
ney, London. The 5-storey block of 30 flats was constructed entirely from 3.2 m wide 8 m long fitted-
out modular room units. The entrance area, stairs and roof were also supplied in modular form. The
rain-screen cladding panels were attached directly to the modules. A view of a module being installed is
shown in Picture 112. The 80 modules were installed in only 10 days.

The modular system company, Yorkon, has also constructed a number of fast-food outlets, which are
entirely fitted out in the factory. The McDonalds outlet at the Millennium Dome project in Greenwich
was the largest in the UK.

Picture 112

Another innovative modular system has been developed by Ayrshire Metal Ltd, called Ayrframe, which
is based on a series of box frames with longitudinal members providing the necessary stiffness to
eliminate bracing as illustrated in Picture 113. Modules using the Ayrframe system were included in the
robustness tests (see Section 11). This system has been used in a 9 storey student residence in Man-
chester, the tallest modular building in Europe. This building is illustrated in Picture 114.

Picture 113

Picture 114

Types of module

There are potentially three basic types of module using light steel framing or sheeting, namely:

Structural modules, which function as a load-bearing steel frame, a stressed skin box, or combinations
of the two functions. The modules can be stacked vertically or may be combined with primary structural
frames, particularly in heavily loaded applications.

Non-structural modules, which are supported by a structural frame or on a concrete floor. These mod-
ules can be located between the primary structural members. Various examples are reviewed in Section

Shutter modules, in which the steel modules act as permanent formwork for in-situ concrete. The ap-
plied loads are carried by the concrete cross-walls and floor slabs in the same way that they would be in
a conventionally constructed concrete building. The light steel structure supports the loads during con-

Other modular components

Various forms of other modular components have been used in major building projects. These modular
units exploit the benefits of speed of construction by taking more complex parts of the construction
programme off the critical path.

Lifts: The time it takes to install conventional lifts will usually determine when a building is handed
over to the client. Modular lift installation methods (e.g. Schindlers MLSC system, shown in Picture
113) have been in use for over 10 years, and allow lifts to be installed and commissioned quickly.
Modular lift shafts can be fully integrated with the structure and can be designed to provide wind brac-
ing, or they can be free standing elements. They can be used in both new-build and in renovation.

Stairs: Prefabricated stairs are quick and easy to install, and are immediately available for use in the
construction operation. Prefabricated steel stairs are usually erected as storey-high units and have been
used for over 15 years in traditional steel framed construction. They are installed with protection to fin-
ished surfaces, or in a partially finished state that can be finished later. Prefabricated stairs are used in
both new-build and in renovation.

Picture 115

Corridors: In some systems, hotel modules consist of two bedrooms each side of a corridor. Alterna-
tively, bedrooms may be produced as separate modules. In this case, corridor units are created from
floor panels that bridge between the modules. With this arrangement, the corridor can accommodate
construction tolerances.

Plant rooms: The advantages and the limitations of M & E plant modules are well known and appre-
ciated by service engineers, particularly those specialising in the design of large commercial buildings.
In these applications, air handling and cooling plant can be installed as modular units by lifting onto the
roof of buildings.

Toilet modules: Toilet modules can be constructed as self-supporting units and lifted and slid into place
on the floor of buildings (see Picture 107). Clearly, the floor of the toilet modules will be higher than
that of the adjacent floor unless a raised access floor or other covering is provided.

Balconies and stairs: Pre-fabricated stairs and balconies can be attached to the building faade or sup-
ported independently.

Picture 116

Picture 117

Production and logistics

Production efficiency and logistics, such as transport and crane costs, play an important role in deter-
mining the economic viability of modular building projects. The following points are relevant to these

Ease of manufacture: Modules may not be as efficient structurally as they could be because of the
need for an integrated assembly-line production and the requirements of the transportation and erection
process. The way in which modules are assembled and fitted out in the factory, and lifted and as-
sembled on site, frequently requires special components. However, there is also a need to minimise the
number of components for production efficiency and to avoid unnecessary stocking.

Value per unit volume: The higher the value of the modular units per unit volume, the greater the dis-
tances over which modules can be transported and used competitively. However, transport and in-
stallation costs are typically less than 10% of the manufactured cost of larger fitted out modules. Often
the most highly serviced elements of the building are constructed from modular units and the remainder
of the structure is constructed conventionally.

Finishing: Modules can be finished internally using dry-lining techniques. Other methods may be
more economic if they reduce assembly line costs.

Transportation: Delivery costs depend on travel distance from the factory to the site. To avoid prob-
lems arising from road transport width restrictions, modules should not exceed 4.2 m in width or 18 m
in length. Whenever possible, modules, or parts of modules, should be sized so that they fit onto stan-
dard 20 ft (6.1 m) or 40 ft (12.2 m) long lorry trailers.

Erection: The larger and heavier the modules, the larger the crane needed to handle them. Also, the
crane will require more space in which to operate. However, large rooms can be constructed from small
modular units although additional bracing is required on the open faces of the modules to provide sta-
bility during lifting

Site logistics: The modular units are generally lifted straight from the lorry into their final position. It is
self-evident that they should arrive on site at the right time and in the right sequence. In inner cities,
road restrictions are often such that delivery and erection has to be done outside normal working hours.
However, the operation is relatively quiet and does not involve significant waste on site (i.e. lower
waste removal costs and less disruption).

Advantages of modular construction using light steel

The following general advantages may be attributed to modular construction using light steel framing:

Short build times: Typically 50-60% less than for the equivalent conventionally constructed buildings.
However, longer procurement times may be required before construction starts on site.

Superior quality: Achieved by factory-based quality control methods and standards. Steel is a reliable
quality assured material.

Economy: Efficient manufacturing processes, fixed prices and earlier completions (leading to early re-
turn on capital).

Low weight: Modular construction is about 30% of the weight of conventional masonry construction,
leading to reduced foundation costs. Modular construction is ideally suited to roof-top extensions to
avoid overloading the existing building.

Dimensional accuracy: Small tolerances can be achieved and maintained within the module interior
and in the sizing and positioning of openings. This leads to ease and accuracy of fit-out in a production

Environmentally less sensitive: Efficient factory production techniques are much less wasteful and
disruptive on site than traditional construction operations.

Seismic properties: Steel modules have excellent robustness, which usually means that they can meet
international seismic standards (with relatively minor modifications).

Relocatability: Buildings made from steel modules can easily be disassembled and modules can be
relocated to create new buildings quickly and economically. Innovative funding potential: The ability to
recover and recycle modules quickly and easily provides scope for modules to be made available to us-
ers on terms that are not possible for conventional buildings (e.g. product lease or hire purchase).

Use on infill sites: Modules are useful in small urban infill sites, particularly where it is uneconomical
to build because of problems of disturbance and site location.

Reduced site labour requirement: The erector and finishing teams who install and complete modular
buildings involve fewer workers on site than traditional buildings.

Improved manufacturing skills: The way modules are made means that work in the factory and on
site is reduced and greatly simplified, by advanced manufacturing techniques.

Safer construction: Modular construction sites have proved to be significantly safer than traditional
sites because of the more controlled operations.

Component interchangeability: Standardised components, jointing details and the use of assembly
jigs means that module components using light steel framing are readily interchangeable.

Adaptability or extendibility: Adding modules to, or removing modules from, modular buildings is
typically a very rapid and straightforward process that involves the minimum of disruption to the op-
erations of adjacent buildings.

