blog Grano Magazine media release

A project bank was an essential tool in the construction of Ratina

Shopping centre Ratina, which opened its doors in Tampere in April, is the largest building in the Pirkanmaa region, both in terms of floor area and parking spaces. The construction of the shopping centre started in spring 2015, but its planning was commenced way back in 2008. The project made use of Grano’s SokoPro project bank from the very beginning.

In addition to the building constructed between the eastern end of Ratina Stadium and Tampere bus station, the shopping centre encompasses two renovated buildings originally built in the 1930s: Funkkis-Ratina and Ranta-Ratina. To the residents of Tampere, they might be better known as Autotuonti and Vuoltsu. The construction of the shopping centre was commissioned by property investment company Sponda Plc.

“Ratina is a unique project: a large shopping centre built in a central spot in the centre of a major city. These types of building projects have become exceedingly rare in Finland. We invested nearly 250 million euros in shopping centre Ratina, making it our largest individual project.” says Project Manager Rauno Kulmala from Sponda.

Shopping centre Ratina was a unique project for construction consultancy AINS Group as well. The company’s duties in the project included tendering planners and architect firms, commissioning and supervising construction, as well as the structural planning of the project’s repair and new construction. Project Manager Jarmo Mäkelä from AINS Group describes the project not only as a major undertaking, but a tremendous opportunity as well.

“From our perspective, this was a huge project. Even so, it was carried out based on a traditional procurement model, with contractors chosen based on tendering. The necessary permit procedures and planning commenced as early as 2008.”

A logical and tailored folder structure ensures the findability of information

In major construction projects, the amount of different assets needed during planning and construction is vast. Shopping centre Ratina was planned with 53,000 square metres of retail and service premises, leased by over 140 individual shops. In other words, the project involved a lot of variables.

“A project bank is an essential tool for carrying out projects of this magnitude, and we recognised the need for one back in the very first meetings of the planning group. SokoPro was chosen based on tendering, and put into use immediately.” says Mäkelä.

The project bank is used to keep information about schedules, contracts, deliveries, drawings and site journals up to date.

“The project banks is first and foremost a method and tool for daily information exchange. It contains the source data for all the different areas of planning. For example, uploading architectural drawings to the project banks allowed the HVAC planner to immediately get to work based on them. Additionally, we commenced building information modelling at a very early stage in the project. The file sizes of the models are so large that the only way to move them is to use a project bank.” states Mäkelä.

Sponda used SokoPro almost daily throughout the project.

“The project bank’s folder structure must be logical for all parties so that everyone can find what they need. The project bank provided us with constant access to up-to-date architectural and building services engineering plans, regardless of whether we were carrying out implementation of rent planning.” states Kulmala.

Developed in collaboration with customers

Large amounts of information do not need to equal large headaches. In addition to having good search functions, a project bank should be planned with the aim of offering a flexible and functional system from the get go.

“This means creating a file structure ideal for the customer in question and defining file naming conventions and other such nuances. The project bank should also be flexible, so that practices can be clarified as the project progresses. SokoPro’s benefits are first and foremost the result of the system’s secure and fast information exchange, which contributes to reducing costs and speeding up project completion.” says Key Account Manager Aripekka Härkönen from Grano.

Grano has developed SokoPro is collaboration with customers. The project bank’s information security has also been ensured, as evident by the information security certificate granted to the system by information security consultancy Nixu Corporation.

“Our customers are a major asset for us. The feedback and suggestions received from them have had a major influence on the development of SokoPro, for which we are very grateful.” Härkönen says.

Jani Kohtanen