Staying ahead of the flood

When the river overflowed its banks, Moelven Trysil was ready and was able to save a great deal. This in spite of the fact that the water level rose by 5 metres.

In May 2014, the Trysil River overflowed its banks and put much of the factory underwater.

"Stopping the water wasn't an option, but we managed to save everything that it was possible to save," explain Runar Pettersen, director and Harald Enger, workshop manager and head of the industrial protection team.

The water kept rising hour after hour, by 38 cm a day at the worst, until it was far up the walls of the building. But a well-prepared emergency response plan meant that they kept control of the situation. After the sawmill was hit by the great flood of 1995, they measured the entire area so that they knew exactly what to do as the water rose.

"We were two days ahead of the water all the time," Pettersen and Enger explain.

The very first thing to do was to put up a measuring pole beside the river.

"We check the water level continuously and adapt what we do accordingly. No flood is going to surprise us," they maintain.

Continuous monitoring

The response plan is detailed and is based on the water level. While the status is green, the saws and planes run as normal. At status yellow, they consider what measures need to be taken from day to day. At red, production must stop.

The measuring device was set up on 16 May and from then on the water level was checked continuously, even on a national holiday like 17 May.

Three days later, on 20 May, the response plan went over to yellow and every working day started with a meeting to review action. New measures were commenced for every centimetre the water rose.

"We moved all the material packs, the stores were emptied out, we laid out timber booms and transported out chippings and everything that was moveable. We also saved all the electric motors that could be unscrewed and moved to a dry area," Harald Enger explains.

Shut down for three weeks

The sawmill director kept a diary throughout the flood period, describing water level, which areas were affected and what measures were taken. He kept records that were distributed by e-mail and handled the national and local press. In fact it was Moelven Trysil that first warned the press about the flood in the Trysil river system.

Production was stopped for three and a half weeks in all, and the damage and lost production was valued at NOK 10.5 million.

"The insurance company was happy that we managed to save so much. Both damage and lost production were covered in full," he explains.

New residential concept on the way

Moelven Byggmodul AS is developing a new concept of modular apartment buildings, and has secured further cutting-edge competence in building homes.

In November 2014, Moelven Byggmodul AS appointed Erik Langmo as project developer. He was previously general manager of Hetlandhus AS, part of BWG Homes ASA. Langmo qualified in building engineering and business administration and has long and extensive experience of residential building.

"With us he will be working on new projects in general and building up a customer and project portfolio for Moelven Byggmodul, based in Oslo. We are focusing on modular apartment buildings and we are in the process of producing a new concept in this area," says Lars Brede Aandstad, director of Moelven Byggmodul AS.

Erik Langmo is looking forward to getting started on project development:
"We will be working on modular 3-4 storey apartment buildings, student accommodation and hotel buildings. Moelven Byggmodul is well known for buildings of this type today, but we are taking the concept further along a real industrial course," says Langmo.

Langmo has great faith in standardised residential modules, such as Moelven offers to both building clients and contractors.

"Moelven Byggmodul is not just a supplier of wooden modules. We also supply our buildings as turnkey contracts to clients who want this," Langmo concludes.

Moelven Byggmodul's new Oslo office is located at Ensjøveien 3 together with Moelven Elektro AS and Moelven Modus AS.

"This means that Moelven has co-located a strong professional and technical presence in Oslo, with skilled professionals and project planning expertise in prefabricated modular buildings, interior solutions and electrical installation," says Langmo.

Royal opening of Träkvista School

The King and Queen of Sweden brought radiance to the event when Träkvista School was opened in autumn 2014. This is one of six school buildings being built by Moelven Byggmodul AB in the municipality of Ekerö.

The opening of the school coincided with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia making a tour of the municipality in which they live – so it was natural for them to participate.

"This is a traditional modular building, but in terms of area it is one of the biggest we have built," explains Jan Larsson, who is sales manager of Moelven Byggmodul AB in Torsby. In 2013, the company entered into a framework agreement with the municipality of Ekerö to supply six buildings for three different schools, one of which is Träkvista.

Effective design

The new building, which is on one level, has an area of 1,900 square metres and consists of eleven classrooms and several group rooms. This replaces an old school building that has now been demolished.