Mobility: Modules are designed to be transported easily and can be exported (subject to sensible trans-
portation costs).

Reduced professional fees: Standardised design details for modular buildings simplify and reduce the
need for specialist design input. Accurate costs can be obtained from the manufacturer.

Design flexibility: Steel modules can be grouped vertically and horizontally with good load resistance.

The above list is not exhaustive and new advantages of using modular construction are constantly



There is an important social and economic argument for renovating concrete and masonry buildings of
the 1950s and 1960s. Modular construction possesses many advantages in terms of renovation:

New facilities are added cost-effectively.

Construction is rapid, which minimises costs and disruption.

High quality can be achieved by off-site manufacture.

Delivery of modules can be timed to suit local conditions.

The light weight of the modules does not over-load the existing building.

In some projects, it is not necessary for the occupants to move out during the renovation

The external appearance of the building is dramatically improved.

The life of the existing building is increased (because its deterioration is reduced).

It is estimated that over 20,000 high-rise buildings were constructed across the EU between 1950 and
1970. Many of these are in need of urgent attention, ranging from demolition to repair and renovation.
Section 5 of this report presents the market opportunities for renovation of these buildings in Germany,
Scandinavia and in the UK.

Opportunities for modular construction in renovation

There are considerable opportunities for use of modular construction as part of a comprehensive refur-
bishment of these buildings. The opportunities include:

Extensions to buildings to provide new toilet and bathroom units and service risers.

Enclosing existing open balconies to provide better internal environments.

New enclosed stairs and access walkways (or replacement of existing stairs).

New balconies and other features.

New external lifts.

Roof top extensions to create new apartments or communal space.

Conversion of redundant office buildings into apartments.

Often, new modular units are used as part of an over-cladding, or re-faading process in which the
thermal insulation of the existing facade is improved greatly in order to reduce the overall energy use of
the building. Light steel framing is ideally suited for over-cladding and over-roofing schemes, as ex-
plained in recent SCI publications.

The economics of these major renovation projects are such that they should pay-back over 20 to 30
years in terms of:

Reduced heating bills (due to higher insulation levels).

Increased rental charges (due to better quality environment and habitable space).

New sales revenue, such as of roof-top apartments.

Less maintenance of the existing building fabric.

Technical issues

The same generic techniques of modular construction as presented earlier may be used in major reno-
vation projects. A particular application is in the attachment of external modular units to concrete or
masonry buildings. The modular units form part of the remodelling of the building faade and reduce
the weathering or deterioration of the existing structure. The technical issues that are appropriate to the
use of modular units in this sector are as follows:

The buildings are often tall (10-20 storeys) and the modular units are stacked on top of each other.
The lower units should therefore be strengthened in order to avoid over-engineering of the modular
units at higher levels.

Overall stability is provided by attachment to the original structure. Therefore, strong points
should be identified on the existing floors or columns to avoid instability of the stack of modular

The cladding to the modular units should be compatible with the cladding to the rest of the building.

Lightweight facade materials may need to be attached by sub-frames to the modular units and also
to the existing building.

Modular units used in roof-top extensions should be supported on load- bearing walls. Care must be
taken not to overload the existing structure.

The foundations to the external modular units should be sufficient to avoid differential settlement
problems with the existing structure.

The rationale for the use of modular construction in renovation is often determined by avoidance of dis-
ruption to the occupants, who are usually not moved out during the renovation process. The economics
of modular construction improve considerably if a number of similar blocks are renovated in the same

Modular toilet and bathroom units

Highly serviced toilet and bathroom units may be stacked externally to the building and accessed either
through the existing facade or by the covered former walkways that are now part of the habitable space.
Installation of a modular toilet unit at a project in Forssa, Finland is shown in Picture 118. The units
were clad with steel cassette panels, which were insulated behind with 150 mm thick mineral wool.

The box-like appearance of the original concrete panel structure was transformed by these modular
units with new galvanised steel balconies spanning between them. Service connections between the
units were made on site. The horizontal junction between the modular units was made by site-installed
cassette panels. The completed building is shown in Picture 119.

Picture 118

Picture 119

Modular roof units

Modular roof units may be prefabricated and lifted into place, provided the crane has sufficient height
and capacity. It is apparent that this technique is most appropriate for low- and medium-rise buildings.
Units are designed to span between load-bearing walls, usually internal cross-walls. The flooring ele-
ments and cross-beams need to be sufficiently rigid to allow them to span between the cross-walls.

In a project in Copenhagen, one 8-storey and two 4-storey apartment blocks were renovated using steel
wall panels and modular units to create new communal space. One of the roof-top units being lifted into
place is shown in Picture 120. The buildings appearance was further enhanced by use of steel tubular
members to support the cantilevered roof and to protect the walkway around the new roof units.

The units were supported on three cross-beams that were supported on steel columns over the existing
concrete walls. The roof construction used stainless steel sheets on plywood and insulation. A cross-
section through the new roof construction is shown in Picture 121.

Modular stairs, lifts and balconies

In the projects noted in the previous Sections, new external stairs and lifts were provided by modular
components. Disabled access can also be provided.

Picture 120 Erection of modular units in roof-top extension in Copenhagen

Louvres Extent of modular unit

Picture 121 Cross-section through over-roofing scheme in Copenhagen

One exciting use of this technology was in the renovation of a disused water tower in Finland to provide
new facilities and to improve the appearance of the building. New balconies and external lifts were in-

Picture 122

Uses of modular units in renovation

The use of modular units in building extensions and renovation depends on the scale of the project, the
quality of the existing buildings, and the new facilities that are required. Four well-defined cases are
presented below:

New modules attached to the elevation of a building

The modules are stacked vertically and are supported on new foundations. They are tied laterally into
the existing structure for stability, but otherwise exert no significant force on it. The maximum height of
the group of modules depends on their structural design but essentially 4 to 8 storeys are feasible. Mod-
ules may be placed on two, three or four sides, as illustrated in Picture 123.

Access from the existing building to these modules is often created by forming doors in the existing
windows. The new modules may comprise bathrooms, kitchens and other facilities.

Often a new roof is added to the renovated building, primarily to conceal and waterproof the interface
between the new modules and existing building.

Picture 123 New modules attached to the elevation of a building

New modules and balconies

This case is a practical adaptation of the previous example, in which new modules extend the building
at certain locations and new balconies (often enclosed) span between the modules. In this way, the ar-
chitectural impact is much improved and high quality space is created. Picture 124 shows a representa-
tion of this form of construction, although many alternative solutions are possible.

The balconies are attached to the side of the modules and are independent of the existing building.
Again, a new roof is often added.

Picture 124 Mixed use of new modules and balconies

Roof-top extensions using modules

Large modules may be added to an existing flat roof to create high quality penthouse apartments. In this
case, the use of lightweight modular construction minimises the loads on the existing roof. Separate
modules are often required at the edge of the building for access, independent of the rest of the building.
Picture 125 shows a representation of this form of construction.

Picture 125

Importantly, in these projects with independent access, disturbance during the construction process in

Comprehensive renovation

There is often an opportunity in major renovation projects to reconfigure the whole building using many
of the techniques described above. Picture 126 shows such a project in which most of the existing fa-
cade and roof is extended. The remaining part is often over-clad to create the desired appearance.

