The value of the real estate assets owned by the State is approximately EUR 4.6 billion, and these assets comprise more than 10,000 buildings. About 470 of these are significant buildings with protected status. In 2015, approximately 6.5 million m2 of premises of various kinds were in State use. About one third of this floor area was offices, and the remainder consisted of other premises such as courtrooms, museums, police departments, laboratories and storage facilities. Among the different branches of government, the organisation occupying the largest proportion of government premises was the Finnish Defence Forces, with almost half the total floor area. Information about the State's use of premises and the costs of this is published twice a year in the HTH premises management system.
Under the Government Premises Strategy (2014), government workplace environments are to be improved so that they cost-effectively support productive activity. Premises design is also geared towards safeguarding the overall interests of central government and ensuring that social responsibility considerations are taken into account. The acquisition of premises is guided not only by the Government Premises Strategy but by the Government Decree on the Acquisition, Leasing, Possession and Management of State Real Estate Assets.
The new central government leasing system came into effect at the beginning of 2016. The rents applying to government agencies and public bodies that are tenants of Senate Properties are determined on a cost price basis. The flexibility of lease agreements has been improved by making it easier for government agencies and public bodies to withdraw from State-owned premises that are not needed. Senate Properties functions as the only premises procurement unit within central government through which facilities are leased within State-owned premises or premises of an external lessor. Senate Properties may therefore more effectively offer solutions for the premises needs of different agencies and sell space not needed by the State.
The ownership policy applicable to the State's real estate assets is set out in the State Real Estate Strategy (2010). The methods used in the sale of State property are both transparent and non-discriminatory. The property sold consists mainly of assets no longer needed by the State.
Both Senate Properties and, for assets in forested and waterway areas, Metsähallitus function as unincorporated state enterprises responsible for the management, development and sale of real estate assets of the State. Metsähallitus is an unincorporated state enterprise operating under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. State-owned road, rail, airport and other transport facilities fall principally within the administrative sector of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and within the sphere of operation of the Finnish Transport Agency.
Senate Properties – providing government work environment and premises services
Besides managing State properties, Senate Properties is also responsible for rental of premises and is a government partner in work environment and premises matters. Senate Properties produces services primarily for central government.
As an unincorporated state enterprise, Senate Properties finances its operations itself and is not actually part of the government's on-budget entities. The most important decisions concerning guidance for unincorporated state enterprises are made annually by Parliament in connection with the Budget. In addition, the Ministry of Finance sets detailed financial and operating targets for Senate Properties each year, following the decisions made by Parliament. The operations of Senate Properties are otherwise governed by the Act on Unincorporated State Enterprises, various decrees, the State Real Estate Strategy and the Government Premises Strategy.
A programme of renewing central government work environments and the ways in which work is performed is currently under way. Work in the central government administration is largely knowledge work, customer service and practical work across a wide domain. The tie between work and a physical workplace will decline further as digitalisation changes the ways in which work is done in the coming years. Work environment development projects include the Työ 2.0 project.
"Vision for the future: the State of Finland is at the leading edge in new ways of working and new work environments."
Key figures for 2015
A further improvement was made in the efficiency with which government office space is used, averaging 24 m2/man-year (2014: 27 m2/man-year). Implementation of the Government Premises Strategy has begun and the aim is to achieve an annual saving of EUR 100 million in eight years.
The turnover of Senate Properties' rental business totalled EUR 606.0 million. This represents a decrease of 0.6% on the turnover for 2014. In 2015, Senate Properties invested 43% of the turnover, or EUR 268 million, in premises, and completed real estate asset sales of EUR 325 million.
New-build completions included the Santahamina building of the Finnish Defence Forces, the new premises for the National Institute for Health and Welfare at Tilkanmäki in Helsinki, and the Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting in Jyväskylä. Major refurbishments completed included the new work environment for the ministry of Employment and the Economy on Eteläesplanadi, the refurbishment of Mikkeli Prison and the renovation work on the Customs premises at the Pasilan Virastokeskus office centre. In euros, the greatest amount of investment was in the defence and security sector, where it amounted to EUR 120.4 million.
In 2015, Senate Properties agreed annual savings of over EUR 17 million on premises costs with the ministries, agencies and public bodies, and it produced an employability footprint of 3,600 man-years. It also generated property management costs that were more than 10% below those of comparable companies, and its total energy consumption decreased by 9%. More information is available in the Senate Properties social responsibility report for 2015.
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