The Barcelona Building Construmat, held at Fira Barcelona, hosted a presentation on the Programme for Renovation of High-Complexity Buildings. The programme applies to buildings located in vulnerable areas that, due to their socio-economic reality, are often excluded from calls for applications for ordinary aid. Currently, there are 40 high-complexity buildings that are about to start renovation works, thanks to this programme.
Oriol Gil, coordinator of the programme through City Development, was in charge of explaining the Programme for Renovation of High-Complexity Buildings in Construmat. It is a pilot programme promoted by the City Council of Barcelona, which is part of the Neighbourhoods Plan, and has the support of the Housing Consortium of Barcelona, and the Municipal Institute for Housing and Renovation (IMHAB). This Plan contemplates different actions and projects in the 16 neighbourhoods where there is the most social inequality in the city of Barcelona.
Map of residential vulnerability
In order to determine which buildings have the greatest need for renovation, a study was commissioned to the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). This work was translated into a map of residential vulnerability that indicates the areas where action should be taken. Various legal, technical, economic and sociourbanistic studies have been carried out in the different communities and, with this information, the City Council has designed a renovation plan for high-complexity buildings.
The technicians of the consistory visit these buildings and get in touch with the residents to explain how the initiative works and evaluate the state of the buildings and the needs of the people who live there. “We try to respond to the structural causes that affect non-renovation and provide adequate maintenance,” said Gil.
Accompaniment to users
In the communities, there is a team of social workers, architects and legal support that accompanies the users of the buildings in the process. In the beginning, based on a prioritisation proposal, the teams go to several buildings that are candidates for renovation, and explain the programme and its advantages. An evaluation and advisory agreement is made and subsequently the agreement to begin work is signed. In the first agreement, a socio-legal, technical and economic study of the communities is carried out, in which the required actions are determined.
Based on the UPC study, a prioritisation is made to decide which buildings most need intervention. “The vulnerability study is a key point. Buildings must have a score of 50 points out of 100. The study checks whether there have been fines in recent years, people living in poverty, if there are empty flats …”, explained Gil .
In the second agreement, support is offered to the communities to mediate with industrialists and architects, so that they can carry out construction projects and ITE (Technical Inspection of Buildings). When a community has completed the work project and has adapted it to the needs of the ITE, it can seek a company to create a budget. The communities also receive support so that they can process the licenses.
When the City Council and the residents come to an agreement on the works to be carried out, the aid is processed and the renovation is carried out. The Consistory aims to make sure that renovation aid reaches the people who need it most and contributes to improving their quality of life.
The programme began in October 2017, and a preliminary study of 293 buildings was carried out. It was possible to sign agreements between the Housing Consortium and the community of neighbours for 138 buildings. After conducting a residential vulnerability study, 122 were globally vulnerable. 96 work agreements have been signed and some 61 ITE have been submitted. About 40 buildings are about to start works.
This programme includes a call for grants that helps get projects moving forward. Buildings that are identified as vulnerable can benefit from it. They must have been built before 1993 and had no renovation works done on the common elements in the last 15 years, among other requirements.
“The communities don’t have an expense plan, they don’t have financing, they don’t have the capacity to go to a bank … In this call, a payment system is introduced in which, via advances and endorsements, it’s possible to move forward,” said Gil.
The programmes and aids are aimed at different aspects of renovation, from structural pathologies, to intervention in façade works, patios, dividing walls and stairs. In addition, there are also grants aimed at improving accessibility, for example, through the installation of elevators.
Another line of aid is intended to improve facilities, such as the removal of obsolete fibre-cement elements. Finally, there are also grants aimed at energy saving and sustainability.