Picture 126 New modules attached to elevation and a roof with separate access

In this form of construction, the whole building faade can be remodelled. Separate access is often re-
quired to the roof-top modules, which can be provided at the side or ends of the building, as shown


Structural issues

Light steel framing is constructed from cold formed steel sections from galvanised steel strip to EN10
147. The steel grade is designated by its yield strength, such as S280 or S350 (where the numerical
value is the yield strength in N/mm ).

The normal range of steel thicknesses used in structural applications is 1.2 to 3.2 mm. Section depths
can vary from 75 to 300 mm. A wide variety of cold formed sections may be used, mostly based on C
and Z shapes.

The structural design of these cold formed sections is covered by ENV 1993-1-3: Eurocode 3. Often
heavier sections (such as SHS) are required at corners of the modules, or at other locations, e.g. heavy
point loads or lifting points.

The key structural design issues are:

Vertical load resistance of the wall elements, which is a function primarily of the number of verti-
cally stacked modules.

Stability or resistance to horizontal forces (normally the existing building provided overall stabil-

Robustness to impact and damage and to accidental scenarios, such as impact or explosions.

Sensitivity to vibrations, especially of floors, or modules supported by a separate structure.

Lifting forces, which may cause some elements to act under reversal of loads.

Some of these aspects are investigated in this project.

The spacing of the structural elements is generally dictated by the spanning capabilities of the floor-
boards and plasterboards, and 400 or 600 mm are common dimensions between the wall and floor ele-

Building physics and performance

The building performance in service is generally related to:

Acoustic insulation between the modules.

Thermal insulation of the external walls and roof (leading to savings in energy use and cost).

Normally, excellent acoustic insulation is obtained by the double skin construction, and airborne sound
reductions of over 65 dB are achieved. Additional insulation in the form of quilt or mineral wool is of-
ten provided between the floor joists or ceiling elements. Thermal insulation is achieved by:

Insulation external to the structure (warm frame).

Insulation located between the wall studs.

In Scandinavia, perforated or slotted studs are often used which increase the thermal resistance of the
steel by a factor of over 20. Using these slotted studs, the majority of insulation can be placed between
the studs, which reduces the thickness of the wall, whilst providing excellent insulation (U-values be-
low 0.2 W/m c can be achieved).

Additional membranes can be introduced to improve the air-tightness of the modules. Tests can be car-
ried out before the modules are delivered to site.


There are two basic types of connections between the light steel framing components used within or
between modules components:

Factory-made connections, as part of a production operation.

Site-made connections.

In conventional light steel framing, wall panels, roof units, and sometimes floor panels are prefabri-
cated using the following connection techniques:

self-drilling self-tapping screws



self piercing rivets.

Welded zones should be protected later with zinc rich paint. Other connection techniques do not dam-
age the galvanised layer so no touch-up is required.

In modular construction, production issues dominate the choice of connection technique. The use of self
piercing rivets has become the preferred method because of ease of handling of the connection tool us-
ing an overhead balancing arm (Picture 127), and the relatively high strength of the fixings. However,
this technique cannot be used where access to the connection is difficult. For this reason, gusset plate
details are often used for connection of smaller members.

Site connections between floor and wall panels are often made by bolts, for simplicity and ease of lift-
ing and location. Discrete lifting points are also built into the construction, and these are often welded
directly to the framework (commonly at the corners of the modular units).

Modular units are individually braced for stability during installation. Cross-flats are generally used as
temporary bracing elements and are placed on the outside of the units. Floors are braced by the dia-
phragm action of the flooring material and do not require bracing.

Connections between modular units are usually bolted together on site. For example, vertical loads are
transferred directly through columns or walls, which are aligned by bolts. Additional bracing elements
or ties may be required later to provide overall stability or integrity of the modular units.

Picture 127

Requirements for transportation and weather-tightness

The principal requirements for transportation concern the maximum width and height for loads carried
on the highways. The maximum width normally allowed in the UK is 3.5 m for general applications but
this can be increased to 4.3 m, if access routes permit. The maximum height of the load is 4.5 m for ser-
vice roads but there may be local restrictions for clearance under older bridges, especially railway
bridges. A maximum height of 3.9 m should be used in these cases, which may require use of a low
lorry trailer.

For transportation in the UK, requirements are summarised in Picture 128, based on guidance by the
Road Hauliers Association following the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.
Similar requirements exist in other European countries. Special types of vehicles and their loads may be
up to 2.9 m wide without restriction. When the overall width of an abnormal load exceeds 5 m, prior
approval must be obtained. A mate must travel on Special types vehicles when the load is more than 3.5
m wide or more than 18.3 long, or in all cases if the length of the vehicle and trailer exceeds

25.9 m. Modular units suitable for containerisation should be less than 2.43 m high and 12.2 m long.

The modular units should be made weather-tight, particularly during the transportation phase, when
damage due to wind buffeting can be a problem. The units are generally clad in heavy duty plastic,
which remains in place during construction. However, care should be taken in the detailing of the joints
between the units, corridors, and spaces for services in order to prevent water ingress during construc-
tion. This is normally the responsibility of the module supplier.

Lifting and installation forces

Lifting and manoeuvring forces cause different internal stresses from those that exist during normal
conditions. In particular, locally high forces exist at lifting positions, and the adjacent members and
their connections generally need to be strengthened to resist these forces. Often hot rolled sections are
used at these positions, whereas light steel members are used elsewhere.

Picture 128

There are various techniques for lifting, depending on the height of the crane jib, some of which are
illustrated in Picture 129. Normally lifting is carried out from the top of the units, and the angle of the
lifting cables should be such that the horizontal component of their forces is not excessive. The opti-
mum lifting points are at 20% of the length of the unit in from both ends, so that the structure is most
stable. However, units are often lifted from their corners, which generally necessitates the use of a sepa-
rate lifting frame or pairs of cross-beams. A heavy lifting frame equal to the plan dimensions of the
units is preferred as it does not cause horizontal or shear forces in the units.

It is also possible to lift small units from their base. However, in this case, the change of angle of the
lifting cables over the top of the module may cause local damage to the upper corner of the units.

For design purposes, lifting forces should also include a dynamic component as a multiple of the self
weight of the unit.

Forces are normally distributed equally among the four lifting points, but should also include the hori-
zontal forces (due to the component of force acting in the sloping cables), as illustrated in Picture 129.

Lifting from one point Lifting from secondary frame

Picture 129

Requirements for overall stability and integrity

The requirements for overall integrity and stability are characterised by the term robustness. In prin-
ciple, in the event of failure of one element of the construction, the remaining structure should be suf-
ficiently robust to support the loads acting on it without disproportionate damage.

Modular units differ from normal construction in that the units, although robust in themselves, are
placed together so that the load path is through the walls of the units below. The possibility of the re-
moval of this load path means that the walls should be designed either to:

Span horizontally over the damaged area by acting as a deep beam or diaphragm, or

be supported in tension by the adjacent units.

This latter aspect means that the units should be tied together horizontally in addition to being tied ver-
tically. This action is illustrated in Picture 130. Manufacturers can supply details of these horizontal
attachments to satisfy robustness requirements. Typical support details providing this tying action are
given in Picture 131. A suitable construction gap between the units should allow for tolerances and

The robustness tests described in Section 11 are intended to reflect the worst case scenario where sup-
port to the modules is removed on part of their length. The three-dimensional or box action of the
modules, provides inherent resistance to these extreme actions.

