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.
Organization and preparation
How to accept an apartment after renovation: tips for different stages
4 ADVICE TO A NEW SETTLER
- 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.
- When making claims to the developer company, try to reach an amicable agreement and not bring the case to trial.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
In renovated apartments, laminate flooring is rarely laid without joints. Usually, at the boundaries of rooms, the coating is connected with special profiles made of aluminum or HDF. It is important that these thresholds are low. Photo: Neuhofer Holz
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Examine exterior walls and corners. Make sure that there are no wet areas, cracks or swelling of the plaster.
- 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.
- Make sure that sockets and switches are located according to the design scheme.
- 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.
Laws and finance
How to accept an apartment in a new building: detailed instructions
Source: Ideas for Your Home Magazine#218