How to fix construction defects in new buildings

Pho­to: ShutterStock/Fotodom.ru

Apart­ments in new build­ings are rent­ed “in con­crete”, pre­pared for fine fin­ish­ing (with floor screed and aligned walls and ceil­ing) or com­plete­ly ready for occu­pan­cy. In any case, obvi­ous and hid­den defects are often found in the acquired dwelling. First, let’s talk about the legal side of the issue.


Today, in the con­struc­tion of mul­ti-apart­ment res­i­den­tial build­ings, the share form, reg­u­lat­ed by Fed­er­al Law No. 214-FZ (as amend­ed, effec­tive from Jan­u­ary 1, 2017), absolute­ly dom­i­nates. This act pro­vides for the devel­op­er’s respon­si­bil­i­ty for elim­i­nat­ing the short­com­ings of the object (apart­ment and the whole house) dur­ing the war­ran­ty peri­od, the peri­od of which is spec­i­fied in the con­tract, but can­not be less than 5 years. True, the guar­an­tee for tech­no­log­i­cal and engi­neer­ing equip­ment is usu­al­ly less. In addi­tion, the devel­op­er may try to prove in court that the cause of the defect was the nat­ur­al wear and tear of the object, vio­la­tion of the rules for its oper­a­tion or improp­er repair.

In fair­ness, we note that most con­struc­tion com­pa­nies do not seek con­flict with res­i­dents and are ready to make an agree­ment. How­ev­er, it is extreme­ly impor­tant to fix all the imper­fec­tions in the pho­to and list them in the act of accep­tance of the apart­ment. Fur­ther, you can demand “gra­tu­itous elim­i­na­tion of defects with­in a rea­son­able time, a com­men­su­rate reduc­tion in the price of the con­tract, or reim­burse­ment of your expens­es for the elim­i­na­tion of defects.”

What to pre­fer? It is not dif­fi­cult to get a free vis­it of the repair team, but the mas­ters have to wait for weeks, and, alas, they do not always man­age to solve the prob­lem the first time. It is often pos­si­ble to fix a defect on your own faster and with a bet­ter result, but dis­putes with the devel­op­er about the esti­mate can­not be avoid­ed (it is pos­si­ble that you will have to resolve the issue through the courts). How­ev­er, in both cas­es, it is desir­able to imag­ine the tech­ni­cal side of the issue — oth­er­wise you will not be able to assess the qual­i­ty of the work.

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  1. To accept an apart­ment, it is bet­ter to invite an expert from a spe­cial­ized com­pa­ny. The cost of the ser­vice is from 15 thou­sand rubles.
  2. When mak­ing claims to the devel­op­er com­pa­ny, try to reach an ami­ca­ble agree­ment and not bring the case to tri­al.
  3. Do not sign the act of accep­tance and trans­fer of the apart­ment, where there is a note about the absence of claims of the share­hold­er to the premis­es.
  4. If the con­struc­tion com­pa­ny goes bank­rupt, the sell­er elim­i­nates the imper­fec­tions.

Wrong installation of windows

Up to 60% of com­plaints about build­ing defects are asso­ci­at­ed with improp­er instal­la­tion of win­dows and bal­cony doors. Some of these prob­lems are rel­a­tive­ly easy to solve, oth­ers require the dis­man­tling of struc­tures.

Smudges on the walls extend­ing from the low­er cor­ners of the win­dow. The most like­ly caus­es are poor seal­ing of the mount­ing seam and improp­er instal­la­tion of the ebb. Win­dows in new build­ings are mount­ed in accor­dance with GOST 30971–2002 “Mount­ing seams for adjoin­ing win­dow blocks to wall open­ings.” This stan­dard reg­u­lates the meth­ods of lev­el­ing and fas­ten­ing the win­dow block in the open­ing, as well as seal­ing the gap between the frame and the wall. Accord­ing to GOST, the out­er lay­er of the assem­bly seam respon­si­ble for water­proof­ing can be a pre-com­pressed seal­ing tape (PSUL).