Picture 130

Corner panel removed Internal panel removed

Cantilever action of modules Cantilever action

Picture 131 Typical details of corner support to modular units

Cladding materials

Two generic systems of facade construction may be considered:

Cladding that is placed entirely on site using conventional techniques.

Cladding that is completely or partially attached at the factory; infill pieces or secondary cladding
may be fixed on site.

Examples of cladding materials falling into the first category are:

Brickwork, which is supported vertically by the foundations and laterally by the structure.

Cementitious render applied to rigid insulation.

Metal panels or sheeting attached to subframes or directly to the structure.

Louvres, balconies or other features that are attached on site.

Examples of cladding that can be pre-attached to the modular units are:

Cassette panels with infill pieces that are placed over the joints between the units.

Panels with brick slips, tiles or render, in which the joints between the units are either emphasised
or concealed for architectural effect.

Placing of brickwork is a site activity that can be slow and requires its own foundation. Self-supporting
brickwork walls can be designed up to 12 m high, (4 storeys) although with use of high strength bricks,
taller walls can be constructed. Lateral support is achieved by ties cast into the brickwork and attached
to the light steel structure. The ties are placed at a minimum density of 2.5 ties/m of the facade area. In
light steel framing, this can be achieved by Chevron shaped ties similar to those used in timber frame
construction, or by attaching vertical tracks through the insulation to the steel studs. These vertical
tracks are placed at 1.2 m spacing so ties should be attached every 5 or 6 brickwork courses.

For tall buildings (more than 4 storeys high), separate vertical supports at each or alternate floor levels
may be required, and the modular units should be designed to resist these additional loads. Typical sup-
port details for brickwork are shown in Picture 132. Differential vertical movement is accommodated
by the ties.

Light cladding may be in the form of profiled sheeting, liner trays, cassette panels, composite panels,
tile hanging, or timber boarding. Profiled sheeting, liner trays and composite panels are linear elements,
whereas cassette panels are discrete square or rectangular elements of typically 600 to 1200 mm dimen-
sion. Generally, a secondary framework is required to support these cladding elements. The secondary
framework is isolated from the internal structure to avoid cold bridging. Typical support details for al-
ternative cladding types are presented in Picture 133. Cementitious render onto rigid insulation boards
may also be used. Specialist contractors can do this work on site.

Picture 132

Picture 133


In the course of this demonstration project, a number of potential renovation projects were identified
and pursued, none of which lead to demonstration projects. Nevertheless, the concept studies demon-
strate how these buildings may have been renovated, and provide a good insight into practical issues
that may be encountered.

The three projects included in these development studies are as follows:

1. Edinburgh University Renovation of 1960s student residence
2. Portsmouth University Conversion of 1960s office building to student residence
3. Tower Hamlets Housing Asso-Renovation of 1930s social housing ciation, East London
4. Rakentajantie, Helsinki Renovation of 1970s concrete apartment building

They are presented in order, describing the proposed renovation plans.

Edinburgh University

The University of Edinburgh built a series of 3 storey student residences in the late 1960s which were
also used as accommodation for the 1972 Commonwealth Games. The University wished to provide
new facilities for conferences and possibly to extend the buildings to provide new accommodation. The
building structure consists of concrete slabs on masonry cross-walls.

Three proposals for renovation were considered:

New external toilet/bathroom modules.

New internal toilet/bathrooms with external walkways.

Roof-top modules with combinations of the above options.

The University Department of Architecture was commissioned to carry out visualisations of the pro-
posed schemes. Each building is approximately 20 m long and 10 m wide with cross-walls at 3 m spac-
ing. The corridors are only 0.9 m wide. The elevation consists of wide concrete panels with verti-cally-
orientated windows. The original building form is shown in Picture 134.

The various renovation options were addressed as follows:

New external modules The external toilet/shower modules are arranged in pairs and occupy half of
the faade. New

full-height double glazed windows are installed between the modules to allow for sufficient light.
This scheme is illustrated in Picture 135. A variety of lightweight faade materials were considered.

New internal modules and external walkways New toilet/shower modules are installed in the exist-
ing corridor space to service opposite bedrooms. Access to the rooms is achieved by new stair
modules and access walkways supported by

new columns. The walkways are enclosed for weather protection. This scheme is illustrated in Pic-
ture 136

New roof-top modules and external stairs Room-sized modules may be placed on the existing roof
and supported by the cross-walls. Independent access is provided by new external stairs. The roof-
top extension may be combined with either of the previous options in a comprehensive renovation.
This scheme, with new external modules, is illustrated in Picture 137.

The schemes were presented to the University, together with a value-assessment of the major renova-
tion options, based on increased rental income and reduced maintenance. However, the University de-
cided not to proceed with the scheme and preferred to demolish and rebuild the site.

Picture 134

Picture 135

Picture 136

Picture 137

Portsmouth University

Highbury College, Portsmouth wished to renovate a 10 storey concrete framed teaching block to a stu-
dent residence. The site is in the middle of the college campus constrained by adjacent buildings. The
need to avoid significant disruption during the academic year forced the University to consider inno-
vative technologies for the proposed construction.

The 40 m x 15 m reinforced concrete building is based on a 4 m column grid. Shear walls at the ends of
the building provides for overall stability. The floor slab is 250 mm deep and is supported by 400 x 600
mm columns.

The proposed scheme for renovation of this building had the following features:

Modular bathroom and toilets internally.

Modular communal kitchen/dining areas externally.

Roof-top extension by modular units.

New lifts to the upper floor.

Internal fit-out by light steel framing.

The proposed scheme results in 145 high quality student bedrooms, including 10 larger 2 room apart-
ments, and 10 communal kitchen areas. The original faade would be over-clad and the architectural
impact of the building much improved (important for planning approval).

The scheme design for the use of modular units is presented in Pictures 138. and 139. The new modules
are slid into place between the existing columns and the cladding is attached directly to the concrete
frame. External kitchen modules and roof-top units are load bearing.

It was estimated that the use of modular construction would reduce the construction period by 9 months,
leading to 5% increased revenue and reducing the cost of re-housing the teaching staff. In the final
renovation scheme, the College decided to overclad and internally fit-out the building using light steel
framing but not to use modular construction externally or on the roof-top extension.

Picture 138

Picture 139

Tower Hamlets Housing Association, East London

A series of 1950s concrete buildings in the Minerva Estate of Tower Hamlets, East London was
planned to be renovated during 2001. These buildings are owned by the Tower Hamlets Housing As-
sociation who wished to upgrade the buildings and to provide new facilities.

Architects HTA Associates acted for the Housing Association and proposed a scheme which consisted

External toilet and bathroom modules.

Balconies spanning between the modules.

Stair and loft modules.

Roof-top apartment modules.

The toilet and bathroom modules are intended to be supported by the existing concrete balconies and
the lift/stair modules will connect to pairs of apartments of each level. The complete building will be
over-clad to a consistent style.

The new roof-top apartment will form single or double bedroom apartments around a central corridor,
with access via new stairs and lifts. The structure of the existing building was checked for its ability to
support the new loads, and the new roof-top modules would prevent deterioration and rain ingress in the
existing roof.

The elevation of the 4 storey concrete framed building is shown in Picture 140. Large cassette panels
are attached to the faade and to the modules to create a consistent appearance of the faade and roof-
top extension.

A scheme design and cost-benefit analysis was prepared but the Housing Association has not yet de-
cided to proceed with the project, which would include 8 similar buildings on the Estate.

