Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

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This article should help customers of repair and construction work to avoid common mistakes and to use their funds wisely. The first part will be devoted to general issues: planning, interaction with all participants in the process, materials, prices and deadlines.

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

It’s time to make repairs. The images of the new interior are already pleasing our imagination, but for some reason a little uneasy in our souls. Those who have already gone through this life stage know how expensive and troublesome this event is, how much physical strength and mental energy it can take away. The most harmless thing is to go beyond your budget or time frame. However, much more trouble is caused by technical miscalculations and hidden defects that can cause a man-made accident on the scale of a single apartment building with all the ensuing financial consequences, such as a flood or fire..

Experienced developers already know how the “renovation” works in domestic realities, where the pitfalls lie, and what to look for. But beginners have to learn from their own mistakes, stepping on the same rake. Meanwhile, practicing repair and construction organizations and teams, based on their own experience, have developed their own systematic approach to repairing an apartment, which helps to reduce or reduce to zero all existing risks. In fact, the scheme for all repairmen turns out to be approximately the same (with minor deviations), which is dictated by objective logic and technological expediency. In order to cover a wider range of topical issues, further we will talk about a full-fledged overhaul of an apartment with the involvement of hired experienced workers. This is, so to speak, the “maximum complete set” of repairs, which is suitable for both long-operated buildings and new buildings.


To start renovating an apartment with buying materials is the most “egregious” mistake. It doesn’t matter whether you will be repairing the apartment yourself or will hire professional builders, you need to plan your actions in advance, starting with global issues and ending with seemingly trifles. The apotheosis of planning is usually a project where we put the contractors back on track. In addition to solving technical problems, it will be the executive document on the basis of which the estimate is drawn up, the timing of the implementation of each stage is controlled, the acceptance of work and calculations are carried out.

Tested: Good design helps optimize costs and shorten repair times.

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

The project includes two main parts: visual (drawing, interior design); technical (dimensions and types of structures, points of engineering communications, specification of building materials …). Therefore, ideally, an experienced designer, naturally close to construction, should deal with the design of repairs. Now you can easily find people who develop well-balanced, technically correct projects. However, you will still be required to give the developer a “technical task”, you will be asked a lot of questions that you should think about in advance. What you need to do to get started:

  1. Together with all the household members, think about how the renovated apartment will look like. Find suitable images in thematic magazines, make sketches.
  2. Go shopping, pick up (don’t buy yet) finishing materials. Write down technical data and part numbers so that later you can easily find what you like and approved.
  3. Select the home appliances and lighting fixtures to be installed in the apartment. Make notes in which you indicate the exact names, dimensions and main technical characteristics of the products, in particular the power consumption. If possible, take a picture of the main positions of structures, panels on which there are pins for connection.
  4. Choose a bath, toilet, washbasin, faucets. Record or photograph everything.
  5. Look after the furniture if ready-made items will be purchased. Explore the dimensions.
  6. Find firms engaged in furniture, air conditioning, doors (entrance and interior), windows.
  7. Decide on the layout of the apartment. Measure your dwelling, make a scaled plan of the premises on paper or a computer, where the arrangement of furniture, household appliances, and sanitary ware will be indicated. Based on the points listed above, predict the locations of outlets, switches, plumbing, electrical outlets – make a separate technical plan. Detail complex and rich areas – ceilings, single walls, etc..

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

Repair price, budgeting

How much will it cost to renovate an apartment – the most important question for us. Costs are made up of the cost of work and the cost of materials, the ratio between which can vary over a wide range. In a future apartment, average in terms of “comfort”, it is at the 1: 1 mark. The cost of repairing an apartment saturated with utilities with intricate design solutions will differ from simple options at times. First of all, more funds will be spent on materials, but work will also be more expensive. In terms of numbers, organizations and large teams charge 7-12 thousand rubles per square meter on the floor for work (turnkey, overhaul), plus rough materials – this is still within the range of 4-7 thousand.

