Steering of construction – aiming at a high-quality built environment

The steering of construction promotes high-quality, safe and aesthetic building solutions. It also promotes reduced energy use, greater energy-efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources in building activities.

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Mauri Mahlamäki, Image Bank of the Environmental Administration

In Finland, construction is regulated, monitored and steered by the authorities. General steering of construction is based on act and decree-level provisions. The Land Use and Building Act defines the general preconditions for constructions, essential technical requirements, the construction permit procedure and supervision by the authorities. Detailed construction provisions issued as decrees, and the ministry guidelines complementing them, have been compiled into the National Building Code of Finland.

Construction is steered and regulated for the purpose of ensuring that it fulfils essential technical requirements and that

  • the quality of construction is high
  • construction is safe, healthy and of high aesthetic quality
  • the building meets user needs throughout its lifecycle
  • the building suits the built environment and landscape
  • responsibility and excellent professional skills are emphasised in design and construction
  • the properties and special characteristics of a building are taken into account in its renovation and alteration
  • construction promotes sustainable development.

Essential technical requirements

Essential technical requirements concern

  • the strength and stability of structures
  • fire safety
  • health
  • user safety
  • accessibility
  • noise abatement, noise conditions and
  • energy efficiency


Buildings must be designed and constructed in a way which fulfils essential technical requirements. Proper planning plays a key role in successful building projects. Several designers participate in the design of a building. The most important among them are construction planners, structural engineers, heating, plumbing and air conditioning engineers and electrical engineers. A principal planner is responsible for the building design and its quality as a whole, and coordinates the work of other planners and engineers. Planners and engineers must have the expertise required to fulfil the demands of the project.

The Ministry of the Environment steers and monitors construction

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the general steering and monitoring of construction in Finland. It issues legislation on construction and maintains the National Building Code of Finland.

Municipalities steer and monitor construction in their area

Each municipality is responsible for the steering and monitoring of construction in its area. A board of other organ appointed by the municipality (but not the municipal board) takes care of administrative functions related to the monitoring of building activities. Each municipality must have a building inspector, who provides advice on and monitors construction. The competence requirements for building inspectors are laid down by decree

The building ordinance is the municipalities' primary tool for controlling construction. This ordinance lays down regulations and instructions corresponding to local conditions.

Municipalities also use the permit procedure as a means of steering construction.

Responsibilities of those engaging in a building project

Anyone engaging in a building project must ensure that the building is planned and constructed in line with applicable provisions and regulations, and the permit granted for the building. Authorities begin monitoring building activities when construction subject to a permit begins, and such monitoring concludes with a final inspection. If the construction activities require a permit or other approval by the authorities, a foreman in charge, who has been approved by the municipality's local building supervision authority, must oversee the construction work.

Further information

Pekka Lukkarinen, Senior Architect, tel. +358 400 143 950, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Published 2014-01-03 at 10:46, updated 2014-01-03 at 10:46