Picture 140

Modules at Tower Hamlets over-clad faade at the Tower Hamlets project

Rakentajantie 10, Helsinki

A group of seven concrete apartment buildings with 3-6 floors, situated in Helsinki, Finland was
planned to be renovated during 2001. The buildings were constructed in 1972. The buildings are rental
apartments, owned by Kiinteist-Fennia Oy, who planned to upgrade the buildings and to provide new
facilities of smaller size.

A three storey high building EFG was chosen for preliminary design. This is illustrated in Picture 141.
In order to evaluate different possibilities of renovation methods, Arkkitehtitoimisto Mika Pivrinne
Oy proposed plans, consisting of:

facade cladding

new balconies

addition of elevators to staircases

vertical extension with two new floors.

Extension to the building was required, because of the need for smaller, one and two bedroom apart-

The planned design was used as a test platform in the development and production of construction
guidelines for the renovation project, methods for cost estimation, and development of tools for deci-
sion-making. Experiences and collected data from completed demonstration building in Hmeenlinna
was also used. The proposed extended and renovated building is illustrated in Picture 142.

A cost-benefit analysis was prepared using new tools. The results showed that proposed design was
competitive with other proposals, made of different materials and methods of construction.

Construction of the project has not started yet. Contract prices at the capital area of Finland has been on
high level and the economic trend in the field of construction has not yet shown signs of a downturn. A
decision for execution of the project has been postponed.


In Finland, Ruukki Oyj with its subsidiaries have developed, designed and brought to the market new
steel products, building components and construction systems such as pre-fabricated modular balconies,
elevator shafts, light steel wall panel systems and modular bathrooms etc. These systems are appropri-
ate also to building renovation.

At the start of this demonstration project, various potential renovation projects were evaluated. The pro-
ject in Hmeenlinna, consisting of two buildings, was selected for the demonstration purposes, even
though they were student apartments. They were found to offer the most potential, because of the possi-
bility to use different types of new steel products like balconies, elevator shafts and a roof top extension
due to existing unused construction capacity at site.

The buildings are situated in Hmeenlinna, in the middle of surrounding suburban area. Buildings were
constructed in 1976 -78 according to then existing requirements and standards. The owner of these
buildings, Hmeenlinnan Seudun Opiskelija-asuntosti, a specialist provider of student ac-
commodation at Hmeenlinna area, had experienced poor degree of utilisation of these buildings during
the recent years, due to poor quality design. Four bedroom cellular room arrangements for single stu-
dents and large 2 and 3 bedroom apartments for family use were not considered to be attractive in the
future. It was decided that the buildings should be renovated in order to fulfil better the needs of modern

Basic design

The project started with a market survey. The results showed clearly the need of own single bedroom
accommodation with their own facilities and service for single students and smaller, 2 bedroom units
for family students. The most interesting point was the wiliness of the occupants to pay higher rent if
new balconies were attached.

According to these results and economic calculations, the owner made the decision to proceed with the
project, and started the design phase. Architect Hannu Elfving made several studies with different lo-
cation of the new apartments on the site. The final design was selected, which consisted of a roof-top
extension and new facilities.

The renovation consisted of total renovation of existing building parts and new apartment plans. In or-
der to utilise the capacity of the site, a decision was made to build fourth floor as roof top extension.
New smaller apartments could be provided. The fourth floor also introduced the need for the elevator.
The new balcony-access type stair system was adapted in order to give direct access to new apartments
in old part of the building. Modular balconies were included in the plan according to the result of the
marketing survey.

Insinritoimisto AT-Yhtit Oy made the structural design of the whole project. Finnmap Consulting
Oy made the structural designs of the steel components.

Hmeenlinna Institute of Technology participated in the project in the pre-construction trials and the in-
service performance monitoring, in addition to VTT Building Technology. The renovation work took
place between May 1998 and February 1999, when the buildings were handed over to the owner. After
completion of the project, all apartments, both new and renovated, have been occupied to a good degree
of utilisation.

Building form

The original three-storey high buildings consist of a site cast concrete wall and floor frame and precast
concrete sandwich element wall panels, as shown in Picture 141. The buildings were designed ac-
cording to the standards and requirements of early 1970s and represented cost efficient architectural
and structural design of the time.

Picture 141

The load bearing capacity of the existing frame was calculated to support the extra weight of the new
steel frame for the fourth floor apartments. It was planned to construct 5 new single bedroom and 3 two
bedroom apartments consisting of 11 modules on the roof of the first building and 12 identical one bed-
room modules on top of the second building.

Living areas in the existing building frame, were converted to two or three bedroom apartments, by di-
viding the existing cellular large apartments into smaller two bedroom apartments, where access was
provided by balconies. Existing staircase areas were re-designed to give access to new apartments and
the rest of staircases were converted to bathrooms and saunas in larger apartments.

The existing roof was not considered to be strong enough to support additional loads. Floors in highest
level were supported on the existing concrete wall lines.

Renovation and construction

The various modular components are illustrated in Picture 142, and the structural design of the walls of
the roof-top extension is shown in Picture 143.

Picture 142

Picture 143

The main contractor for the project was Rakennustoimisto A.Palmberg Oy. The construction started on
site in May 1998 and was completed in 10 months later. The work was carried out simultaneously both
inside and outside of buildings, starting from assembly of balcony-type steel staircase and continuing to
the elevator shaft and balconies.

Due to the development phase of the building system, the additional floors were assembled on site from
separate components consisting of a tubular steel frame, pre-fabricated large panel wall elements, steel
roof trusses and floor structures. The floor structures were also assembled on site.

The construction programme is shown in Table 5, which defines the construction and installation of the
steel component modules as part of the overall programme. The total construction time in first building
was only 6 months.

Picture 144 shows a wall panel being lifted into place. In the finished building, the wall panels were
clad with steel cassettes. The roofing was also pre-fabricated in panel form.

The completed building is shown in Picture 146.

Activity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Demolition work xxxx xxxx

Staircase xx xx xx xx
Balconies Elevetor shaft
xx xx xx xx

Fourth fourth floor xxxxx xx xx xxxx

Complementary activities Comple-
tion of the project

Construction and renovation programme

Table 5

Picture 144

Picture 145

Picture 146

Post-construction tests

The following tests were performed on the completed building:

Thermal insulation of the new building envelop.

IR-photography in apartments.

Airtightness tests.

Hygrothermal behaviour of building envelop.

Acoustic insulation between modules.


Economic Benefits

Modular construction is a process in which the modules were pre-fabricated in a factory, transported to
the construction site, and installed by crane. The principal advantages are speed of construction, and
improved quality control and reliability. Comparisons with conventional construction projects show that
the overall construction periods are reduced by 40 to 60 %, leading to considerable savings in site man-
agement, productivity, and to earlier return on the clients investment.

Furthermore, the economy of scale of production increases with the number of modules that are of simi-
lar size in a given project, or over a range of projects. This is dependent on the scale of the project, or
on repeatability of design e.g. in hotels.

