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Construction, repair and maintenance works

Construction, repair and maintenance works

Funktsionalistliku hoone arhitektuursed detailid.

Regular maintenance and a prudent mindset help to extend the life cycle of the building in use and significantly reduce the footprint of construction activities.

If your building is located in a scenic district or has been designated a valuable object, it is important to know which activities have to be coordinated or need a permit.

When planning construction activities or performing maintenance works, you must follow these guidelines:
  • A written permit for maintenance or construction works is not required if they do not alter the building’s facade (e.g. maintenance painting, restoration of windows). Maintenance work involves consistent activities for the upkeep of the building and its auxiliary building or fence. Repair work includes activities for improving the condition of the building, wherein the appearance, structures, volumes or details of the building or its fence are not altered and in the case of which original materials are used. If it is unknown as to whether the planned work is considered maintenance or repair work, consult the chief specialist of scenic districts.
  • Works that do not require a notice or permit but alter the facade of the building should be coordinated in advance with the chief specialist of the respective scenic district. Depending on the scope and complexity of the planned work, it might be necessary to prepare an action plan and coordinate it with the specialist.
  • Reconstruction is a construction activity which significantly alters the characteristics of the existing building. The reconstruction of a building usually involves changing its boundary structures (isolating the walls, replacing the roof with a different material); replacing its bearing and stiffening structures; installing, replacing or destroying its technical system (these activities change the characteristics of the building, including its appearance, such as the installation of a heat pump or a gas appliance); restoring the partially or completely destroyed building, etc. Reconstruction activities are regulated on the basis of the Building Code (Annex 1 – The Obligation to Submit the Building Notice or Building Design Documentation and to Apply for Building Permit).
  • If the owner of the building wishes to expand the valuable building by more than 33%, they must apply for design criteria. The application must include an illustrative sketch of the expansion that fits the scenic district. Usually, the extension and the original building must be clearly distinguishable yet also form a single architectural unit and comply with the conditions of protection and use of scenic districts.
  • The construction project must be legible, free of discrepancies and comprehensible and unambiguous to a specialist. The project must be prepared according to regulation ‘Requirements for building design documentation’ (RT I, 18.07.2015, 7). In justified cases, the Tallinn Urban Planning Department has the right to request additional materials and studies (paint analysis, archival sketches and survey plans).
  • As part of the preliminary project, please submit the sketches of the following connecting nodes and details in 1:20 or 1:10 scale: eaves nodes (main volume, dormer), socle nodes (and underground nodes for insulation projects), cross-section of the window’s location in the external wall (main volume, dormer), cross-section of the node between the stone stairway, socle and external wall; lining details and profiles to be restored, new windows, new front doors with a colour sample, awnings, etc. The location and appearance of appliances and ventilation openings must be marked in the sketches. The external elevation drawings must be printed in colour and include the colour codes of the facades and the name of the colour card.
  • As part of the sketch project, please submit the following annexes: an explanatory letter that describes all of the planned construction works and alterations, different views of the building (if the building has a firewall, the sketch must also include the neighbouring building), sections, floor plans (sketches must include the existing and preserved areas of the building, areas that will be demolished and extended, constructions and heights), the building’s layout plan, the photos portraying the building’s existing facades (if the building has a firewall, the sketch must also include the neighbouring building), survey plans and previous construction projects.
  • The replacement of individual parts of an existing building with equivalent ones is not considered reconstruction. If double frame windows are replaced with triple-glazed windows, the building’s characteristics change, in which case the activity performed is defined as reconstruction, which requires a building notice and a construction project.
  • If the restoration benefit is requested for maintenance and/or construction works, the restoration of the building must be based on a coordinated action plan (or detailed work sketches if necessary) or construction project. The action plan is generally prepared by the person who conducts the work. It must include the goal of the performed work, the timeline of the plan, the method and scope of the work performed, a description of materials used for the work, technical sketches and illustrative material.
  • In contrast to buildings under heritage protection, heritage protection competence (or a licence) is not required from specialists performing work on buildings in scenic districts. However, we recommend hiring specialists who have previous experience with historical and valuable buildings.
  • For larger buildings, it is advised to contact the chief specialist of the respective district and book an on-site inspection. The restoration of an old building is a collaborative project between the owner, the designer or architect and the specialists in this field.
  • An expert report must be prepared to assess the condition of buildings in poor technical condition. Based on the results of the expertise, the Tallinn Urban Planning Department will determine the possibility of demolition or large-scale reconstruction. The Tallinn Urban Planning Department has the right to order an additional report, if necessary. The specialist preparing the report should have a heritage activity licence. The expert report on the technical condition of the building’s boundary and bearing structures must assess the damages, describe their causes and indicate their location and extent on the sketch (assessment of the condition of boundary and bearing structures). Should it be necessary, specific additional studies (such as a mycological study) must be ordered and the constructions must be opened. The directions from where the pictures attached to the report were taken must be included in the sketches. The information submitted for the report must be easy to understand as well as refer and relate other materials (text, sketches, photos). The report must determine whether it is possible to reconstruct the building and under what conditions, what the condition of boundary and bearing structures is, what damage the building has, the extent and nature of this damage and what caused the damage. It must also outline the structures that can be preserved and those that need to be replaced. The expert must give an impartial assessment on whether it is possible to reconstruct the building and under what conditions.
  • Before planning construction activities, it is important to examine the building’s documentation:
Tallinn Urban Planning Archive (construction plans)
Tallinn City Archive (tree survey plans)
The National Archives of Tallinn

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Ülemine joonis:  Funktsionalistliku hoone arhitektuursed detailid. Allikas: Kultuuriväärtuste Amet

Last modified 30.04.2024