If the mount­ing gap is incor­rect and the tape is of poor qual­i­ty, the lat­ter does not pro­tect against mois­ture, and some­times the seal is sim­ply blown out by the wind. As a result, rain­wa­ter impreg­nates the mid­dle lay­er (polyurethane foam) and pen­e­trates into the room. The sit­u­a­tion can be aggra­vat­ed by an incor­rect­ly set low tide — too short or hav­ing a counter-slope. Seal the seam is not so dif­fi­cult. To begin with, the ebb is dis­man­tled and the irreg­u­lar­i­ties of the wall, traces of mor­tar or foam that inter­fere with its cor­rect posi­tion are removed — with a slope of about 10% from the house. Then the tin pan­el is returned to its place, “plant­ed” on the roof­ing sealant, and addi­tion­al­ly fixed with screws. (If the dimen­sions of the old tide do not match the open­ing, a new one is need­ed.) Next, remove the out­er lay­er of the seam along the perime­ter of the frame, fill in a new tape and plas­ter the gap with a strong sand-cement mor­tar (one part cement to two parts sand) or tile adhe­sive. Anoth­er option is to replace the PSUL with a high-qual­i­ty roof­ing sealant (brands Soudal, Tytan Pro­fes­sion­al, Tech­noN­IKOL, etc.). When seal­ing the seam, crafts­men must seal the adja­cent sur­faces of the frame and wall with mask­ing tape.

How to fix construction defects in new buildings

If the win­dow is installed incor­rect­ly, sec­tions of the walls near it may suf­fer from mois­ture, and they will have to be put­tied again. Pho­to: ShutterStock/Fotodom.ru

Leaks on win­dowsill after rain. The prob­lem is often caused by clogged win­dow drainage holes with dust and grit. The entrances to these open­ings are locat­ed in the bot­tom rebate, and they are easy to find when the sash is open. You can clean the holes your­self with any thin rod — it is not at all nec­es­sary to invite repair­men. It is also worth check­ing the con­di­tion of the sym­met­ri­cal expan­sion holes in the top pro­file of the frame, although they are much less like­ly to clog.

The win­dow is leaky and hard to close. The rea­son may be incor­rect adjust­ment of the fit­tings (this defect is eas­i­ly elim­i­nat­ed) or a mis­align­ment of the frame dur­ing instal­la­tion. In the sec­ond case, the repair con­sists in open­ing the mount­ing joint from the inside — for this, a plas­tic flash­ing or slop­ing sand­wich pan­els are removed or the plas­ter is knocked down. Then you will have to com­plete­ly clean the mount­ing foam from the gap (this is a rather painstak­ing and long work), loosen the frame fas­ten­ers and try to return it to the cor­rect geom­e­try using wedges that act main­ly on the cor­ners of the struc­ture. At the same time, it is impos­si­ble to make great efforts: the wedges are insert­ed by hand, in extreme cas­es they are slight­ly knocked out with a wood­en mal­let. Alas, it is not always pos­si­ble to achieve a sat­is­fac­to­ry result: the pro­files can be plas­ti­cal­ly deformed in many places, and it is not pos­si­ble to “bring them out”, even by sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­ing the num­ber of attach­ment points. In this case, you will have to com­plete­ly dis­man­tle the old win­dow blocks and install new ones.

Floor screed defects

In apart­ments pre­pared for fine fin­ish­ing, there are defects in the floor screed. Some­times new own­ers are faced with a whole “bou­quet of dis­eases” that require pro­fes­sion­al and expen­sive “treat­ment”.

The tie is bad­ly aligned. Accord­ing to SP 29.13330.2011 “Floors”, the gaps between the two-meter con­trol rail and the sur­face to be checked should not exceed 2 mm. If crit­i­cal devi­a­tions from the hor­i­zon­tal are small in area (they have the char­ac­ter of local pits and influx­es of mor­tar), it will be pos­si­ble to lev­el the floor with a per­fo­ra­tor and put­ty for cement bases. If defects are found in many places, insist on adding a lay­er of liq­uid lev­el­ing agent over the entire area of ​​​​the screed.

The screed cracks and flakes. The men­tioned joint ven­ture requires that the com­pres­sive strength of a mono­lith­ic cement-sand screed be at least 15 MPa (about 150 kgf / m2), and if an elas­tic heat and sound insu­lat­ing sub­strate is locat­ed under the con­crete lay­er — at least 20 MPa. If the tech­nol­o­gy is vio­lat­ed (the use of low-qual­i­ty mix­tures, improp­er dry­ing, the absence of dampers along the walls, etc.), it is impos­si­ble to achieve these indi­ca­tors. You can check the strength of the screed with a scle­rom­e­ter, but usu­al­ly the mar­riage is easy to deter­mine with a sim­ple inspec­tion: deep and wide (more than 1 mm) cracks are vis­i­ble on the con­crete, mate­r­i­al het­ero­gene­ity is notice­able, and the top lay­er is peel­ing. If the screed is weak, but well lev­eled and adhered to the base, its repair con­sists in joint­ing and seal­ing cracks with fiber cement mor­tar and then top­ping up a lay­er of fast-hard­en­ing cement or gyp­sum mix­ture with a thick­ness of 15–20 mm.