The value-benefits of using modular construction in renovation applications may be summarised as fol-

Speed of installation

Earlier return on the client investment e.g. rental income

Reduction of site preliminaries (by up to 60%)

Reduced costs of re-housing the existing occupants

Predictability of programme (low risk of over-runs)

Construction operation

Fewer construction operations and site labour

Deliveries to site are reduced, and can be timed

to suit local traffic

Noise and disruption are reduced

Less storage of materials and equipment

Less wastage and disposal costs

Less dependence on weather

Economy of scale

Greater investment in manufacture leads to

economy in production

Standardisation of components and interfaces reduces cost

Involvement of specialist sub-contractors in supply leads to economy

Efficient ordering of materials leads to economy


Pre-installation trials reduce problems on site

Stricter quality control procedures in manufacture

Modules are more robust due to requirements for transportation (reduces cracking etc)

Often modular construction is the only solution in difficult sites or in roof-top extensions, where units
can be easily lifted into place. Modules are lightweight (weighing 2-3 tonnes) and do not overload the
existing structure, which is important in renovation applications.

These value-benefits can lead to savings of 15-20% relative to conventional on site construction. A de-
cision making tool was developed during this project (see Section 8.3).

Environmental Benefits

The environmental benefits are similar to those of the construction operation, and derive from the
shorter construction period, and efficient manufacturing which lessens the impact on the local envi-
ronment. These benefits may be summarised as:

Construction operation

Reduced site activities and noise

Rapid installation and less disruption

Less waste created and removal of materials

Efficient use of materials and resourcesBenefits in use

Good acoustic insulation

Improved quality, e.g. reduced shrinkage

Potentially modules can be replaced and re-used

Decision-making tools

A decision-making tool was developed in this project. This excel-spreadsheet-based tool provides cli-
ents a methodology of determining the economic benefits of modular construction.

Clients in individual projects are usually housing cooperatives, which are classified as one-time cli-
ents. Decision-making concerning construction of additional floors is a laborious process. Transparent
information is needed when different forms of construction are being studied so that the advantages and
disadvantages of different alternatives can be objectively weighed.

The objective of this part of the project was to produce a tool for economic evaluation with the help of
Excel spreadsheet application workbooks. The technical use of the application requires only familiarity
with the basic principles of a spreadsheet application.

The general principle of cost estimation is that the system should allow more precise estimations to be
made later. The procedure should comply with the preciseness of the plans during implementation of

the various phases of the project. It should also be possible to make more precise plans as far as risk-
sensitive or unknown factors are concerned.

Description of the application

The application is intended for making economic choices of components, made using light steel. With
the help of the application, it is possible to estimate construction costs during the investment phase, fu-
ture maintenance costs, and also to make a life-span cost estimate, if necessary. The cost framework of
the concept design phase is defined with the help of cost standards. So far there is little empirical infor-
mation available with which to verify the reliability of the cost standards, so the cost information of the
prototype is only approximate. In planning a project, an estimate is made according to a normal build-
ing cost estimates.

The build costs are presented in such a way that the cost of other parts of the renovation project and
construction of additional floors in the building can be separated. This allows decision-making with
additional information compared to conventional cost planning practice. The economic result is pre-
sented with the help of a target rent calculation. The degree of return on the investment and the degree
of return on additional construction were selected as indicators of profitability.

Alternative methods of implementation are compared with the help of value analysis. To be able to use
the value analysis, the various plans need to be comparable. The advantageousness refers to the ratio
between values and costs. Cost calculations in the different alternatives must be made using the same
principles also when estimating advantageousness.

The estimation of maintenance costs is made on the basis of actual average costs in the Helsinki area. In
practice, as the plans become more detailed maintenance costs need to be estimated more precisely, at
least as far as heat energy and domestic water expenses are concerned. The characteristic consumption
of a building usually decreases after renovation; for example, meters in each apartment lead to lower
water consumption.

In practice it is necessary to use an average value strategy in building investments. The future trend in
land price development near population centers is known. On the other hand, forecasting development
in the rent market and tenants values and capacity to pay is based on assumptions.

Due to the complexity of decision-making, the application tool emphasizes the significance of value
analysis and estimation of advantageousness. The application does not, however, contain ready-made
tables for probability calculations. Instead, the application is so open that an educated decision-maker is
able to compile these factors into the application independently.

Testing the application

The application was tested in project, where a new floor made of a steel frame was designed as part of
the renovation of a concrete multi-storey apartment building constructed in the 1970s. In addition to the
renovation, the objective of the client was to increase the number of apartments in the building by creat-
ing additional floors. This would make it expedient to install lifts in the three-storey buildings, for ex-
ample. In practice, there are various alternatives for constructing an additional storey on an existing
building; steel, concrete, or composite construction.

Because of the construction of the additional stories, the roof structure had to be rebuilt, as the existing
roof was of poor quality. According to a condition assessment, the concrete exterior walls were in sat-
isfactory condition, but the balcony structures, more extensive repairs were necessary.

Because the renovation affects all the buildings of the housing cooperative, the client had already ex-
amined the costs of the concrete alternative. A cost estimate was made for the entire project (11,728
m ), so the estimate cannot be compared to the steel alternative, which examines only building EFG.
The plans differ from each other in their architecture. In the steel alternative, the new floors in building
2 2
EFG have a larger floor area (steel alternative 1047 m / concrete alternative 1004 m ).
In the clients cost estimate the product-specific costs at the 10/2000 cost level are 4757 FIM/m (VAT
= 0 %) and 5803 FIM/m (VAT = 22 %). The cost effects of renovation and investment in new floors
cannot be differentiated from the estimate.

2 2
In the steel alternative, the renovation costs were 4358 FIM/m (730 /m ) (VAT = 0 %) and the cost of
2 2
the additional stories and construction of the lift was 10459 FIM/m (1750 /m ) (VAT = 0 %). The de-
gree of profit of the investment, which refers to the ratio between net profit and investment, is 2.5 %
(vacancy rate 0 %) and the degree of profit of the invested capital for the entire project is 3.8 % (VAT =
0 %). In calculating the degrees of profit, the current capital value of the building was also taken into

Test results and conclusions

It is economically advantageous to construct the additional floors in steel. The building is located in a
popular area, traffic connections are reasonably good and sufficient services are available. With steel
construction, the outward appearance of the building can be improved significantly, which is reflected
in the desirability of the apartments.

The work is planned in such a way that the entire building will be emptied for the duration of the reno-
vation and construction of the additional floor. The objective was to complete the project in six months.
Hence the schedule was tight and was calculated only on the basis of the construction of the additional
floor. The advantage of steel construction is that only the bathrooms of the apartments require time for
drying out, so they will not delay the completion.

The project can also be implemented by repairing one floor at a time. This would extend the construc-
tion time, the residents would be disturbed by noise and dust and safety risks can not be avoided. Re-
pairing one floor at a time would lengthen the construction time by 50 %, meaning the entire project
would take nine months. By constructing one floor at a time, the clients rent loss during the repairs
would be around 430,000 FIM less. However, because the construction time stretches by three months,
the contractors expenses are higher, which increases time-related expenses. In the Plan and Implement
contract mode, renovating the entire empty building was the less expensive and less risky alternative.

Steel construction can utilize preparatory work done in the factory. In the optimal case, installation
work on-site is limited to connecting the product components to each other and to the existing building.
However, this requires careful production planning and cooperation between the parties participating in
the contracting chain. It is most likely sensible to apply plan-and-implement contracting in develop-
ment, also, the responsibility for coordinating operation is left to the contractor.



Building renovation is growing across the whole of Europe, both east and west. One of the most urgent
needs of building renovation is related to the ageing of the population and the need to improve accessi-
bility to existing buildings is growing (see Picture 147). Most existing buildings are 3-5 stories high,
and were constructed without elevators.