"In all there are about 135 modules involved in the framework agreement with the municipality. The school in Träkvista consists of 45 of these," says Larsson, who explains that Moelven Byggmodul has a great deal of expertise in design and building this type of building effectively.

"The special thing about schools is that they have water-based radiator heating, which demands advanced ventilation and a good sound environment. In this school, this means that the air quality is good and even throughout for the 240 pupils and staff who are here every day. This can present a challenge at the design stage, but not once we get to the building and assembly itself."

Maria Sköld-Wulf, who is the project manager for school building in Ekerö, underlines that they are very happy with both the building and the cooperation with Moelven Byggmodul AB.

"We have very close contact with our contact person at the company, who has been very good at putting our ideas into practice," she says.

Time and money

Maria Sköld-Wulf explains that only Moelven managed to match their exacting requirements for sound environment, floor flexibility, window quality and other factors.

"The choice of a modular building for the school was mostly down to time and money. Building time was significantly shorter and the costs were lower than if the school had been built on site. At the same time, this was a new experience for us, and factory building is different from building on site, in that all the decisions have to be taken before production starts – right down to the details."

Skagerhuset was Stockholm's building of the year 2014

The modular apartment building with cedar wood façades went right to the top of the architectural competition organised by the City of Stockholm.

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There were ten finalists in the voting and Skagershuset came out on top. The jury praised the living cedar wood façades, high level of detail and interplay between the new and existing building.

The building consists of 33 apartments of various sizes, from two to five bedrooms, and unlike the surrounding buildings it was constructed in modules in the factory.

"The building differs from the beautiful brick buildings that surround it, but you still get the feeling that it has always been there. It blends in with the area well," says David Öberg, marketing manager of  Moelven Byggmodul AB, which supplied the modules.

The building was designed by Björn Ahrenby of OWC Arkitekter in Stockholm, who is very pleased with the end result.

"It is exactly as we hoped. The beautiful cedar wood that we used is in the same colour scale as the brick buildings around it," he says.

Björn Ahrenby explains that he and his colleagues had no previous experience with Moelven's modular system. They found that the requirements for the architect's role that are set by factory-built modules are different from those of buildings constructed on site.

"But when you get into it and understand the system, using the possibilities it gives you to create attractive homes is an exciting challenge," Björn Ahrenby says.

Facts about Skagerhuset

  • Module-built apartments in Årsta
  • Nominated for building of the year by the publication Byggindustrin
  • 33 apartments of various sizes: 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom
  • 4 floors plus top floor
  • Car parking on basement level
  • Façade in untreated cedar wood
  • Architects: OWC Arkitekter AB
  • Client: Åke Sundvall Projekt AB
  • Supplier: Moelven Byggmodul AB

Secured contract for five wooden bridges

Between now and September 2015, Moelven Limtre is supplying five new wooden bridges to cross the E6 in the north of Gudbrandsdalen. The order is the second largest in the company's history.

In May 2014, Moelven Limtre AS was awarded a contract five five new laminated wood bridges - the biggest contract, in money terms, since the delivery of laminated wooden girders to the main airport at Gardermoen. This historic contract is for three arched bridges, one slab bridge and one truss bridge. The three arched bridges will be identical.

"This is the first time we will be delivering three bridges that are completely identical, which we think is interesting. Achieving the same arch form is also a good job, because the three places where the bridges will stand are not quite identical," says Åge Holmestad, director of Moelven Limtre.

He explains that the trend towards wooden bridges has become much stronger over the last 2 to 3 years.

"We are making more bridges than ever. In the last twelve months alone, we have delivered 10 large bridges," says Holmestad, who believes that the wooden bridge boom is due to good technical solutions.

"In the autumn, we will be delivering a bridge with a free span of 89 metres. This will be on highway 3 in Alvdal and will be the world's longest free span on a wooden bridge."

Wooden bridges are also a permanent solution.

"Yes, we know that a wooden bridge will last at least 100 years," explains the director.

These are the bridges that Moelven is building: 

  • Kongsli Bridge. Arched bridge over the E6. Volume: 220 m³
  • Tårud Bridge. Arched bridge over the E6. Volume: 220 m³
  • Giverhaugen Bridge. Arched bridge over the E6. Volume: 220 m³
  • Øla Bridge. Slab bridge over the river Øla. Volume: 145 m³
  • Perkolo Bridge. Truss bridge over the E6. Volume: 200 m³

Safety hero of the year

Following unrelenting efforts for several years and with several specific measures on his record, Per Stolt was nominated by colleagues at Moelven Modus AB.