The screed deformed dur­ing dry­ing. This defect reveals itself as a char­ac­ter­is­tic thud when walk­ing. As a rule, it can be elim­i­nat­ed by injec­tion: a hole (or sev­er­al holes) is drilled in con­crete and a liq­uid repair com­pound is poured into the voids using a syringe gun. Since the “bub­bling” screed usu­al­ly devi­ates sig­nif­i­cant­ly from the hor­i­zon­tal, it is nec­es­sary to add a lay­er of lev­el­ing agent on top.

How to fix construction defects in new buildings

In the log­gias, alu­minum win­dows with sin­gle panes are often replaced with warm plas­tic ones (of course, at their own expense). Such an upgrade can be agreed on a noti­fi­ca­tion basis. Pho­to: KBE

Serious building defects

Some­times new set­tlers face such prob­lems, which are extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to solve, and the sit­u­a­tion wors­ens due to the fact that defects can­not always be attrib­uted to con­struc­tion defects. Poor exhaust and lack of ven­ti­la­tion. In most mod­ern homes, exhaust ven­ti­la­tion works sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly and wall or win­dow air inlets are pro­vid­ed. But there are also excep­tions. With a weak hood, you should com­plain to the man­age­ment com­pa­ny, which will file a claim with the devel­op­er.

How to fix construction defects in new buildings

struc­tur­al noise. Most of all, he wor­ries the inhab­i­tants of apart­ments locat­ed above the base­ment, occu­pied by trade and ser­vice enter­pris­es. The equip­ment locat­ed there cre­ates vibra­tions that prop­a­gate far along the rigid­ly con­nect­ed struc­tur­al ele­ments of the build­ing. You can deal with such noise only from the source. Home­own­ers asso­ci­a­tions should require own­ers of shops, ware­hous­es, etc. to move refrig­er­a­tion and oth­er equip­ment to insu­lat­ing podi­ums and move away from the walls.

How to fix construction defects in new buildings

With sig­nif­i­cant lev­el dif­fer­ences (more than 20 mm), the floor is re-lev­elled. Before this, it is advis­able to make water­proof­ing or use a semi-dry mix­ture to pre­vent leak­age through cracks to neigh­bors. Pho­to: ShutterStock/Fotodom.ru

Mold and odors. The rea­sons for the appear­ance of a fun­gus on the walls and ceil­ings of a new build­ing are the high humid­i­ty of struc­tures and fin­ish­ing lay­ers, as well as poor ven­ti­la­tion of the premis­es. With­out elim­i­nat­ing them, it is use­less to fight mold with chem­i­cals. Attempt­ing to dry the sur­faces with a heat gun can cause the plas­ter to crack. The ammo­nia smell of a win­ter addi­tive to con­crete is also not easy to beat. Only pro­longed ven­ti­la­tion of the rooms in warm weath­er will help here.

How to fix construction defects in new buildings

For lay­ing cables, walls have to be scraped, which is extreme­ly unprof­itable in apart­ments pre­pared for fin­ish­ing. It is bet­ter to try to stretch a new wire using the old one. Pho­to: SST


You can check the qual­i­ty of rough fin­ish­ing work your­self.

  1. Attach to the walls at the lev­el of the plinth and cor­nice an even bar or the work­ing edge of a spat­u­la with a length of at least 1 m. If there are gaps of more than 1 mm between it and the wall, the wall requires put­ty­ing.
  2. Exam­ine exte­ri­or walls and cor­ners. Make sure that there are no wet areas, cracks or swelling of the plas­ter.
  3. Putting a bub­ble lev­el on a flat board, deter­mine the slope of the screed. The max­i­mum allow­able lev­el dif­fer­ence is 4 mm per 2 m.
  4. Make sure that sock­ets and switch­es are locat­ed accord­ing to the design scheme.
  5. Check if the main pipes for heat­ing and water sup­ply are dam­aged.

If the fin­ish is dam­aged as a result of a con­struc­tion defect (for exam­ple, leaky win­dows), the devel­op­er is oblig­ed to restore it, but this is not always easy to achieve. Well, if the apart­ment was hand­ed over ready for occu­pan­cy, the defect was dis­cov­ered imme­di­ate­ly and the con­tract­ing com­pa­ny still had the nec­es­sary mate­ri­als (wall­pa­per, paint, floor cov­er­ings). Then the prob­lem will be solved with­in a month or two. In all oth­er cas­es, repairs will have to be car­ried out at their own expense, by send­ing an appli­ca­tion to the devel­op­er demand­ing com­pen­sa­tion for expens­es. It is prac­ti­cal­ly use­less to insist on cor­rect­ing minor flaws (chips on doors and archi­trav­es, dents on the floor cov­er­ing, etc.) in an apart­ment with a fin­ished fin­ish.

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  • Source: Ideas for Your Home Magazine#218