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Construction in the North: Longevity and Durability

10 April 2019
Строительство на Севере: долговечность и надежность


Creation of favourable life conditions in the Arctic is a strategic objective 

“How is Russian Arctic different from other countries regarding city planning? We have the largest number of people, 2.3 million, living in the Arctic region,” Pavel Spirin, Managing Director, Scientific and Research Institute of Perspective City Building.

“The Arctic needs bright colours. It is important that it becomes attractive for people,” Igor Shpektor, President, Union of Cities of the Arctic Circle and Extreme North.

“First of all, Arctic development should face the problems that inhabitants of the Far North already have,” Rinat Akhmetchin, Mayor of Norilsk.

“Today deterioration of socio-economic situation in Arctic regions is coming to the fore,” Aligyushad Kerimov, Director, Research Center for the study of permafrost "Ecofundament" named after M. Kim.


Unfavourable climate conditions for construction 

“It is necessary to adjust to life and construction not under conditions of permafrost or no permafrost, but of a transition from permafrost to soft soil, traditional soil. It is a challenge for our construction industry and technologies,” Vladimir Solodov, Chairman of the Government of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).

“Under Arctic conditions it is crucial to find right technical solutions for laying both surface and underground pipes,” Igor Shpektor, President, Union of Cities of the Arctic Circle and Extreme North.

High costs of residential construction in the Arctic

“We often underestimate this factor [cost of construction in the Arctic — Ed.] <…> Diesel fuel costs 21% more, piles – 78% more, cements – 83% more, and concrete pipes and plates – 50% more. If we add costs and price rises due to northern increments to salaries, we receive 2–2.5 times higher cost of one square metre,” Vladimir Solodov, Chairman of the Government of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).

“Cost of materials and work is very high; in 2012 the cost of one square metre was around 76,000 roubles. <…> We understood that commercial organizations would not get involved into construction in the Far North,” Rinat Akhmetchin, Mayor of Norilsk.

Underdevelopment of infrastructure

“In Yakutia we can see a growing interest in Arctic tourism. <…> The main problem here is closely connected to construction. <…> We are reaching stable rates of growth of tourist flow from the demand point of view, but we cannot satisfy it due to the lack of accommodation. This is the first issue. <…> The second issue is transport accessibility,” Vladimir Solodov, Chairman of the Government of Sakha Republic (Yakutia).


Development of public-private partnership instruments

“We can only begin the construction process <…> when federal money, regional money, and city-forming enterprise Nornickel’s money are involved,” Rinat Akhmetchin, Mayor of Norilsk.

Development of normative-technical regulation of construction in the Arctic

“By 2020 <…> five new documents will be ready, sets of rules <…> for design engineers, for the experts who later conduct project evaluation,” Andrey Basov, Head, Federal Autonomous Institution "Federal Centre for Regulation, Standardization and Technical Conformity Assessment in Construction”

“On the one hand, our Town Planning Code provides norms, measures and methods [for construction in the Arctic regions — Ed.] <…> they were established back in the Soviet times. Today we must understand that things are changing, and we need to react. Also, it is important to conduct regular monitoring, but it should be codified by law,” Vladimir Pushkarev, Deputy Chairman, The State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East.

Creation of a comprehensive plan for Arctic development

“Today there are towns [in the Arctic — Ed.] that we do not need. <…> It is crucial to prepare a strategic plan of development for the North with the required number of people, towns and rotation villages,” Igor Shpektor, President, Union of Cities of the Arctic Circle and Extreme North.

Organization of platforms for sharing experience

“We need to provide some structure, to organize a platform where people who know and understand the Arctic could meet. I urge heads of cities to participate,” Mikhail Mamoshin, honoured architect of the Russian Federation and a passionate expert in architecture of northern cities.