Apartment renovation – how to control the construction team

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In this article: contractual registration of apartment renovation is required; the content of the construction contract; what you need to pay attention to in the estimate for apartment renovation; control of repair and construction work – how to behave with builders.

The long-awaited event is finally close to its denouement – the necessary amount of money has been prepared, the issue of placing households for the period of apartment renovation has been resolved, performers have been selected. The timing of the completion of the repair seems to have been agreed with a representative of a construction company or a team of foremen, however … everything is not going at all as it was originally intended. And costs for some unknown reason are growing in arithmetic progression, and repairs are not moving – what’s the problem? The thing is that you let the apartment renovation take its course, but you can’t do it for two reasons – you pay for this repair out of your own pocket, it is you who will live in the apartment after the renovation.

Preliminary stage – documenting future repairs

An indisputable fact is that only experienced craftsmen are capable of making major and even cosmetic repairs at the proper level, that is, in full accordance with the desires of the owners of apartments and houses, the choice of which is devoted to the previous article. However, regardless of the degree of professionalism of the builders, the customer of the repair must conclude a contractual relationship with them for one simple reason – in the event of litigation, only documents signed by both parties, that is, by the customer and the contractor (contractor), will be required. It is not a fact that the repair will be of poor quality and you will definitely have to sue the contractor, but it would be more correct to insure yourself in advance. It should be noted that a work contract can be drawn up not only with a construction company, but also with a private person, preferably with a foreman of builders – the Civil Code of the Russian Federation allows this.

The contract and estimate are not obliged to contain a standard set of general points – do not pay attention to the contractor’s assurances that he always “executed only such contracts (estimates) and no one objected before.” Moreover, I do not advise you to deal with contractors who do not want to enter the points you need into the contract and estimate, since this indicates their unreliability and low professionalism.

Contract for apartment renovation

Any work contract must consist of the following numbered sections:

  1. Name and subject of the contract. The title indicates “Contract for the repair of an apartment”, under it the names of the parties involved – the customer and the contractor. In the section “Subject of the contract” it is necessary to describe in sufficient detail the scope of work for the contractor, only “the contractor undertakes to repair the apartment on time” is not enough – you can describe the types and amount of work in a separate appendix, referring to it in the text of the contract.
  2. Terms of execution of the contract. In this section, the terms of the repair work agreed between the customer and the contractor are called, provided that the scope of work remains unchanged (i.e., the customer does not require any additional services from the contractor).
  3. The procedure for carrying out work and settlements by the parties. It makes sense to enter into the section as a separate item and as an annex to the contract “Schedule of work”, mentioning it in the contract – you can use the prepared and agreed estimate in this capacity. The conditions and form of payment should be negotiated – advance payments or payment upon completion of work at each stage (this option is better for the customer), cash or transfer of funds to the contractor’s bank account.
  4. Duties of the parties. In addition to standard clauses, clauses should be added to it on the timing of the elimination of deficiencies found by the customer, indicating specific terms. Clauses are required on the removal of construction waste, the contractor’s liability for damage to the customer’s property (plumbing, electrical wiring, floors, walls, etc.), on the acceptance of each stage of work, including hidden, in a separate act. The responsibility of the parties for delays in the stages of work and their payment, the amount of penalties (forfeit) is indicated.
  5. Warranty obligations. The terms are given, within which the contractor is obliged to make warranty repairs at his own expense and on his own, force majeure conditions. Attention!The contractor by any means will seek not to include clauses on the terms of warranty repairs in the contract, will try to establish the warranty period from the beginning of the repair work – insist that the warranty period begins from the moment of complete completion of the work, that is, the date of signing the acceptance certificate.
  6. Settlement of disputes. The text of this section is standard – all disputes between the parties are considered in the district (city, regional) court.
  7. Details of the parties. Here the full name, series and number of the customer’s passport, address of his registration, contact phone number and similar data on the contractor, if he is an individual (with the involvement of a private team) are indicated. If a construction company is involved in the repair of an apartment, then the full name of its head, legal name and address, current account and contact numbers are indicated.

In the process of preparing the text of the contract, you can look for compromises with the contractor, but you should not go with him. It will be correct to work out in detail each section and clause of the agreement with relatives or friends who are well versed in construction issues, as well as have a legal education – if they are absent in the circle of relatives and friends, contact independent consultants, and find them yourself. Before signing the contract, be sure to make sure that both copies of the contract and the annex to them are identical in text up to punctuation marks. Take your time yourself and don’t let the contractor rush you.

Apartment renovation estimate

For obvious reasons, construction contractors for the most part do not want to draw up a really detailed estimate, and it does not matter if it is a private owner or an employee of a construction company. The more detailed the estimate, the more difficult it is to “hide” unnecessary expenses and a low level of professionalism in it – let’s figure this out.

Examine the amount and scope of work. Each stage of repair and construction work consists of several technological operations, so it must be detailed. For example, floor screed work consists of the following operations: cleaning the old coating, removing debris; screed level markings; dust removal, priming of the floor surface; installation of beacons; preparation of screed mortar, floor pouring; removal of beacons, grouting of their installation sites, checking the screed for voids; final check of the screed surface using the rule. If the foreman really owns the issues of construction and repair work to the fullest, then it will not be difficult for him to make a detailed estimate.

