Panel construction

Panel construction in Bulgaria: What it is, how it is used and what are its advantages and disadvantages

Panel residential buildings are one of the most numerous buildings in Bulgaria. But what exactly is this construction and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

After the end of the Second World War, Bulgaria entered a period of accelerated industrialization. This inevitably leads to a huge influx of population into the cities, which in turn leads to a deepening housing crisis. For this reason, government engaged in research in the field of construction began to look for a way to quickly and relatively cheaply meet housing needs. Prefabricated buildings are the most promising for this purpose.

Looking at the period before 1990 in Bulgaria, panel residential buildings are one of the most characteristic residential buildings in the country. They were built as part of the socialist housing development program and were part of the modern trend of mass production of standard model housing.

Panel construction in Bulgaria started in 1958, as it was imported from France, Germany, and Great Britain. However, this type of construction was first used in the USA at the beginning of the twentieth century in a suburb of New York.

The first experiments with the construction of prefabs in Bulgaria were carried out in the period 1959-1961.

The first panel houses in Bulgaria were built in the Tolstoy neighborhood of Sofia. Approximately in the period between 1960 and 1980, panel construction became so widespread in our country that it surpassed that in Western Europe.

In this period, house-building factories were established in Bulgaria, in which the panels needed for the construction of residential blocks were produced. In essence, these panels were grids of rebar cast in concrete. These concrete panels were then hauled to the construction site, lifted by crane, and the projecting steel members were welded to those of the other panels. Finally, the joints were filled with concrete.

The advantages of this construction model are low construction costs, short construction times and convenience for residents. On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages, such as the lack of individuality in the design and poor sound insulation.

In the 90s of the last century, the great boom of this type of panel construction ended.

This type of construction is characteristic and massive for Bulgaria – there are whole neighborhoods that are built only with such buildings. The prefabricated buildings are easy to recognize – they are between 4 and 8 stories high, have the same type of terraces and architecture, and are arranged as if according to a mold.

Prefabricated buildings are an integral part of the appearance of almost every Bulgarian city. They are part of our cultural heritage and have their value as a historical example of residential construction. Panel blocks in Bulgaria are one of the brightest symbols of socialism. Statistics show that currently over 2 million Bulgarians live in a total of 20,000 panel blocks throughout the country. Today, many of these buildings have undergone renovations to improve the quality of life for residents and increase their energy efficiency.