The wheel of life turns for all living beings from birth to death. Buildings are different, as their end can be delayed for centuries. But this requires the knowledge to maintain them regularly, to adapt them to needs, and to reduce operating costs and environmental impact.
Renovation, adaptation and reconstruction are legal terms that describe the intensity of interventions in a building. Some can be carried out without permits, others require them. Also, to ensure that the documentation is in order, it makes sense to engage an architect for major interventions.
At this year’s Home Fair at the end of March at the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, I wanted to check suitable solutions, products, services, materials, contractors and prices for all types of construction. I selected eight companies that provide professional training for contractors, as well as free advice for citizens, tradespeople and contractors.
Stairs are a necessary evil for the elderly, a design challenge for architects and manufacturers, and a walking convenience for the user. The Cestnk Carpentry manufactures turnkey wooden stairs, always tailored to the building and the customer. The base of the curved cantilever staircase is an invisible metal substructure embedded in the wall. The wooden part of the stairs is screwed onto it just before moving in. The price of the system shown in the photo ranges from EUR 4000 to EUR 6000. The handrail is an additional cost. A glass one costs between two and three thousand euros.
Eder Helopal is a wholesaler specialising in window sills and installation equipment. More than 10 different expansion finishes are available, allowing the sill to be expanded up to 1.5 mm per running metre without damaging the façade. The outer metal sills are made of powder-coated aluminium, resistant to rain, hail, wind and sun. The price per metre length is EUR 50.
Obenauf presents itself as a Slovenian retailer of roof systems, but it is very close to engineering in terms of the branching of its activities. It offers advice to tradesmen, contractors (roofers, carpenters, joiners) and citizens through its business units. It brings together more than 200 subcontractors, whom it regularly informs and trains. The buyer of roofing systems thus receives one-stop-shop professional and free advice, with a material overview and suggestions for contractors. Compatibility between different contractors is key in roof construction. Having one conductor’s baton increases the possibility of a quality execution of the whole.
Hot water storage tank (HWST)
The hot water storage tank (HWST) is the heart of modern heating systems. Energy from different sources flows into it, and from it to different consumers. The Tilia Company has launched two of its CTC range, both adapted to the heat pump. An X-ray of the interior shows the essence. The right HWST in the photo is designed for more demanding and larger users. It contains 550 litres of heated water, providing 700 litres of domestic hot water per hour, and costs EUR 7600. The left one is suitable for family houses and costs EUR 4900. The heated water storage capacity is 230 litres and the heat exchanger with finned tubes provides 200 litres of domestic hot water per hour.
Smart installations are becoming a regular feature of renovations and new buildings, as they are included in Slovenian and EU legislation. For a price of EUR 5000, the Entia Company provides a turnkey wired or wireless installation for a 160 m² family house. This means drawing smart installations in the project for implementation, implementation itself and user instructions. Smart installations take care of heating of space and domestic hot water, shading, air quality, lighting, cooling, humidification and security with the help of various sensors. The building is managed via computer or phone, with schedules and different scenarios to help.
The air conditioner cools and heats, thus it is useful in an existing building or new construction. I chose a 2.5 kW model from the Aira¬bela Company, priced at around EUR 1200. With the advent of passive houses, the original function of this appliance – cooling – has been supplemented by the possibility of warm-air space heating. The photo shows two indoor units. The upper one is mainly used for cooling and the lower one is mainly used for heating, which is why it costs about EUR 250 more.
Efficient ventilation is a necessity for every home, but there are often complications in practice. The prevailing belief is that forced ventilation can only be achieved by central or local ventilation with heat recovery (return of waste heat). That is why I chose the Limodor centrifugal fan, marketed by Bossplast. For EUR 400, we get a bathroom fan without heat recovery, but with a humidity sensor and a capacity to extract 100 m³ of air per hour. The company also takes care of the installation. Cheaper fans with a humidity sensor and a volume of around 32 db are also available in Slovenia. The price starts at EUR 40.
The chimney is too often an overlooked part of the heating system. That is why we should not make any mistakes during renovation or new construction. The Arodi Company manufactures metal chimneys and all the necessary components, advises, designs and also installs them. They consistently follow the standard of installing the chimney only when ambient air is supplied at the same time. In the case of refurbishment, one option is to install a new chimney shaft in the existing chimney. Due to possible complications of boring, the turnkey price ranges from EUR 200 to EUR 1100. For a family house, an external chimney may be a good solution. It costs between EUR 1500 and EUR 2300.