Why build just good enough, when you can build like “for yourself”

Guntis Duks, Business Director Baltic countries, Ruukki
Oct 10, 2017
Is this enough for my building? Are those legislative requirements up to the standards that I require for my building? Building owners and users should be asking these questions.

Any building should be built according to national legislation and local demands. It should ensure that the intended building is functional, efficient and safe. Or, at least it gives minimum demands to meet those criteria. One can discuss the level of those minimum criteria in each country, as we can see that some demands vary a lot between neighbouring countries. But, this is the topic I would leave up to governing bodies of the industry in each country.

When people build their private houses there is a saying – build like for yourself – What does it mean?

Usually it means paying really careful attention to all the details. Starting from the planning stage - carefully assessing the purpose of the building and the needs of its users so that it would be functional and convenient to use.

This often is forgotten, there are examples of private houses that completely disrespect the lifestyle of its inhabitants, for example too small living rooms for a stay-at-home family, or missing utility rooms for an active outdoor family. Or concert halls, that have state-of-the-art acoustic qualities, but getting in and out and around the building is so complicated that stellar stage performance is quickly forgotten when wondering around how to get to the café or get your coat before you leave.

Choosing quality building materials

Another important topic is choosing the building materials.  Here, the typical compromise is price over performance. Here are countless examples – you can install simple doors that serve the purpose – they shelter you from the outside. In the same time you could chose doors that would have ergonomic handles, superior safety, and excellent sound insulation, and so on. Or you can choose sandwich panels for you hall that not just form a wall, but help to improve the inner climate, save energy and even look good!

One important thing here to remember is that all buildings will be used for many years. Not only low building costs and decent quality during building commissioning is important, but also high quality performance for its users over the lifetime of the building.

How to choose good builders and plan building schedule

Next phase to question your choices is when choosing builders and building schedules. Far too often we see buildings built by lowest price tender winners who promise to complete the building in unrealistic, yet attractive terms. Lowest price winners are often inexperienced with the particular building type: they will not know the trade secrets and smallest details of building a hotel, or a power plant. During the building process it leads to compromises in quality of executed works, installed materials, chosen solutions etc.

Careful evaluation of builder experience during the tender stage can help to choose experienced players that can deliver to the expectations. For building owners it is very attractive to agree on very fast building times as you could move into your new house more quickly, or your shop would start to generate income faster if you open it faster. But if construction times are too short, it often leads to chaos that again is compromising the quality. There is not enough time for builders to plan their works, execute them carefully.

Quality construction for both public and commercial buildings

So, the “building for yourself” type of approach can be applied not only in building your own house, but also building public and commercial building.

Let’s examine a few examples and start with public buildings first. There are hundreds and hundreds of public buildings being built every year. And, hopefully, most of them are well planned and high quality buildings. But only few become landmarks. They are the ones that not only fit their purpose and serve well, but are admired by people, visited by thousands – buildings that you can find in TripAdvisor when considering what places to visit in the particular area. Most of them are historical buildings, but not exclusively. Even today, there are new buildings built that stand out from the crowd; that are built as legacy. As an example, Ruukki has had a privilege to be part of construction of European Solidarity center in Gdańsk, Poland, the new landmark of the city. 

Commercial buildings most often are as much public as any public building. Also there, striving for exceptional architecture would be appreciated. Even though most often people choose to visit a certain shop because of its location, assortment, service and price level, some part of that decision-making is based also on the appearance of the building. Appearance that is welcoming, pleasant to look at, nice to come back to.  Other thing is how you feel inside the building. Subtle and harmonic interior materials and lighting, natural and well regulated indoor climate. Those are the small things that can be influenced by choosing to go the “build for yourself” way, and that makes the difference.

Don’t just build good enough, make the difference and build like “for yourself”!


Guntis Duks
Business Director Baltic countries, Ruukki

Contact Guntis on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/guntis-duks-1bab6738
Email: firstname.lastname@ruukki.com

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