To find out exactly how much money needs to be prepared, we recommend inviting a responsible representative of the contractor and asking to calculate the repairs (this way you can get several commercial offers and compare them). A person with a tape measure and an inspection tool will come to you, listen to your wishes, examine the structures of the apartment (level differences, load-bearing capacity, condition of the main elements), determine and discuss with you the list of necessary works. After 2-3 days, you will receive an estimate for repair and construction work for consideration, indicating the main operations (there are several dozen of them) and prices for square meters / running meters, as well as repairs in general. As a bonus for this stage of interaction, you can be provided with a list of required materials with an estimated cost and costs for the logistics of the facility. Please note that both documents must include unforeseen expenses in the amount of 10-15%, if this is not the case, then you have an inexperienced builder or sly.

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

It should be noted that with a solid list of works, it may not be complete, since there are no absolutely universal builders. Therefore, you need to take into account the payment for the services of third-party contractors (air conditioners, furniture, windows / doors, alarms, stretch ceilings, etc.).

Choosing a contractor

Obviously, one cannot give preference to one or another performer only in terms of prices for work. Only experienced craftsmen, who carefully and thoroughly do their job, can cope with the tasks at the proper level, naturally, they know their worth. Please note that the cost of repairs also depends on the cost of materials, which means that the overall savings in choosing “cheaper” workers will be leveled (approximately doubled), and the risks will increase. In order not to be mistaken, you will have to arrange a “casting” and take into account a number of important points:

  1. Good repairmen are in demand and almost never get to work right away. Often they put you in line, as they must fulfill their earlier obligations..
  2. People who have been working for more than one year are ready to show the customer already handed over objects (a portfolio in the form of photographs is not quite that). It is better if the brigade was recommended to you by someone you know.
  3. The ideal option is if the organization is licensed, the repair is under engineering and technical control, contracts are drawn up, and a guarantee is given for at least a year..
  4. It is important that the services offered by the invited specialists are as wide as possible, starting with completing the object with materials and ending with checking the work of subcontractors.
  5. The estimate must be complete and competent, the work must be divided into stages, with a schedule.
  6. You should be told the adequate time frame for the project. Practice shows that an apartment of 100 m2 repaired in at least 5-6 months, with the simultaneous participation of 3-4 craftsmen. But for a 50-meter apartment, it will take about 4 months.

How to prepare for a repair

If the renovation of the apartment is just around the corner, then it will have to leave, since it is impossible to achieve quality if you work “by room”. Believe me, it’s impossible to live on a construction site. The problem is usually solved by temporary rental housing. The second point is furniture and household appliances. The apartment must be completely vacated so that nothing interferes and remains intact.

It is necessary to make copies of the keys to the existing (still old) door so that you, the foreman and the workers have them. In some cases, it makes sense to put additional locks, including padlocks.

The next step will be dismantling, so purchase garbage bags, a broom and a scoop. Sometimes it makes sense to equip the object with a mop and a rag for cleaning the entrance.

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

If you will be using plastering work or pouring screeds, then on the street it is worth preparing a place for sand (you can arrange it with a board “under the sandbox”, the children will still occupy it). Space may also be needed for unloading ready-made mortar.

Find and organize a trash bag display area. ZhEKs usually strictly monitor this and demand to immediately release the adjacent territory, so you need to take care of garbage collection on the same day. It is worth maintaining good relations with the service organization, since you will have to go there more than once, for example, to shut off water or heating, to replace pipes.

Agree with workers about a smoking area. If it is completely forbidden to smoke in the apartment, then people go to the interfloor area or to the street, in any case there are problems with neighbors, due to smoke or dirty floors. Good options for solving the problem are a balcony or a fire staircase (in new buildings, it has open areas).

Exchange phone numbers with the foreman and with the workers (as a rule, it is enough to have a connection with one person who is constantly at the facility). However, make it a rule to discuss all technical and organizational issues only with an engineer-technical worker, most likely you will be asked about this.