Picture 147

Rautaruukki has developed in close co-operation with small local companies and Finnish elevator pro-
ducer Kone Oy, different types of modular solutions of elevator shaft suitable for building renovation.
New elevators can be assembled on site from modular components or pre-assembled as a package,
which can be hoisted into place as one piece consisting of complete shaft and elevator case.

Basic solutions for existing lift types were developed prior to this demonstration project. These solu-
tions were combinations of separate modular components, such as frame, wall panels, and elevators
with rails and machinery. In the course of the project, development continued with new "saddle-pack"-
type elevator and integration rail and shaft structures. This work is described in Section 0.

Design and development

There are several factors to be considered when choosing applications for additional elevators such as
local building codes rules for accessibility, demands for escapeways and emergency exits. The size of
the existing staircase gives an indicator to selection of the type of elevator and solution. The most lim
iting factor with regards to space for elevator shafts that are erected inside staircases comes from the
safety demands of the fire regulations.

In Finland, the minimum width for stairs varies depending on the local authority. The range is between
1200 to 700 mm for buildings of three or four storeys. According to Finnish building code, 900 mm is

acceptable for stair width if there are any alternative escape routes, such as balconies. Otherwise it is
required that they must be 1200 mm in width.

The common width of stairwells varies between 2350 and 2550 mm in multi-storey dwelling houses
built between the 1960s and the 1980s. According to both local fire authority stipulations and the width
of the existing stairwell there is up to 1150 mm space for the internal elevator shaft. In most cases,
around 1000 mm of space is available. This is the space to position an 800 mm wide elevator cabin with
walls, all the necessary wiring and the supporting structure with shaft cladding.

Modular elevator shaft solutions

New elevator shafts can be added to an existing building in at least three different ways: internally, ex-
ternally or as a mixed solution of an internal elevator shaft with additional external staircase. They are
described as follows:

Narrow elevator shaft

In this application a new elevator is placed between existing flights of stairs. Stair flights are narrowed
to give space for the new elevator, which is constructed of pre-fabricated parts and assembled at site or
delivered as one piece, and placed from the top (see Picture 148). An example is shown in Picture 149.

Picture 148

Picture 149

External elevator shaft

In this application, a new elevator is placed outside an existing staircase. Stair flights need not be nar-
rowed to give space for elevator. The elevator shaft can be manufactured in the factory and be trans-
ported to the building site as one piece together with the elevator case. Examples of this form of con-
struction are shown in Picture 150 and Picture 151.

Picture 150 External elevator shaft, Helsinki, Finland

Picture 151 Lifting of shaft module

External staircase and internal elevator

In this application, a new elevator is placed outside an existing staircase. In this solution the elevator
shaft can be manufactured in the factory. Good examples of this form of construction are illustrated in
Picture 152 and Picture 153.

Picture 152 Steel frame of modular elevator shaft and examples of external staircase, internal elevator shaft

Picture 153 External staircases, Hmeenlinna, Finland

Frame and structures

Modular elevator shafts use a steel frame made of open profiles or tubular sections. Shafts are clad with
various steel products such as sandwich panels, cassettes, large panels etc., depending on the ar-
chitecture of renovation project. Lift rails and technical components are connected to the frame as well
as to the wall panels. Elevator can be either hydraulic or mechanic. The steel shaft can be transported as
one piece for 3 or 4 storey buildings. Taller shafts are divided and assembled at site.

New developments

Latest development work has been concentrated on internal shafts with the aim of full integration of the
elevator and shaft. A new cold-formed profile has been developed, with which, shaft erection is more
like machinery assembly than traditional construction. Together with the new structure, a new assem-
bling technologies was developed to ensure that the accuracy demands are possible to fulfil. Part of this
work has now been completed and the product will be soon on the market.

The bent open sections edge forms the base construction for the guide rail of the elevator. This is nec-
essary, in order to achieve a smallest distance between the guide rails. This bending also offers more
possibilities for placing the large amount of the necessary electrical wiring inside the space between two
flanges. The upper flange forms the base construction for the elevator guide rail, and it is fixed by
brackets to the lower flange to stabilise the structure. Bolts on the shoulders located inside the upper
profiles fix two separate beams, which carry the machinery. These shoulders are welded to the open
sections in the workshop. This means that, in contrast to the current method, the traction pack instead of
the guide rails supports all the loads. T


Manufacturing tolerances are strict for the profile, in order to ensure the proper operation of the ele-
vator. Meeting the operation tolerances. The profile is manufactured and perforated with the possibility
of adjusting nearly everything on the assembly jig. The final result of this trimming can offer reliable
and quicker installation on the construction site. The joints between profiles are also important for the
operation of the elevator, as the groove joints have to be completely straight. A special fixing inside the
groove ensures this.

Picture 154

Conclusions on Elevator Development

This development work has shown that a steel lift shaft does not only create the support for a machine,
but it could also be integrated as a part of the machine. To meet all machine-manufacturing tolerances,
some special tools have also been invented. In order to avoid usual teething troubles, all the different
types of elevator shaft have been built up as full-scale prototypes. This naturally increased the devel-
opment costs, but it was necessary to verify that the product is ready for the market. In addition, all the
necessary information has been collected as Assembly Manual. This new solution saves up to 15 %
construction work compared to separate shaft structure. Construction works takes less than one week
and only the interface between the shaft and building must be engineered.


The radiator network is the component of a buildings mechanical engineering system with the longest
service life. In most cases the pipelines of old buildings are in faultless condition. The greatest im-
provement needs are connected with the renovation of the systems functional components, and with the
balancing of the system. The heating and air-conditioning system should always be balanced when heat
insulation in the buildings facade is increased.

The first signs of a need for renovation are usually increased energy consumption and the occupants
complaints about internal temperatures, disturbing noises or lack of balancing possibilities. The condi-
tion of the system should always be assessed to determine the renovation plans and the timing of the
renovation activities.

The heating system can be renewed using two different methods. The traditional method is to replace
the pipes and the radiators with new units corresponding to the original. Another method is to take ad-
vantage of new technology, eg. by using a centralized riser pipe outside the building in a new balcony
or bathroom module.

There are also other methods:

a fresh air radiator for draughtless intake of ventilation air in the accommodation rooms
a centralized riser pipe eg. in the stairwell, with energy distribution lines to the apartments equipped
with individual energy measurement systems
floor heating individually controlled in each apartment
concealed installation of downward radiating heating units in the intermediate floor
advanced surface installation technique.

Basic balancing

Significant energy savings will be achieved by a basic balancing of the heating system. Not only will
the consumption of heating energy be reduced, but also the energy consumption of the pump in the
heating network. Several basic balancing methods have been developed since the beginning of the
1970s. The most recent method introduced (Motiva-1) is computational (not based on temperature
measurements), which means the adjustment can be performed at any time of the year, excluding ex-
tremely low temperatures. The basic balancing and any associated replacement of valves can be per-
formed independent of any other renovation works.

Improvement of sound engineering

The radiator network may cause noise problems, such as:

noise from radiator valves

audible pump noise

transmission of noise from one room to another via radiator network.

The noise emitted by radiator valves is due to an excessive pressure. This problem is usually pro-
nounced in the spring and in the autumn when the thermostats close. The problem can be eliminated by
adjusting the network pressure to a correct level. This can take place centrally from the heat distribution
room, using eg. a pressure-regulated pump, or in a decentralized manner by mounting pressure control
valves in the riser lines.

