The Demolition of Housing Blocks in Paamiut

Renewal of the Townscape

The population of Paamiut has been steadily declining from 1996 to 2006. Around 513 people have left the town and several homes built from 1969-72 are now empty, which altogether leaves a sad and depressing sight in an otherwise beautiful area. Because of this The Government of Greenland has assigned the needed funds for the demolitions of these empty housing blocks in Paamiut. By doing this it will allow more light into the streets and make sure the town is not characterised by large, empty buildings. Until now, it has resulted in the demolition of five housing blocks, and further five blocks with 16-24 apartments is planned.

With high ambitions for changes and improvements, Orbicon Arctic was from the start of the project responsible for design engineering, tendering process, and construction management. Furthermore, Orbicon Arctic has planned and conducted extensive studies of the local conditions, as well as environmental screenings of the housing blocks. By doing this, we offer our customers safe demolitions with a high level of security, which is essential when working with large concrete buildings.  It is important that the surrounding residential blocks are protected against falling construction elements and dust pollution, as well as correct handling of environmentally harmful construction materials, such as asbestos, PCB, and lead-based paint from the demolished materials.

Klaus Haurum

Electrical contractor

Challenges Require Widespread Collaboration

The demolition has given Paamiut a boost and created a more vibrant townscape with more light and airspace. In this process, the collaboration with the client and the citizens has been crucial for the project to succeed. We have thus used several resources to ensure good communication and cooperation with all parties involved. This has undeniably contributed to the good results.

A distinctive challenge in the project was the project management of the demolition of one particular block, Block O, due to its location close to a kindergarten and with a distance of only 1.5 metres from an inhabited neighbouring block. These two challenges required a number of extraordinary procedures and involvement of various parties. For safety reasons, Orbicon Arctic planned the process in collaboration with the property owners, the municipality that operates the kindergarten, and the local fire authority because of changes in the escape routes.

Orbicon Arctic started the demolition work in 2014 and it is expected to be finished in 2019.

Paamiut is a small Greenlandic town that experienced strong growth in the early 1970s due to extensive cod fishing. Since then, the decline in cod fishing caused the town’s fish factory to close in the late 90s. The factory later reopened but only in a reduced size.

Project
Client
The Government of Greenland, represented by LH Siunnersorti
Location
Paamiut
Scale
10 housing blocks of 1459 m2
Years
2014-2019
Partners
None
Competencies
Role
Client consultant