Harmet is an Estonian offsite construction company that was founded in 1992 and employs some 800 people across five factories in Estonia and Finland. Harmet’s main products are wooden modular houses and worksite facilities. The use of Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) products enables the fast, light and green construction of wooden modules.
Harmet is one of the region’s biggest producers and suppliers, with an export share of more than 90%, mainly in the Scandinavian countries, but currently expanding into the UK. The company’s biggest clients are Cramo for construction site huts and Skanska’s BoKlok for modular homes. Harmet uses Kerto LVL products in many parts of the wooden modules and elements they produce – for example, in flooring and for supporting walls and partitions.
Besides the product’s properties and quality that result in faster production, Harmet is satisfied with its cooperation with Metsä Wood, and values Metsä Wood’s technical expertise and product understanding, which help manufacturers develop their business.
“We have a very good and close relationship with Metsä Wood. They’re always ready to offer advice and help to offsite manufacturers like us,” says Ivari Hiiemäe, Pre-Production Manager at Harmet. “It also helps a lot that Metsä Wood customises some products for us – for example, cutting large cross-sections into specific lengths before delivery.”
Design versatility and faster production
The technical properties of Kerto LVL products allow comparable structural properties with less material, enabling the manufacture of the modules at high speed.
Harmet’s newest and most modern factory in Kumna in Estonia manufactures more than 3,600 modules a year, corresponding to approximately 130,000 m2 of living space. At such production speeds, it is essential that both product quality and delivery reliability are top-notch.
“Longer spans with stable dimensions, and the possibility to build lighter and more versatile designs, are definite benefits from the production perspective,” says Hiiemäe about using Kerto LVL.
Offsite production, onsite assembly
Construction is increasingly moving from building sites to offsite manufacturing. Industrially standardised products increase the quality and efficiency of construction. The turnaround time on building sites becomes shorter, and errors are reduced.
One of the company’s biggest clients is BoKlok, a concept jointly developed by construction company Skanska and IKEA. BoKlok houses are affordable blocks of flats and terraced houses, delivered to the customer as a turnkey solution. Harmet manufactures the prefabricated modules, which come complete with doors and windows, power and water systems, ready-fitted bathrooms and kitchens.