Consumables – quantity, cost and quality. The quality of consumables (self-tapping screws, dry mixes, adhesives, etc.) must not only be coordinated with the contractor in words – it is required to indicate their names, brands and manufacturers’ names in the text of the estimate. The contractor can easily purchase cheap materials instead of the high-quality ones declared in the estimate without reference to the brand and manufacturer, however, take the amount from the customer, as for expensive ones. Subsequently, low-quality materials will show themselves as peeling walls, lagging decorative elements of decoration, etc..

When calculating the material, an increase in the actual demand by 7-10% is allowed, but no more. A professional craftsman will not need additional building materials in an amount exceeding 10% of the required – he does not make mistakes, which means he will not include in the estimate the elimination of deficiencies at the expense of the customer.

The needs for finishing materials, such as laminate flooring, tiles, wallpaper, etc., should be indicated in the estimate only with the name of the brand, manufacturer and cost – just square or molding is not enough.

It is not enough to indicate a certain amount in the paragraph “overhead costs” – the contractor must describe what exactly is included in this cost item and how much each subparagraph will cost the customer.

Now about additional estimates. If the customer did not make changes to the project of work in the process of their implementation, then where can these estimates come from at all, because the estimate was drawn up by the contractor? The appearance of such estimates means unprofessionalism or the initial desire of the contractor to hide part of the work and costs in order to understate the estimate, and after receiving the order and in the process of work, declare them – they say, the customer will not have a special choice, he will still agree. If you find yourself in such a situation, immediately part with the performer and start looking for a new one. Be principled – the performer should not make money on building material, only at work with him!

How to behave before, during and after renovation of an apartment (house)

Always formalize the contractual relationship with the contractors, trying to keep the contract as detailed as possible. Take your time to choose the first contractor that comes across, immediately agree to his terms – he will try to squeeze as much money out of you as possible.

Regardless of the characteristics and recommendations of the contractor, it will be necessary to control the progress of the repair and construction work personally – letting them go on their own and relying on the foreman of the hired company (brigade), you risk facing the worst consequences, from theft to fire (as an option, flooding of neighbors from below ).

The meaning of the word “advance”, with which the performers apply to you, should become absolutely unknown for the entire period of the repair – no advance payment should be paid to the builders, payment only after the completion of the stage of work and its acceptance by you. Monetary amounts in a predetermined amount are paid after each next stage of work accepted by you and nothing else. Do not pay attention to attempts to appeal to your humanity and a sense of compassion, explaining the need for an advance of an accident, the illness of your daughter, poor tests from the clinic or the sudden arrival of relatives – these are not your problems. Be adamant in this matter, otherwise, at the sight of your weakness, builders will not fail to take advantage of this for their own benefit..

Before the start of the repair work, that is, before the workers appear in the apartment, do the following: disconnect the intercity telephone line on the city telephone line by applying to the automatic telephone exchange; take all valuables out of the apartment, empty the safe and move its contents to the safe deposit box, renting it for a longer period than the expected duration of the repair; take pictures of the apartment from the inside and, if possible, outside (communications, window and door openings, ceilings, walls and floors), taking as many photos in good resolution as possible – this can be useful in case of a conflict with the contractor.

You should not follow the lead of builders who claim that they know better than yours what the repairs in the apartment should be – this is your property, the craftsmen make repairs in it for your money, so you should not be worried about their position on the design of the apartment. Stick to a simple principle: you know what you want to get as a result of the repair, and the task of the contractor and his craftsmen is to fulfill your desire, for which they will be paid the agreed amount of money. Stop any attempts by the construction team to change the design of the work on the basis that they know the construction business better.

Each purchase of building materials and their use should be monitored personally or through a trusted person – do not hesitate to weigh and measure the materials purchased at your expense at the end of the next stage of work. Many builders will not deny themselves the pleasure of borrowing some of the building materials by acquiring excess volume or, which is no less bad, by saving them – savings are unacceptable, because the quality of the repair will suffer from this.

Purchase building materials required only for the current stage of work. You should not purchase finishing materials and store them in a renovated apartment, since some of them will inevitably be damaged – construction workers tend to neglect the customer’s expenses. If you really want to buy them in advance for some reason, then store the entire volume of materials outside the apartment being repaired and without access to them for the contractor’s employees.

Be sure to visit the apartment being repaired at every stage of the work, about once a week – in any case, you must accept them by signing an interim acceptance certificate. However, you should not be present at the work site on a daily basis, as this will disturb the workers. Yes, take a picture of the apartment after each completed stage of the renovation work, save the pictures during the warranty period and even after it – they may be needed at the next regular renovation.

Drunkenness or moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages by members of the construction team on the territory of the apartment being repaired, or being drunk at the work site is categorically unacceptable! React immediately by refusing to cooperate with this contractor – this should not be discussed.

Stop any attempts of workers to live in your apartment, if this was not agreed in advance.

Each stage of repair work should end with cleaning and removal of construction debris by builders (if it was agreed) – insist on this unconditionally.

The essence of the recommendations described above boils down to one thing – the customer is none other than the employer, therefore, it is in his interests that the entire volume of work is performed at a high-quality level, within a certain period of time and without extra costs.

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