Coor makes sure the Swedish Embassy in Copenhagen is open to everyone
Coor in Denmark has a very fruitful collaboration with the Swedish Embassy in Copenhagen. Coor has been a supplier of ongoing property maintenance at the Embassy for the Swedish National Property Board (SFV) for three contract terms. So when it was time to renovate the Embassy at short notice, Coor was the obvious partner.
Coor has been collaborating with SFV and its tenant, the Swedish Foreign Ministry, since 2008 on adapting its foreign properties for disabled access. Its first phase is to prioritise the major embassies, because they have the highest visitor numbers.
“We’ve put a big focus on accessibility: obviously, our premises shouldn’t shut anyone out but be open to everyone,” says Helen Axelsson, SFV’s Manager.
Because the Chancellery of the Swedish Embassy in Copenhagen dates from 1853, it had a substantial need for adaptation, but we also understood any changes had to be sensitive, to avoid compromising the building’s character: “Our tenant, the Foreign Ministry, was sitting on its decision, so when its order came early last spring, we had to move quickly. One requirement was that everything had to be complete by 1 July, when Sweden’s EU Chairmanship began.”
The first move was to bring in a reputable architect able to hasten the permit process with sensitive modifications.
"As soon as we’d agreed on a proposal, we contacted Coor because we needed a contractor. With our established collaboration, the ramp-up time for the project was very short. In turn, Coor appointed sub-contractors. Everything went very quickly and well,” continued Helen.
The conversion work meant a completely new entrance hall for all visitors, bringing them directly to a waiting area by lift and a rebuilt waiting room, which the architect has opened up, using lots of glass to let in light. The visitor’s toilets have also been adapted for disabled access.
“Instead of trying to imitate an old style, the architect chose to go against it. This solution is contemporary, bright and has a lot of glass. But it’s so skilfully designed and adapted that from some angles, you can hardly see it,” added Helen.
Helen thinks the project and collaboration with Coor have gone well. Particularly since so many people have been working in such a small space, like electricians, flooring contractors and carpenters.
“Things have gone quickly and everyone’s really pulled their weight. We feel that everyone involved has prioritized this job, and made a collective effort to ensure that it’s ready on time despite the tight schedule.”
It is not unusual for SFV to get complaints from embassy staff when major refurbishment is conducted. While people understand that the work has to be done, obviously, it disrupts their working environment.
“This is probably the first time we haven’t had any complaints and everyone thinks that it’s really worked well. Especially since everyone involved has been so nice and positive. Staff have also seen how everyone’s been making an effort and endeavoured to achieve something good.”
Coor’s assignment at the Swedish Embassy
Coor and SFV have a contract for ongoing operation of its properties. Coor makes regular inspections of technical installations, ventilation, cooling and power systems and does repairs when necessary. Over and above its contract, SFV also orders other work when items need exchanging or repair. It also orders larger projects initiated by SFV, such as renovation.
“We’ve got an excellent dialogue, when things don’t work they get fixed. It’s important to feel secure with your supplier,” concluded Helen.
At 3,200 sq.m., the Swedish Embassy in Denmark is fairly sizeable. It includes the Residency, the ambassador’s private apartments, three apartments for Swedish visitors, a guest apartment and the Chancellery. Everything is divided between two properties, with the Residency from 1753 and the Chancellery from 1853.