Monitoring the Structural Health of the Helsinki Energy Office Building

Koherent2024-05-173 minutes

The Helsinki Energy Office Building in downtown Helsinki was designed by the world-famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Built in 1973, the building has office premises as well as main electricity and heat-generation control rooms, and an electrical substation. With a large ongoing construction project next door, the real estate management professionals at Granlund turned to Koherent for measuring the movements of the building.

The Helsinki Energy Office Building is owned by The City of Helsinki, which also is the contractor of the neighboring Kamppi health and well-being center and its surroundings to be completed by the end of the year 2027 with an estimated total cost of 77 million euros.

“Detonations can be risky for structures nearby. The City of Helsinki wanted to get information about possible damages caused by the new construction project to The Helsinki Energy Office Building”, says CEO Kari Leppänen at Koherent. “We deliver data and peace of mind to the building owner and to our customers.”
Granlund is responsible for property management, maintenance, and repair of the building. The Helsinki Energy Office Building has already sustained damage during past constructions.

“We started cooperation with Koherent in this project because Koherent’s method is very accurate and enables long-term monitoring”, underlines Research Manager Esko Sistonen at Granlund.

Accurate measurements even through concrete walls

Koherent’s grid sensors were deployed both indoors and outdoors in selected locations in December 2023 for monitoring the displacements already detected in the foundations, as well as new movements. The equipment will be used until the detonations are finished at the neighboring construction site at the end of 2024.

“Our solution can measure realtive 3D positions and distances between different parts of the building reliably, with sub-millimeter-accuracy. In the near future, we will be able to measure even through reinforced concrete walls”, says Koherent’s Leppänen. “We offer our customers competitive advantages compared with other technologies on the market. Our solution is designed for continuous and reliable monitoring of actual shifts and formation of fractures, rather than measuring the vibration from nearby detonations.”

Data for project managers and for research

Granlund’s professionals can monitor the structures in the building basement in real-time through Koherent's data API. The continuous and timestamped measurement data can also be stored and used later for analysis.

“No critical changes have been observed so far at the selected displacement measurement points”, says Granlund’s Sistonen. “We have also made research observations of how much the tram weight passing by influences the measuring point distances as temporary building depression. This is useful information for us and our customer. This highly accurate and real-time measurement helps Granlund offer better building management services to its customers.”

“We provide Granlund and the building owner reliable information of actual structural changes. The day and the exact time can be verified. Detailed information is needed to prevent disputes by whose actions the transformations of the structures have taken place”, comments Leppänen.

Koherent's Grid – The benefits in a nutshell

  • Providing peace of mind to the building owner by monitoring real estate structural movements possibly caused by a nearby construction site.

  • Measuring structural damages directly and enabling damage attributing with unforeseen accuracy.

  • Immediate response and lifetime deformation analysis.

  • Low cost and quick deployment.