About us

Get-up-and-go

Our main areas of activity at Nordic Houses are the design, production and erection of timber-frame buildings. We’ve been operating for nearly 15 years, and in that time we’ve grown into a group of companies whose collective aim is to promote, all along the value chain, a way of living in your own home that brings you enjoyment of life. Our biggest clients are resellers, developers and construction companies in the Nordic countries and Central Europe. In Estonia, we also offer our products and services to private clients.

The companies in our group are Nordic Houses KT OÜ in Estonia and Buen Gruppen AS, Nurban AS and NH Norge AS in Norway. Buen Gruppen includes Norwegian resellers and markets the Buen mountain cabin brand in Norway. Nine resellers in total operate under the Buen Gruppen name, including one on the Swedish market.

Compass

World-renowned architect Louis Isadore Kahn, who has Estonian roots, once said: “Don’t build buildings – design ways of living”. That’s our way of thinking, too: a building is a means to an end; the end itself is the benefit people get from the building, which is to say the enjoyment of life it brings them. And that’s why our overall objective is to promote a way of living in your own home that brings you that enjoyment of life.

We believe in:

  • The innovative technology of the Nordic countries;

  • Nordic nature, which provides the best possible materials;

  • the Nordic aesthetic.

We take timber and turn it into buildings

Our task is to turn the visions provided as input by architects into actual timber buildings. In fulfilling that role it’s important to us that we follow certain principles.

  • WE TAKE THE INITIATIVE – The challenge for Nordic Houses is to drive the creation of value all along the value chain. To do this, we need to take the initiative and make sure we’re agreed on how we’ll work together down the value chain.

  • WE DARE TO THINK DIFFERENTLY – Long gone are the days when being a decent carpenter was the only qualification required to build a timber house. You not only have to keep pace with change, but be the ones making them.

  • YOU CAN COUNT ON US – Sticking to the promises we make is important to us. In order for us to be able to do that, we have to get things right, we have to be trustworthy and we have to keep our word.

Brand concept

By taking a responsible approach and utilising standardised solutions and the latest technology, we offer our clients what we like to call ‘more time for living’.

The story behind our logo

In coming up with the Nordic Houses logo we gave a lot of thought to where we come from, what we do and what we value. The form of the logo conveys a number of messages we advocate and want to pass on:

  • the image of the swan from ancient Norwegian granite drawings – the waterbird of the North;

  • technology and precision tools processing natural, high-quality timber;

  • the roof of a house with a chimney – the covering of a home; and

  • N for ‘north’, the needle-point of the compass, and the mountainous landscape of the Nordic countries.

How it all began

“Good ideas will make something of themselves” – that was the belief with which Argo Saul laid the foundations for the success of his company. The story of Argo and his timber houses dates back to 1997 when he started working in Norway. A player in the sales and consultation sector, he noted the popularity of environmentally friendly timber houses in the homeland of the fjord. Five years later he met the grand old man of recreational housing, Asbjørn Buen, whose main area of interest was merging the timber house construction resources of Norway and Estonia. The undertaking the men pioneered and their shared vision led to the creation of a successful joint company between the two countries. The first production unit manufacturing Nordic Houses’ pre-fab timber buildings was established just two weeks after the men met. One good idea really had made something of itself! The first contract between Argo and Asbjørn was signed on a napkin.

Our certificates:

ETA (European Technical Approval) certificate – ETA -11/0205. This certificate was issued by SINTEF (Selskapet for Industriell og Teknisk Forskning ved Norges tekniske høgskole), the biggest independent institute for industrial and technological studies in the Nordic countries. Products certified by SINTEF meet all valid European technical requirements and guarantee clients the reliability of a certified company.

ISO – The ISO 9001:2008 certificate issued to us by DNV Certification is valid in the fields of design, production, sales and assembly of timber-frame buildings.

    Working together

    As a company we value good, dependable partners who help our everyday operations run smoothly and successfully. We turn a lot of attention to ensuring that the materials and services we supply are first-rate, since that’s the only way that environmentally friendly timber buildings that have been produced responsibly and to a high degree of quality can be made.

