Granlund’s annual report 2021
Granlund’s annual report provides an overview of the Group’s key events from 2021. Read more about Granlund’s growth, business, bottom line, innovations and responsibility.
CEO’s market analysis
The overriding memory from 2021 is of the changeable situation with COVID-19 and the challenges it posed for business activities. Nonetheless, we managed to regain our faith in the future. The pandemic even gave a boost to some companies operating in the construction and property industry.
Unlike in many other countries, most sites in Finland remained active. The progress of projects was hindered by a shortage of skilled professionals, and the logistics and production chains weren’t always able to meet the increase in demand. In the design business, global giants, private equity investment firms and listed companies competed for interesting targets and the market share of Finnish ownership decreased.
Housing construction as well as energy-saving renovations in the public sector spurred the markets, and there were many school lifecycle projects kicking off in the course of the year. The commercial sector also invested actively in energy-efficiency projects, while massive hospital projects also continued.
The increasing importance of responsibility
ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) as well as EU taxonomy were hot topics of conversation in the consulting sector. The order volume started to increase because especially the know-how of energy consultants and active carbon footprint control are required both during construction projects and, later on, the lifecycle of the building. Investment decisions are also increasingly dependent on environmental factors. For responsibility matters to be taken into account and have a tangible effect on management on a continuous basis, data must be efficiently processed. This may expedite the digitalisation of the property and construction industry.
Responsibility may spur the digitalisation of the industry.
Granlund Group made a profit in 2021, and the company’s solvency and liquidity remained good. By and large, the net sales and operational results of Granlund companies were at a good or satisfactory level. Compared to the previous year, the Group’s net sales increased by roughly 6% to approximately EUR 109 million. The gross margin remained at the previous year’s level at approximately EUR 15 million. Approximately EUR 4.3 million in total was paid out to the personnel in profit-related bonuses.
The Group’s operations remained profitable, and net sales increased.
Changes in the Group structure
In 2021, Granlund Group companies were involved in seven M&As around Finland.
In February 2021, Granlund Tampere Oy acquired Sähkösuunnittelu Pousi Oy, bolstering the company’s electrical design expertise in the Pirkanmaa region. A new record was set in June when deals were confirmed with three different companies in one day. The acquisition of VA Optimate Oy from Paimio added to Granlund’s electrical engineering and monitoring expertise as well as the quantity surveying and cost accounting expertise in Finland Proper and Greater Helsinki. The Lahti company WE Sähkö Oy joined Granlund Lahti, and the Mikkeli engineering firm HTCC Oy joined Granlund Mikkeli.
In August, Granlund Kuopio Oy acquired the engineering firm J. Markkanen Oy from Kuopio. In the autumn of 2021, Granlund Saimaa acquired structural engineering specialists Juva Oy from Imatra and Granlund Häme acquired Sähkösuunnittelu Macel Oy from Forssa.
The M&As continued at the start of 2022 when the electrical design specialists Eco Konsult i Stockholm AB joined Granlund. It nearly tripled the number of our specialists in Sweden. Lean 4D Oy, on the other hand, introduced new data model-based 4D scheduling know-how.
Granlund develops 4D scheduling
“Lean 4D has developed a 4D tool for the visualisation of construction project schedules. Initially, 4D scheduling was planned to support site management, but it is equally well-suited to design management and safety planning.
Granlund will also be using it for cost and carbon footprint management. 4D scheduling supports both the profitability and responsibility of construction projects. You could say that it is the digital twin of the building, which provides a real-time, easy-to-understand demonstration of the step-by-step progress of the construction project.”
– Jouni Ojala, Lean 4D Oy
Plan G strategy is progressing
Launched in 2020 and spanning until 2025, Granlund’s Plan G strategy received a new boost in 2021. We advanced our strategic goals through strategic projects, and M&As were also important for our growth. In 2021, we also realised many M&As important for the future to generate new business and strengthen our international development.
