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Soltauer Ring

Soltauer Ring
Germany , Hamburg

Soltauer Ring - how large housing estates are being made fit for the future 

A lack of building space and resource consumption have led to a rethink in the construction industry: "Preservation instead of demolition" is the new maxim and with it the question: How can existing buildings be treated in a more sustainable way and how can they continue to be used in a contemporary way? Post-war buildings in particular characterise the picture in major cities such as Hamburg. Around half of the housing stock in the Hanseatic city was newly built after the Second World War between the 1950s and 1970s.

Soltauer Ring
The industrially prefabricated sanitary walls could be placed outside the flats, as the bathrooms face the corridor.

Prefabrication enables special solutions

The refurbishment of two identical 15-storey residential buildings on Soltauer Ring in Harburg-Wilstorf in the south of Hamburg, designed by architect Albrecht Sander in 1962, is an impressive example of how such buildings can be made fit for the future. In the mid-1980s, they were given a comprehensive facade refurbishment with thermal insulation, followed in the past two years by a new drinking water network, renewed supply and disposal pipes, renovated corridors and refurbished sanitary areas.
The bathrooms of a total of 216 flats were renovated while the residents were able to stay in their own four walls. This was possible because those responsible decided to use industrially prefabricated sanitary walls and shafts from TECEsystem. These not only speed up the construction process and minimise the noise and time impact on the tenants.

They also enable special technical solutions such as this measure, which would not have been possible in conventional construction. "There was no alternative to their use. Otherwise, we would not have been able to carry out this refurbishment so quickly and in an inhabited state," says Nils Willmer, operations manager of the plumbing company BUS Sanitärtechnik GmbH.

Installation of the prefabricated shafts in the corridor

"It was something special for everyone involved," says Willmer, the specialist tradesman responsible. Not only because of the size of the buildings and the refurbishment in an inhabited state, but also because of the unusual solution of placing the industrially prefabricated sanitary walls in the access corridors. A completely new pipe network was installed above them. "That was an obvious choice in this case and was only possible because the kitchen and bathrooms face the corridor," he explains. 

Soltauer Ring
Close-up of the blow-in insulation: The filling with mineral insulation wool is part of the integrated fire protection and sound insulation solution in the Soltauer Ring.
Soltauer Ring
View of the residential buildings on Soltauer Ring: the bathrooms of a total of 216 flats in two buildings were modernised while they were occupied.

Using a core drill, openings were first created from the sanitary areas to the corridor so that the supply lines could be installed. The industrially prefabricated shafts were then installed in the corridors. The floor-to-ceiling system was designed in advance so that the elements were supplied by TECE in two parts and could therefore be easily transported to the respective floors in the lifts. After installation, the risers were connected floor by floor, the bathrooms were renovated and the pipes were connected to the new shafts. In the final step, the supply shafts were planked and, after completion, filled with mineral blown-in insulation for fire and noise protection. "I'm a big fan of this solution, in which everything is integrated," says Willmer. 

Reduction of personnel and time 

Sometimes floor by floor, sometimes from flat to flat - and not as is usually the case with refurbishments in sections - tradesmen worked their way forward. "We saved a lot of time compared to conventional construction methods," reports specialised tradesman Willmer. "We saved four people, we were able to install the registers with four people. Ideally, we managed two floors a day with this team," he reports.
The specialist tradesman has nothing but good things to say about his first refurbishment with TECEsystem: "The registers are very good quality. They also look really good in the finished refurbished hallway," explains Willmer. Further TECE products were also used in the refurbishment of the bathrooms inside with pre-wall modules and flush plates. TECEsystem? "Gladly again. Also because we received very good support from TECE throughout the entire renovation process."

Pictures: Matthias Ibeler 

Soltauer Ring