As a part of Moelven's efforts to establish a safe working environment and a good culture for safety, it was announced that a safety hero of the year award was to be presented for 2014. All 52 businesses could nominate one employee.

Per Stolt, fitter and chief safety representative at Moelven Modus AB in Stockholm, was nominated by several colleagues, and there were numerous reasons: He has contributed in making improvement reporting accessible to fitters without daily access to the reporting portal, established structured cooperation on working environment issues with the management and work managers, forwarded demands to principals concerning conditions at building sites, and guided safety measures and pursued their implementation. Not least, in cooperation with a colleague he has contributed in developing a glass lift, which improves the fitters' working conditions radically with regard to heavy lifting. He also participates in training and implementation of this aid in the entire organization.

"Per Stolt was elected among several strong candidates," says HR consultant Anna Lene Leganger, who mentions that the corporate management acted as jury.

The safety hero himself is pleased with the award, but is most concerned with which new measures that may contribute to further improvements.

"My first thought when I was informed of the result of the vote was actually how we could use the prize money to ensure that as many as possible could have access to the glass lift," he says.

The money will thus be used to buy an additional lift and for training in the use of this.

Stolt appreciates having an employer that looks out for its employees.

"It was a thrill to win the award, and I'm grateful that my work has given me the opportunity to work on issues related to safety and the working environment."

Module no. 80,000 delivered

Moelven has been producing building modules for more than 40 years. In June 2014, the company reached an impressive milestone, when module no. 80,000 was erected into position in a housing project that was completed in record time.

"We chose to start building modules because they provide huge reductions in construction time. As a result, houses are sold more quickly and the financial expenses are lower," explains Ole Johan Krog, Managing Director of Bakke AS, a home building corporation in Aurskog, supplying the markets in Romerike and Follo. 

Bakke AS is traditionally a supplier for small homes, based on element production in the factory and assembly at the building site, and where the work involved at the building site is divided up for teams from the different disciplines, who complete their assignments one after the other. 

"With the production of building modules, we have been able to take this system several steps further. This is our very first project involving building modules, and we are very pleased with developments so far," confirms Ole Johan Krog. 

The project covers 60 apartments in six buildings. The apartments are either 2-room, 3-room or 4-room properties.

Short building time

Bakke AS is one of an ever-increasing number of companies to choose this building method. On an annual basis, Moelven's building modules generate turnover of NOK 1.2 billion in Norway and Sweden, a figure that includes temporary or mobile homes in addition to permanent buildings, such as the housing project in Jessheim. 

"This system provides numerous benefits for the right type of project," confirms Lars Brede Aandstad of Moelven Byggmodul AS. 

"The most important factor for our customer on this project was to complete building work as quickly as possible. We started production of the building modules at our factory in February, and were able to hand over the first of a total of six buildings on the Friday before the Easter holidays. As you can see, we were able to meet their expectations and more," confirms Lars Brede Aandstad, before going on to explain that this delivery time is not out of the ordinary: 

"We have decades of experience within this method of building, and an industrial logistics system that allows us to offer both short delivery time and high quality." 

Morten Kristiansen appointed as acting CEO

Morten Kristiansen has been appointed as acting CEO of Moelven Industrier ASA subsequent to the resignation of former CEO Hans Rindal in mid September on agreement with the Board of Directors.

Morten Kristiansen is fully qualified as a civil engineer and has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Norwegian Business School (BI). 

He worked for Moelven from 1981 to 1994 then returned to the company and has been there since 2000. Before his recent appointment, he held the position of Managing Director of Moelven Industrier with responsibility for the Forest division.

In the autumn of 2014, Moelven's corporate management recommended a plan of action to the Board of Directors that laid out the direction and specified the most important target areas for the Group over the next five years.

"My job is to help Moelven develop so that the company can improve its competitive strengths. We will be focusing strongly on the implementation of a number of measures. My impression is that all the employees at Moelven fully support these measures, and we are already seeing signs of improvement in several of the Group companies," confirms the acting CEO.

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