Homes for a third of the price

Since 1948 Selvaag has been breaking new ground and setting standards for housebuilding in Norway. Today, more than 100,000 people live in a Selvaag home.

Homes-for-a-third

In 1948 an engineer from Lista named Olav Selvaag (1912-2002) revolutionised housebuilding in Norway. He was convinced that it was possible to build three times faster for a third of the price, and was challenged by the newspaper Morgenposten to prove his claim. Selvaag accepted, and in 1948 the famous Ekeberg House in Oslo was completed after only four months of building. The house was a sensation. As many as 80,000 people made their way to Ekeberg to view the property, which proved Selvaag’s theories about new and more efficient ways of building houses.

Selvaag’s new methods quickly became the industry standard. He developed new, better, more rational and more affordable building techniques, including more efficient use of materials. He introduced the serial production of standardised house and apartment types, which made them faster to build. In this way Selvaag made an important contribution to alleviating Norway’s severe post-war housing shortage. Initially Selvaag’s building methods and philosophy were extremely controversial among industry experts, but they gradually gained wider recognition.

Selvaag also had a number of radical proposals regarding urban development and transport projects. He was critical of the lack of systematic planning that characterised the capital city. His vision was that the city centre should be a vibrant place to live, full of people, just as it had originally been centuries before. Oslo’s links to the fjord was one subject close to his heart. He believed that the major trunk roads running along the edge of the fjord were an obstacle blocking people’s access to the sea.

In the 1980s he therefore launched the idea of an immersed tube tunnel that would lead traffic under the fjord from Filipstad in the west to Lodalen in the east. He offered to both build the tunnel and operate it, with the funding coming from road tolls payable over 20 years. Selvaag was far ahead of his time. It was not until many years later that the City of Oslo and the authorities decided to do something about the capital’s shoreline.

Today Olav Selvaag is recognised as one of Norway’s most important residential property developers of all time. Selvaag Bolig continues to expand on the unique experience it has acquired through the construction of almost 50,000 homes over more than 60 years.

In August 2008, the Selvaag Group’s residential development business was separated and continued as a standalone sub-group under the name Selvaag Bolig. As a key principle from the date of the separation, all transactions between Selvaag and Selvaag Bolig have been on a commercial, arm’s length basis. In 2011 Selvaag Bolig merged with the associated investment and residential development companies Hansa Property, SPE KS and bought all shares in the Stavanger based residential housing developer Bo En.

Selvaag Bolig ASA was listed at Oslo Børs on 14 June 2012.