Data-based processes help us take the carbon footprint into account. In line with our strategy, everything we do is aimed at improving the efficiency and usability of data flow. Lifecycle management services and consulting based on data flow have already generated new business. Data flow also supports quality and productivity in projects. In 2021, we introduced to projects new data-based operating models that take into account the carbon footprint in addition to costs and schedules.
We implemented the strategy amongst our employees using Topaasia during 2021. Plan G games enable all Granlund employees to discuss the strategy. We received good feedback for Topaasia and, on a scale from 1 to 5, the games received an average approximate rating of 3.8.
Data-based processes help us take the carbon footprint into account.
In the software business, the market share of Granlund Manager saw some positive development and the role of Granlund Designer in system data management increased. During the year, we developed digital twin-related services and dynamic reporting to support knowledge-based management. As we speak, we are also preparing system updates to meet the energy monitoring and management needs.
We brought the lifecycle specialists to the same organisation with the software. The goal is to make data utilisation part of all of our service operations. We also split our software business into the Granlund Manager SaaS services, lifecycle management services and a new data unit. Our SaaS services broke the previous sales record for the third year running. We concluded new international sales in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and the Middle East. The decision was made to pull the plug on our operations in China.
Granlund Manager’s SaaS services made a new sales record.
Climate change mitigation efforts and the ESG and carbon neutrality goals increased the demand for energy and environmental consulting. The construction industry’s increased responsibility awareness was also positively evident in the continuous energy, CAPEX and OPEX services. The main areas of consulting included energy-efficiency projects, energy consulting for construction projects, energy management as well as regional energy solutions.
When it comes to consulting services, special highlights included financially viable energy investments in renewable energies, new technologies and the smart management of building services. During the year, we drew up many carbon neutrality road maps for our customers and helped to implement them. The development of responsibility was also visible in our Due diligence operations, which received a significant boost compared to the previous year. In addition to Finland, we were active operators in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
ESG and carbon neutrality goals increased the demand for energy consulting.
Construction management and supervision
Our construction, supervision and rebuilding services developed massively in 2021. Construction management alone employed approximately 100 specialists at regional companies and in Greater Helsinki. Our network of regular customers expanded, and we developed mutual tools and methods. In Eastern Finland, Granlund is one of the leading market players, especially with regard to public sector renovation projects. In the metropolitan area, our main focus is on providing an end-to-end service for rebuilding projects, which is to say that Granlund can take care of project management, the required planning and design work as well as services requiring special know-how.
Demand for construction grew significantly.
With regard to data centre design and consulting, the year was busy and dynamic. We were locally involved in data centre projects both in Finland and Sweden. The high-water mark of the year was the Data Center Design Innovation award won by CSC’s LUMI data centre at the international DCD Awards gala. We were in charge of the technical design of the LUMI project in Kajaani located in north-eastern Finland. As a result of the change in electricity tax, there is currently a record number of major data centre projects underway in Finland.
The LUMI data centre received an award at the DCD Awards gala.
It was a busy year for design services requiring special expertise. There was plenty of work designing both lighting, AV and presentation technologies, telecommunications, safety technology, clean rooms and kitchens, fire prevention and refrigeration technologies as well as backup power solutions. Our experts were used for special projects and group-wide projects alike. Amongst other things, in 2021, we participated in the renovations of Finlandia Hall and the Finnish National Theatre and helped design both Dance House Helsinki and West Metro (Länsimetro).
Dance House brings the joy of dance within everyone’s reach.
Architectural and structural design
Our architectural and structural design professionals got their hands dirty with both nationwide data centre projects and local construction projects. Our architectural and structural design expertise is centred around Lappeenranta in Eastern Finland. Our structural design services were bolstered further in 2021 when Imatran Juva Oy was merged with Granlund Saimaa in Eastern Finland.
Our people in the Saimaa region know architectural and structural design.
For Granlund’s facility management services, 2021 was the first whole year of operation. In the first half of the year, the company’s management went through a reorganisation process, which slowed down the development of operations. The situation evened out in the second half of the year when, for example, efforts to land new customers bore fruit. That said, the changes and development work were evident in the profitability of operations, and the result ended up being negative.
The facility management services are at a development stage.