    Contributing to our success on a daily basis are our valued partners:


       
     
     
     
      
     
       
       
       
     
     
     
       
     
     
     

    We’re looking for partners on the following target markets: Norway | Sweden | Germany

    These are our main expectations of our B2B partners:

    • your company must be registered;

    • you must speak the language(s) of the local market, as well as having a good grasp of English;

    • you must be prepared to strike up a long-term working relationship with us;

    • you must have construction-related knowhow relevant to your market;

    • you must be familiar with construction-related legislation in your region;

    • you must have experience of customer service and project management;

    • you must be familiar with import/export-related legislation; and

    • you must be reliable.


    Responsibility

    Running a business responsibly means readily taking the surrounding environment into account in your everyday operations and relationships and adopting a respectful and considerate approach to your employees, your clients, the market, Mother Nature and those in need. Responsible companies take an interest in assessing the social and environmental impact of what they do. In fact, such responsibility accompanies us every step of the way, every day, because it’s not just a set of regulated activities – it’s a way of thinking.

    For us, one way of actively contributing to the sustainable development of the living environment is to organise activities with a social angle or that are designed to be kind to nature. We favour projects that have a positive influence on the world around us and that support development, education and broader horizons. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    Below are some examples of things we’ve championed.

    The environment

    We know the true value of a timber house, and we do everything we can to pass that knowledge on to others.

    Timber-frame buildings are where house construction is at today and where it’s going tomorrow. In terms of both ecology and the cost of construction, timber-frame buildings guarantee a hard-wearing, environmentally friendly, high-quality home for generations to come.

    Timber’s a strong, energy-efficient material that creates a warm, healthy, safe and cost-effective living environment. Use of timber as a building material ensures a low carbon footprint – in fact, timber structures save CO2 rather than generating it.

    The production of timber-frame buildings hasn’t led and won’t lead to the disappearance of our forests. Quite the reverse: FSC- and PEFC-certified suppliers guarantee the economical and sustainable management of forests, thanks to which more trees are planted in Estonia than are felled.

    The big advantage of timber structures is that they’re produced under controlled conditions indoors, protecting the building from external conditions and ensuring that a close eye is kept on the production process all along the chain. This reduces the risk of moisture damage and enhances the quality of the project.

    Timber-frame buildings are just as durable as the old log houses that have proven their worth, many of which here in Northern Europe are over 100 years old. Moreover, if you compare a timber-frame building produced in a factory with contemporary construction methods, the quality and simplicity of the structure are significantly greater and the environmental impact they have is smaller.

    Estonian timber house producers have long since shown that the story of the three little pigs needs rewriting, since in a timber house you’re fully protected from the big, bad wolf: he can huff and puff all he likes, but there’s no way he’s blowing your house down!

    Charity

    The charity projects we undertake are mostly connected to being environmentally friendly in an educational way.

    Nesting boxes all over Estonia

    In 2014, in cooperation with Tallinn Bird Club, we made nesting boxes for a variety of birds according to their needs and characteristics. We made them so that the birds can again nest in parks and forests close to us where management has resulted in a lack of old, hollow trees. School kids from all over Estonia helped us put the nesting boxes up.

    Between November 2015 and May 2016, instructors from the Estonian Ornithological Society paid visits to kindergartens the length and breadth of the country, teaching the kids about the birds they find in their gardens in summer and winter and how they can help them. Throughout winter they monitored the comings and goings at the feeding stations, then in spring nesting boxes were prepared and the kids studied the birdlife around their kindergartens. A total of 57 classes from 39 kindergartens in nine counties took part in the study programme, including 1089 kids and 148 teachers and other grown-ups. The project was supported by the Environmental Investment Centre, while Nordic Houses provided the nesting boxes.