Pump noise can be reduced by replacing the pump or connecting it to the pipes with flexible tubing of
metal construction. Flexible rubber tubing should not be used since oxygen penetrates the tubing and
causes corrosion.

Noise can usually be transmitted from one apartment to another via radiators of steel sheet construction,
or via pipelines. Noise transmission via the radiator network can be reduced by installing sound-
insulating radiator valves and connectors. Replacing a single-panel steel sheet radiator with a more rigid
double-panel radiator may also improve sound insulation.

The problems of noise transmission from one room to another can be eliminated by mounting the radia-
tor riser lines centrally in the new building additions or stairwells, and running the heating lines hori-
zontally from the riser lines to the radiators (Fig. 8.9). The use of oxygen diffusion tight plastic piping
will also stop the transmission of sounds via the radiator network

Plumbing renovation

The extent of plumbing renovation projects varies a lot. Although the water supply and sewer systems
are quite simple systems as such, they contain a high number of components that require renovation at
different stages of their life cycles. Plumbing renovation may vary from replacement of old taps and
fittings to construction of a completely new bathroom.

Replacement of water supply and sewer lines is required when the following problems are encountered:

repeated pipeline leaks that result in corrosion of the pipes

the pipelines are so badly contaminated that repeated clogging occurs

a general renovation project is implemented in the building

insurances will not cover damages caused by pipeline leaks due to the old age of the pipes and re-
peated leaks.

In plumbing renovation projects the renewal of drains is always the most difficult task. In the housing
stock built during the era of prefabricated construction the drains were located in the ceiling of the
apartment on the floor below. Any renovation work has to be carried out from the bathroom of the
apartment below. If the toilet or the shower unit is to be moved to a new location, the drain becomes an
unavoidable problem: it can only be accessed from another occupants apartment.

Ventilation system renovation

Renovation of ventilation systems almost always involves improvement of room air. Good and healthy
living conditions can be restored and the typical draught and noise problems eliminated by renovating
the ventilation system.

Of all mechanical services, the ventilation system is the one for which great expectations are specified
and which is at the top of the improvement list in renovation projects. Factors making renovation neces-
sary include, among others:

improvement of structural tightness (adding of wall insulation, vapour barriers, windows)

closing of old replacement air vents

releases from interior materials and coatings

internal heat loads

useless old ducts

necessity of heat recovery

deficient maintenance

changes in expectations (living comfort, industrial safety)

alterations of spaces.

Tightness of air ducts

The tightness of air ducts is an important factor in the renovation of ventilation systems. In exhaust
ducts, negative pressure is normally used inside the building. This is accomplished by installing the
ducts in the attic or on the roof. In renovation projects it is often necessary to install the exhaust fan in
the room space to facilitate permanent or cyclic increase in the ventilation effect. This creates a positive
pressure in the exhaust ducts, which means special attention has to be paid to their tightness. A common
practice is to use welded steel pipe in the exhaust ducts instead of the normal spiral seamed ducts.

There are different methods available for improvement of the tightness of existing ducts:

installation of a spiral seamed duct inside an existing masonry flue

application of a thin ceramic mass layer on the inside surface of the duct using slip casting tech-

leading a lining hose made of laminated aluminium foil into the duct and sealing it against the duct
walls with over-pressure.

Cleaning of air ducts

Cleaning of the air-conditioning ducts and basic adjustment of the air flows are essential tasks in air-
conditioning renovation. In dwellings, various impurities accumulate in the air-conditioning ducts,
mainly room dust as well as grease and soot from cooking, and cigarette smoke. The ducts may also
contain impurities that have been there since the ducts were first built.

Cleaning is required to ensure a healthy and comfortable living atmosphere as well as fire safety. In or-
der to avoid operating problems of the ventilation system, cleaning and adjustments should be carried
out on a regular basis. In apartment buildings the normal maintenance interval is about ten years. More
frequent cleaning is needed in many cases, and this is usually determined in the condition assessment. If
necessary, the cleanness of the ducts can be inspected separately, by video filming the inside of the

Elimination of noise

Noise problems may include fan noises from the air ducts or an excessive noise level of the exhaust air
nozzles or grilles. Noise may also be transmitted from one room or apartment to another. The basic
cause of noise problems is insufficient sound attenuation or incorrect equipment types or locations.

Transmission of noise from one apartment to another via the air ducts can be best eliminated by using
separate ducts. This can be easily implemented in connection with eg. building addition projects, by
means of prefabricated modules. As this is not possible in all cases, the ducts running between the
apartments can alternatively be rebuilt in compliance with sound engineering criteria.

Natural ventilation

Natural ventilation is still a useful alternative when choosing a ventilation system. Unfortunately, in
Finland expertise on the basics of natural ventilation has disappeared almost completely. As a result
people tend to think that natural ventilation means no ventilation.

Natural ventilation can meet the requirements of Class 3 of Indoor air classification, provided it is ap-
propriately constructed and operated. Proper functioning of natural ventilation requires a sufficient in-
take of fresh air, and it must also be possible to adjust ventilation. Noise problems have to be mini-
mized, draught eliminated and healthy air quality ensured.

Natural ventilation can be made more efficient by installing a fresh air radiator or an intake air terminal
equipped with a fan in the bedrooms or separate ventilation in each room. In addition, separate exhaust
fans can be installed in the kitchen and in bathrooms. Exhaust ventilation can be improved by eg. a
wind-assisted exhaust air rotor. In most buildings natural ventilation can be converted into mechanical
exhaust ventilation.

When the equipment is installed and operated, it is important to ensure that the total ventilation system
in the building operates correctly. Very often installation of a single new unit will cause problems else-
where in the building, eg. changes in pressure relations or flow directions and draught problems.

Mechanical ventilation

The most important action involved in the renovation of mechanical ventilation is the management of
exhaust air flows. For this purpose the exhaust grilles need to be replaced by new adjustable grilles in
the kitchen, bathroom, toilet and walk-in wardrobe in every apartment. Adjustability means that the ex-
haust grilles have two positions: normal exhaust and power exhaust.

This makes it possible for the occupants to adjust exhaust ventilation separately in each room. The ven-
tilation effect is improved, and considerable energy savings can be achieved when power exhaust is
only used as necessary.

In addition, air intake grilles are installed on the external walls of the rooms. The grilles are furnished
with sound insulation and a filter, if required. Other renovation tasks may include:

cleaning exhaust ducts

checking the adjustments of exhaust fans

balancing air flows.

Future renovation projects

Renovation of building services is based on the needs of today and the near future. It should be remem-
bered, however, that some of the work will have to be carried out again already in maybe ten years
time. The needs of the occupants and the users will have changed by them, and some systems will need
to be renewed. Technological progress is another factor that will make renewal of some of the systems
necessary, to meet the requirements of that time. This applies particularly to data communications.

The future requirements should be considered already in the renovation projects of today, and solutions
that will make new changes in the near future impossible or very difficult, should be avoided.

In renovation of building services, the following future trends are already obvious:

individual water and energy measurement systems in each apartment

all ventilation and air-conditioning systems equipped with heat recovery

utilization of new energy forms (sun, wind)

dual water systems for service water and sewage

sorting of waste

own compost systems for each building

materials selected on the basis of environmental friendliness and health aspects

rapid progress of data systems.