Refurbishment – with 100% approval

Brunswick’s Illerstraße is located in the south-west of the former Hanseatic city on the Oker river. Deutsche Wohnen refurbished a 1960s apartment block comprising four floors and 48 apartments here last year – from the ground floor all the way up to the roof and with the full support of the tenants.

Refurbishment and maintenance work involves noise, dust and other inconveniences. Then there is modernisation cost allocation, which can potentially push rents up. These circumstances sometimes result in criticism of and resistance to measures that are prudent and necessary. This is the case in particular with extensive projects such as the one realised in Illerstraße in 2019. The apartments’ tenants nonetheless unanimously agreed to the measures. Ivo Bönicke, Commercial Project Management team leader at Deutsche Wohnen Management GmbH, explains where this high level of approval comes from: “I think the tenants understand that they will benefit from a wise combination of energy efficiency enhancement and the aesthetic upgrading of their building. In addition to our comprehensive advance notification in writing of the measures, we also set up on-site tenant support that could be visited with any questions during the consultation hours as well as being available over the phone.”

For energy efficiency refurbishment, the previous owner’s polystyrene insulation, which was inadequate in accordance with the latest German Energy Saving Ordinance (Energieeinsparverordnung – EnEV), was removed. Nothing but mineral wool was used to newly insulate the facade, the basement ceiling and the ceiling of the top floor. “We could have put the new insulation in on top of the old insulation, but for fire safety reasons alone it is better to opt solely for mineral wool,” explains René Liegner, Technical Project Manager at Deutsche Wohnen Construction and Facilities GmbH. In addition, the roof was redone and the windows were replaced. These tasks in particular are a burden for the tenants, but here too no criticism came from the residents. On the contrary – a number of the tenants thanked the window fitters for their good and clean work and were sometimes surprised at how few “side effects” this building work caused.

The Illerstraße district in figures

Year completed: 1960s
Residential units: 48
Investment volume: EUR 3 million
CO2 reduction: 32 tonnes per annum (59%)
Refurbishment period: August 2019–June 2020

In addition to the environmentally friendly measures, investments were made in smartening up the stairwells and building entrances. The windows and the building entrance doors are anthracite, while the walls are in a friendly and light shade of off-white. Last, but not least, the old stone steps were deep-cleaned and refurbished. With the work on the building and the entrances having been as good as completed in 2019, attention will now turn to the outdoor area in 2020. In the future, children will be able to play at a brand-new playground here and – something which is typical of Deutsche Wohnen – there will also be a near-natural area which will be given an especially bee-friendly design.

There was a demanding schedule for all the work, as the most important tasks were to be completed by Christmas – a target which was achieved among other things thanks to the contracted building contractors and tradespeople, as René Liegner notes: “We were delighted that the tenants were able to celebrate Christmas without any scaffolding outside their windows.” Another contributing factor was the good and smooth interaction of Technical and Commercial Project Management as the project team – with extensive construction projects in particular, this is the key prerequisite for the swift and successful conclusion of the work in the interests of our tenants.

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