    We plant trees

    On 7 May 2016 we held a tree-planting event during which we planted close to 3000 pine trees in support of the education of Estonia’s youngsters. Our hard-working collective, alongside the NGO Hea Tahte Koda, whose members are the Estonian alumni of the unique international youth programme Up with People, have put together a project giving members of the public the chance to support the involvement of kids from Estonia in the programme by buying trees (see http://will.ee). In its activities, Up with People supports (among other things) an environmentally friendly and sustainable way of life at the global level, since over the years youngsters from 100 different countries have taken part in the programme. Estonia is a country of forests. Ulvar Kaubi, a representative of the State Forest Management Centre, commented on the busy day: “Everyone really put their backs into it. By the time we’d gotten about halfway through I thought the heat might wear people out and their rumbling tummies might get the better of them before everything was finished, but they soldiered on and we got all 3000 pines planted. Making a forest together puts a smile on people’s faces – everyone was really happy to be a part of it. The symbolic value of the land we were planting the trees on, which is just outside Hageri in Rapla County, is boosted by the knowledge that it’ll contribute to Hea Tahte Koda’s support for kids’ education.

    Replenishing forests and planting new trees is a very important area of activity for the State Forest Management Centre. In order to manage forests sparingly you have to take good care of them over the years. This spring we’ll be planting almost 20 million trees in our national forests. After that we’ll be keeping an eye on all of the areas we plant them in, which will see the growth of a new generation of forest.”

    Hea Tahte Koda and Nordic Houses would like to thank the fantastic instructors and everyone who shared their forestry wisdom with us, as well as the State Forest Management Centre’s Priit Kõresaar (director of silviculture for the south-west region) and Kadri Rütmann (forest ranger and forestry manager for the Rapla County forest management district). We hope this one-off event will turn into a long-standing tradition in support of expanding the horizons of diligent youngsters from Estonia and helping them discover the world.

    Bird-watching tower in Vihasoo

    A brand-new bird-watching tower is under construction in the coastal meadow in Vihasoo in Kuusalu municipality. Once completed, it will reach a height of 7 metres. “At first the plan was to build a 3-metre tower, but the decision was taken to erect a taller tower in order to provide a better view of the small islands in Eru Bay,” explained Linda Metsaorg from the Eru Bay Coastal People’s Association during the cornerstone ceremony held on 6 July 2016. “It’s great that there’s a company like Nordic Houses in Kuusalu that’s so willing to help out. The support they’ve given us in financing the construction of the tower and helping to get it erected is really gratifying.” We’ll find out more about the tower once it’s been completed.

    We support culture

    The Estonian Golf & Country Club in Jõelähtme played host to a summer theatre performance of ‘Salamander’. We provided the theatre building for the event, along with a terrace, so that the public would have a brand new venue at which to enjoy culture during the warmer months. The performance was a great success, as our own enterprising troupe saw first-hand.

    Enjoyment of life

    Good companies care about their employees all the time – not just when they’re at their desks or on the factory floor. Here at Nordic Houses we like to spend time together in a different sort of way every now and then.

    In order to gauge the internal climate in an organization, people normally measure employees’ satisfaction. It’s a fact that’s been proven in innumerable studies that contented workers work more efficiently and with greater dedication. Of course, whether and how companies contribute to their employees is up to them. Satisfied staff are also important from the point of view of a company’s reputation. Happy workers do better teamwork and there’s a nice atmosphere in the company. Events that all of your workers get involved in give everyone a lift – they’ll still be talking about them months later.

    Our 10th anniversary

    Special days are always worth marking – especially when they’re anniversaries.

    Motivation day at Raudsilla

    A great day spent in great company, striking a balance between useful brainstorming and much-needed fun!


    Opening party of our new office

    An Estonian take on Norwegian Independence Day

    Generating ideas on how to improve our processes, first in theory and then in practice – leading to creative solutions via Photo Hunt. Here are some of the best!

    Theatre, meet Nature – Nature, meet Theatre

    The Estonian Golf & Country Club in Jõelähtme played host to a theatre performance in summer, staged in none other than one of our Nordic Compact home modules. Our troupe was in the audience and enjoyed a warm summer’s night full of culture.

    Fundertakings