The municipality of Korsholm invests in new technology to prevent moisture damage in its properties

Just like many other municipalities, Korsholm, on the west coast of Finland, struggles with constant leaks in its property portfolio. As part of its preventive work, the municipality is now investing in smart IoT solutions to tackle leaks and moisture problems. The municipality has already installed VILPE Sense humidity control systems in three moisture-affected buildings. They are also considering installing the VILPE Sense system in the crawl space and leak detectors in the municipality’s new educational campus. With these measures, they expect to save on unplanned renovations.

Approaching spring and melting snow on the roof mean busy days for the employees at the property department in the municipality of Korsholm. “When spring comes, the melting snow starts to drip in. Repairing and preventing leaks is our everyday routine,” says project engineer Johan Klemets at the property department.

The municipality has its own employed property caretakers responsible for managing several properties in specific areas. The municipality uses a fault reporting system where users of a building, such as teachers or librarians, can report leaks or other property-related issues. This means that the users of a property have a relatively significant responsibility to detect leaks and report them to the property department, which is not always optimal. According to Klemets, property maintenance is an ongoing development work aimed at reducing the number of unplanned renovations. As part of this work, the municipality has decided to invest in the latest IoT technology to facilitate property management.

Smart systems for preventing moisture damage

In late 2019, VILPE contacted the property department in the municipality of Korsholm. They had developed a new demand-controlled ventilation system for structures and were looking for test subjects. The smart sensors of the VILPE Sense system monitor the moisture levels in the roof structures. If the system detects elevated values, a roof fan starts ventilating the roof to dry it. The system ventilates on-demand and, for example, does not operate during rainy weather. Since the system is connected to a cloud service, users can also monitor the moisture levels on the roof in real-time. The system alerts if leaks are detected.

“We have had problems with these three buildings. For some reason, the ventilation has been poor on the roof, and we also know that the moisture levels are far too high. The VILPE Sense moisture management system was installed on the roofs in 2021. Now the system essentially takes care of itself, and we can see in the cloud service that the situation is significantly better,” says Klemets.

Klemets believes that smart solutions are the future for healthier property portfolios. They are now considering installing VILPE Sense to monitor and ventilate problematic crawl spaces.

Smart monitoring – an alternative for the historical property investment

Over the next few years, the municipality will build an educational campus in the Smedsby district. The educational campus will accommodate everything from early childhood education to high school and is the largest construction project in Korsholm ever. The municipality wish to install VILPE Sense leak detectors on the roof. The VILPE Sense leak detector consists of sensors mounted in the roof or walls. With them, leaks can be located even on larger surfaces, thereby limiting damage.

Klemets emphasizes that many damages are caused by human factors and that the smart solutions are part of the development work for healthier property portfolios.

“We would like to install the sensors in the educational campus as a preventive measure. All tools are useful in preventing leaks. Smart systems help detect problems in time, but they do not address the root causes of the problems. Everyone who accesses the roof must be alert,” says Klemets.

Early interventions lead to significant savings in the long run. A large part of Korsholm’s property portfolio consists of buildings constructed in the 1980s. At that time, the municipality was growing rapidly and needed many new properties. They have also expanded older houses, and according to Klemets, this has caused problems when mixing new and old structures. However, Klemets does not agree that moisture problems and leaks only affect older buildings.

“The newer ones are obviously in better condition, and the old ones were built according to the standards of that time. But in my experience, leaks and moisture damage affect all types of buildings,” says Klemets.

His colleague, property manager Ronny Haglund, agrees.

“In new construction projects, investing in demand-driven technology and proactively implementing preventive maintenance from day one is of utmost importance, as wear and tear on new properties can occur rapidly. It is generally most cost-effective to make significant efforts at the beginning. Continuous monitoring and demand-driven control of technology help save costs throughout the lifespan of the building,” says Haglund.