Capable, responsible and versatile
Market research company Taloustutkimus conducted an extensive customer relationship survey at our company last in the autumn of 2020. Granlund Group’s NPS, or Net Promoter Score, was 47. The CSI index (Customer Satisfaction Index) measuring long-term customer satisfaction was 76. It is a good representation of the percentage of very or fully satisfied customers of all respondents.
In the customer relationship survey, we scored top marks for the expertise of our employees and the responsibility of our operations. Our customers also highly appreciated the wide range and diversity of our services.
Wide-ranging expertise is important to our customers.
Customer satisfaction in projects
As our business is partly project-based, we constantly measure customer satisfaction also when it comes to projects. We ask for feedback at all Granlund companies and in all of our lines of business. In 2021, the project feedback NPS figure was 61. 2.6% were critical. The factors highlighted by our customers in our continuous project feedback included the smoothness of cooperation and schedules. We deliver on our promises!
*We report our Scope 2 emissions using a market-based calculation method that takes into account the specific emissions of the energy we purchase. In 2021, our location-based emissions arising from energy consumption were 515 tn CO₂. The figure is based on the average specific CO₂ emissions of purchased electricity in Finland.
We help our customers reduce their environmental effects and improving sustainability
In 2021, the property and construction industry’s awareness and requirements pertaining to carbon neutrality and responsibility increased at breakneck speed. Granlund comprehensively supports its customers’ efforts to improve their responsibility. This includes helping them with setting objectives and meeting them, from managing the organisation to practical construction projects. Our services include, e.g. carbon neutrality road maps and carbon footprint management, climate risk mitigation and adjustment to climate change, energy management and energy-efficiency projects, environmental certifications, circular economy solutions and the wise use of resources, EU taxonomy and green funding. Demand for these services rapidly increased in 2021.
We are also actively involved in the development of the industry. In 2021, we provided consulting services regarding, for example, the development needs of the assessment method on which the “ilmastoselvitys” (climate report) legislation being drawn up by the Ministry of the Environment is based. We also trained a large number of industry professionals, promoted EU Taxonomy awareness via two open webinars and authored GBC Finland’s “Hiilineutraalin rakennuksen määritelmäohje” (specifications of a carbon neutral building).
Blog: In 2021, the property and construction industry made enormous strides towards responsibility
For the property and construction industry, 2021 was a real turning point in terms of responsibility. No longer a mere side note, low-carbon and responsibility became preconditions of business. Climate responsibility has been included in strategic goals. Being behind the curve has become a business risk.
For Granlund, the year 2021 was exceptional because we were no longer able to meet our colleagues on a daily basis as before. Despite that, our employee satisfaction remained very high.
Granlund is invested in its highly skilled employees and their well-being. After all, they are the foundation of everything we do. Granlund wants to be the best place to work both for its current and future employees. Excellent people management, flexible work and supporting well-being and development are an important part of this strategic goal.
Development has always been an essential part of the culture at Granlund. The Group provides a wide range of internal training courses, which cover issues such as the development of expertise as well as training to support good management at Granlund.
Personnel survey yields positive results
Employee satisfaction and well-being are measured with a comprehensive personnel survey conducted every two years as well as the monthly Fiilispulssi survey. The Fiilispulssi NPS was good in 2021: 45.
The latest comprehensive employee satisfaction survey was carried out in the spring of 2021. Overall, employee satisfaction was once again very high. Of respondents, 95% were happy with their workplace, and 98% have already recommended or would recommend Granlund as an employer to their friends. The majority of Granlund’s employees felt that everyone can contribute to the company’s success through their own work.
The development needs highlighted in the employee satisfaction survey were linked to the flow of information, especially between different groups. In 2021, we introduced the new intranet as a new channel to improve the flow of information.
Good management is key
For years already, Granlund has provided its supervisors with discussion forums and trained new supervisors via a training programme lasting approximately one year. In 2021, we expanded our people management training offering with the Renewable Management training package aimed at experienced supervisors and senior management.
The happiness with our management culture is evident in the results of the personnel survey: the work of our supervisors was highly rated by Granlund’s employees.
