Sweco operates amidst the bustle of the growing Estonian economy and aims for the top
One of the busiest business concentrations is located in the new Ülemiste district of Tallinn. Large international companies and Estonia’s growing start-up scene alike have adopted Ülemiste as their base of operations. The buzz in the area dubbed Smart City is inspiring – new restaurants have been opened to serve the people working in the numerous offices and high-rises, and an old industrial building in its heart has been renovated to serve as a fitness centre.
Sweco Estonia’s office is also at the heart of this actively growing economy. The location is excellent: a new tram line runs through the area and Tallinn’s international airport is situated but a walking distance away.
“It’s a true pleasure to be involved in the development of the Ülemiste area and Tallinn Airport. The airport’s runways were refurbished in 2016–2017 to meet the needs of growing traffic volumes, and Sweco’s designers and project managers have been involved in the project,” says Toomas Rapp. Rapp leads Sweco’s project management and supervision operations in Estonia (link to announcement: http://www.sweco.fi/en/news/press/toomas-rapp-new-managing-director-of-sweco-est-ou/).
“Sweco also had a hand in the design and engineering of the restaurant constructed in the old red-brick warehouse in front of our office and the fitness centre opened next to it. Our own office is a building that was constructed under the supervision of our experts and eventually earned the golden LEED certificate,” Rapp adds.
Estonia’s economy is growing fast – new hospitals, schools, housing, hotels and industrial facilities are being planned and constructed at a fast clip
At the moment, the rate of construction is brisk in Estonia and across the rest of Northern Europe.
“Thanks to the economic upturn, this is a good time to find partners and carry out projects in Estonia. The business culture here is development-friendly and open, and the general social attitude encourages everyone to try and do new things. Estonia is also happy to accept any international investments,” Jyrki Rautamäki, Managing Director of International Operations at Sweco Finland, says.
Rautamäki points out that the route between Finland and Estonia is convenient and fast, which further supports cooperation.
“You can get from Helsinki to Tallinn in the time that it takes to travel to Tampere or Turku. The two-hour trip can even be shortened in the future with the construction of a train link under the Gulf of Finland: Experts from Sweco’s Finnish and Estonian offices participated in the feasibility study for the Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel (link to news article: http://www.sweco.fi/en/news/press/sweco-participated-in-feasibility-study-of-helsinki-tallinn-tunnel-project/). In addition to the geographical proximity, the cultural connection provides organic support to the cooperation. There will surely be more joint engineering and development projects in the future, and it will surely be possible to utilise the competence of our experts on both sides of the Gulf of Finland and across the entire Sweco Group.”
In Estonia, Sweco has been involved in numerous hospital projects, such as Tartu University Hospital and North Estonia Medical Centre, which is a large hospital and wellness campus in Tallinn. In addition to this, numerous new schools are currently being constructed and renovated. Much like in Finland, comprehensive schools in Estonia are transitioning towards phenomenon-based learning, which requires a new perspective on the design of school buildings as well as open spaces that support creative learning, for example.
“One of the most interesting project management and supervision projects is the Estonian Embassy in Washington, D.C. It is a valuable century-old building, and the process of procuring basic renovation services for it is currently under way,” Rapp says.
In Estonia, design and consultation in the construction field has a long tradition of small businesses, as the culture in the country is supportive of entrepreneurship. Sweco’s strengths in Estonia are its wider range of specialised services under one roof and capability of ensuring the comprehensive implementation of larger projects.
“As an international company, Sweco is well-positioned to operate in the growing Estonian market. We are highly proficient in a wide range of areas and can access special expertise from Sweco countries across Europe, if necessary. We have the ability to support customers with large and challenging projects that require fitting together a variety of design areas and providing project management services,” Rapp says.
Estonia’s advantage is its digitalising society, in addition sustainable development and energy efficiency are in key role in construction and the development of smart cities
Sustainable development and energy efficiency have emerged as construction trends in Estonia. The legislative requirements for energy efficiency will also be tightened for public buildings at the beginning of 2019 and a year later for private buildings.
“Sweco’s expertise in the design of energy-efficient construction is strong. The Nordic countries have focused on these aspects for quite some time, which means that we can now utilise this knowledge in Estonia, too. The country is in a frenzy of housing construction, and energy efficiency requirements are particularly important in these projects,” Rapp reflects.
Digitalisation is another trend that will shape construction and engineering in the near future. Estonia’s active network of start-up companies has pushed the country’s level of digitalisation higher than in many other European countries, and the utilisation of digital tools in construction-related project management, engineering and supervision is sure to increase in Estonia, too.
“Virtual reality and augmented reality will also gain ground in Estonia as engineering and project management tools. In this regard, Sweco has an excellent opportunity to push the digitalisation of the field forward,” Jyrki Rautamäki says.
Smart city development combines digitalisation with energy-efficient construction. Toomas Rapp believes that Sweco has an excellent opportunity to position itself as a forerunner in this regard.
“The emergence of smart cities also spells an increase in energy efficiency. We need to be involved in the development of energy-efficient future cities, and I believe that building engineering services will become a growing field. Our customers are already keeping a close eye on these developments, and since Estonians tend to be open-minded in terms of the strides enabled by digitalisation, we at Sweco need to serve as forerunners to support social development,” Rapp says in summary.
Sweco Estonia is part of Sweco Finland Oy
- Comprises two companies, Sweco EST OÜ and Sweco Projekt AS
- Provides a wide range of environmental and industrial engineering services as well as project management and supervision services
- 80 employees
- Offices in Tallinn and Tartu