From a pioneering company to an international trailblazer of hall construction

19/11/2020

Durable halls from the best materials made with high quality in Finland for international markets. This is the core idea around which Best-Hall was born 45 years ago. Three of the company’s managing directors share their thought on why this bold vision paid off and how the position as a leading hall constructor will be maintained also in the future.

When three pioneers of hall construction decided to found Best-Hall in spring 1975, a steel-structured hall with a fabric cover was something completely new in Finland. A few of these steel structure halls had been made in Sweden.

“We had made air-supported structures and we realised that a steel frame would prolong the hall investment’s service life a great deal,” says Leif Kempas, the company’s first ever managing director.

The durable structure garnered instant attention – just like Kempas and his business partners Bjarne Skog and Taisto Virtanen had predicted. The first sale was made to the Soviet Union before any halls were even finished.

 

The best quality

According to Kempas, the courage to build the market stemmed from their clear vision and their desire to offer something better to their customers. In addition to Russia, the quality halls were also soon in demand in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The superiority of the steel structure was also soon noticed in the mountainous areas in Germany with heavy snowfalls.

The first Best-Hall was built in Kruunupyy to serve as the company’s production facilities. However, the facilities became too small in just a few years, and the company built a new production hall in its current place in Kälviä.

According to Kempas, the success was, first and foremost, built on good workers and a can-do attitude. From the very beginning, cooperation has been one of the company’s core values.

“During the first few years, especially, all the work was done in a small team, and everyone’s contribution was needed. When the frame was ready, some of the team members jumped into a car and drove to an installation site. Quality is all about doing the work perfectly, and attitude is the key in that.”

 

Customer-centric approach in the DNA

Kempas and Skog retired from the company management in the early 2010s and sold their shares of the company to Wiklög Group. Leif Fagernäs stepped into the role of managing director.

He had been attracted to the company in the early 2000s by the openness that was characteristic to the company’s operations.

“Internationality was part of the daily work in Best-Hall; the halls were exported all around the world, all the way up to Antarctica, and the USA was the largest export country. Their way of thinking was exceptionally open, and only a few companies in the construction field dared to look so far in those days.”

Fagernäs connects this open-mindedness to a customer-centric approach, which he believes to be written in the company’s DNA.

“It all starts from what kinds of halls the customers need. The projects are completed together, the customer’s needs are heard and the plans are made based on them. The entire company’s core idea is based on customer orientation – even though it wasn’t thought about like that back then.”

 

An even more sustainable future

The third managing director of Best-Hall, Tuomas Tuomela, who started in his role in March 2020, also highlights the importance of understanding the customers’ needs. Another central success factor of the future mentioned by Tuomela is the company’s in-house production and delivery process.

“Looking for profitability through outsourcing can easily compromise reliability and quality. This is why we will continue to ensure quality and competitiveness through the continuous development of our own operations, such as the design and production processes.”

Today, being a forerunner is not only about technical quality and customer experience; it also includes continuous work to minimise the environmental impacts of construction.

In recent years, Best-Hall has invested in frame painting techniques that prolong the life cycle of fabric and also modelled the calculations for the hall’s carbon footprint for the duration of its entire life cycle to prepare for the CO2 emission restrictions of construction.

The first hall in Kruunupyy proves that the best steel structure construction competence can prolong the hall’s service life to at least 45 years.

According to Tuomela, this is a good place to continue reinforcing their status.

“The concept of sustainable construction is a part of the future. By further developing the maintenance services, a hall’s service life can be continued by decades. By minimising the environmental burden, we can also be forerunners in building a better society.”

 

The Best Hall history in a nutshell

1975 work colleagues Leif Kempas, Bjarne Skog and Taisto Virtanen found their own company
1975, in June, the first Best-hall is built in Kruunupyy to serve as the company’s production facilities
1978 move to Kälviä to new facilities, more than 20 employees
1991 Taisto Virtanen’s share of the company goes to Industrialization Fund of Finland Ltd.
1997 Wiklöf Group purchases a majority from the Industrialization Fund of Finland Ltd.
2008 first co-operation negotiations due to the banking crisis; only furloughs are necessary
2010 Steel halls become part of the range in addition to the PVC-clad fabric-covered halls
2010 Wiklöf Group buys the entire company
2012 Managing Director Leif Kempas goes on part-time retirement, Leif Fagernäs starts as Managing Director
2013 New painting facility and transition to powder-coating technology
2020 Tuomas Tuomela starts as Managing Director in April
2020 the company has 135 employees, representative partners in 12 countries

Bonsky