Good management and good supervisors were identified as important factors of the external communications related to the employer image: the social media series Minulla on #HyväPomo (I have a good boss) started to feature on Granlund’s social media channels in the spring of 2021, and it continued throughout the year.
Innovation and development activities
Our innovation and development activities are focused on global challenges, such as pandemic safety and renewable energy sources. We took part in joint development projects of national importance and worked closely together with our customers, partners, start-ups and research facilities.
In 2021, we invested EUR 6.3 million in innovation and development. That equals approximately 10% of the parent company’s net sales and 6% of the whole Group’s net sales. Significant external sources of funding included Business Finland and research funding from the EU. Our innovation activities were also firmly rooted in our close relationships with Finnish and international educational establishments. For us, they are also important talent pools for recruitment.
There were three international development projects completed in 2021.
eTEACHER – EU Horizon 2020 project: End-users’ tools to empower and raise awareness of behavioural change towards energy efficiency
- The project piloted smart energy-efficiency solutions in the UK, Spain and Romania.
- Our development work was linked to solutions for collecting and analysing construction automation data and user feedback.
BIMLIFE, BIM-based life-cycle management for energy-optimised buildings
- In this project, together with Fraunhofer Institute, the largest research facility in Germany, we created a data model-utilising property maintenance platform for the global markets.
- Digital Twin solutions were piloted in Finland at SYK’s Kampusareena in Tampere as well as the FASA building and the Technical University of Dresden in Germany.
- The Finnish piloted solution did well at the international 2021 BuildingSMART Awards competition.
AutoDC – ITEA3 project, cluster programme of EUREKA: Autonomous Datacenter for Long Term Deployment
- This project played an important role in the development of new data centre solutions and the globalisation of our data centre business, especially in Sweden.
We continued our international development work in the following projects:
Mad@Work – ITEA3 project: Mental Wellbeing Management and Productivity Boosting in the Workplace
- The project was piloted in Vaasa Central Hospital on thr west coast of Helsinki.
- The goal is to smartly identify potential deviations in conditions and their effects.
MES-China, Research and Demonstration of Model-based Dispatching of Multi-carrier Energy System in Industrial Parks
- The Finnish-Chinese cooperation project is aimed at developing hybrid energy and digital twin solutions.
- For the pilot, we chose the Te Xun Cyber Technology Building in Hangzhou (Zhejiang), China.
Business Finland granted Granlund funding for three new development projects:
DHC-Hybrid, Research and demonstration of key technologies of the DHC hybrid system based on a renewable energy heat pump
- The Finnish-Chinese cooperation project develops district heating and district cooling systems utilising renewable energy sources.
IML4E – ITEA3 project, Industrial machine learning for enterprises
- We collaborate with an international consortium to develop a process to utilise AI as well as use cases and services based on AI.
- The project supports Granlund’s strategic development area, data flow.
E3, Excellence in pandemic response and enterprise solutions ecosystem
- One of Business Finland’s major financing targets, the project develops pandemic-safe solutions for the built-up environment.
- Granlund plays an important role in coordinating the development of healthcare solutions for the “Smart Modular Healthcare” use case.
- The project promotes the globalisation of our hospital business.
We received funding from Forum Virium through our success in the innovation competition:
Healthy Liveably Neighbourhoods: Green Kalasatama, Helsinki theme
- We are developing an AR application that enables different parties to contribute to the design of a green environment.
Outlook for 2022
The economic situation appears positive in all of Granlund’s lines of business. That said, potential new COVID-19 strains and their economy-slowing effects are a threat to many industries. Rising prices also bring new challenges with regard to the start of new construction projects. As we operate on so many different fronts and our customer base is so strong, only significant fluctuations pose a real threat to our business.
When it comes to 2022, we expect growth in the areas of rebuilding, data centres and energy-saving projects. The hospital sector should also remain strong. In addition, the domestic battery industry projects show a lot of potential. Many long-term Granlund customers have important investment plans for the next few years, which opens the door to more interesting projects.
We expect growth in the areas of rebuilding, data centres and energy-saving projects.
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