When inviting subcontractors to the facility (air conditioners, furniture makers, low current installers, window makers, carpenters …), be sure to invite the foreman responsible for apartment renovation – organize a briefing at which topical technical issues will be resolved. In some cases, the participation of a designer will be required, unless, of course, you have agreed on the appropriate support of the project.

Determine a work schedule with the general contractor. This will help you control the progress of work, as well as provide access to the apartment for subcontractors at a given time, or ensure the unloading and lifting of building materials. The customer must know for sure that there are people at the facility, for example, from 8:00 to 16:00, all days except Sunday.

Particular attention should be paid to interaction with neighbors, otherwise you can seriously spoil relations. In some cases, it is necessary to limit the performance of noisy work. For example, ask the builders not to work with a puncher on Saturday or, even more so, on Sunday (if everything is organized correctly, then all the holes can be prepared the day before to ensure the work front). Similarly, there are times when neighbors ask for a quiet hour in the lunch area so that you can put your child to bed..

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

A separate issue is keeping the entrance clean. Obviously, it is impossible to store garbage and materials here, many builders prefer to regularly clean up at the entrance, especially on the day of receiving material or shipment of garbage.

Another important point is the replacement of heating, water supply and sewerage risers in old houses. It is better to agree in advance with the neighbors from above, below (sometimes on the floor) about replacing rusty pipes to their apartment, so as not to leave old communications in the most vulnerable place – in the floor array. In most cases, the arguments “for” outweigh, and people agree, since then it will be very easy for them to modernize their communications.

It is somewhat more difficult to prepare for the renovation for the residents of the uppermost floor. In this case, you should inspect the roof for leaks, inspect the pipes located in the attic. Sometimes you need to replace the bulk material that is on the floor of the attic and serves as a heater for your ceiling..

When starting an apartment renovation, be sure to take care of metering devices. Water meters, electric and gas meters – they all have seals that must remain intact throughout the entire repair, the same applies to the buildings. Focus the attention of the contractor on this, ask them to make temporary protective covers. As the communications are replaced, you will most likely have to order the unsealing of these devices, in some cases it will be logical to immediately order and check the meters. In order to avoid problems, follow all the requirements for installing meters and organizing inputs.

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

If you are going to make redevelopment (including the arrangement of openings in the load-bearing walls), or change the configuration of the main engineering networks (gas, heating, plumbing), then you will need to contact the relevant organizations and coordinate these activities. Expertise, commissioning, renegotiation of the contract – everything can take quite a long time, up to two to three months, so you should take care of this in advance.

How to buy materials

Feel free to trust the representatives of the contractor in the purchase and delivery of materials for rough work. Practicing construction organizations will complete the facility as needed, without cluttering the apartment with unnecessary items. At the same time, you can be almost one hundred percent sure that these will be high-quality materials suitable for work (unless, of course, you were not mistaken with the choice of the contractor). No one will accuse you of downtime due to a lack of building materials, and no one can justify a marriage with counterfeit components. You may be charged a little money for logistics, but these costs are usually paid off by the moderate cost of materials, since the contractor working in this area has discount discounts and their own transport. Also, the customer should not discount the saved time..

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

The situation is somewhat more complicated with finishing materials; your direct participation is required here, since the choice is rather subjective. Definitely: the types of materials used should be negotiated in advance, at the stage of budgeting – this affects the order of work, the technology for preparing the bases and some design solutions. It is very important that, in addition to questions about the required number of specific products, you also consult with the foreman on technical characteristics and, especially, on the quality of materials. The bulk of the repair products on the market have been repeatedly tested by experienced builders, all the pros and cons of various materials from various manufacturers, their compatibility with each other are known. For example, you should be wary of wallpaper from new collections (there are often problems with the pattern), or you should not expect perfect seams from too large tiles (such products have problems with plane and geometry). Chinese goods are also unpredictable..

In any case, the compliance of building materials with the tasks set must be determined directly in the store, therefore, it is advisable for the customer and the contractor’s representative (he is no less interested in the quality of the materials used) on a certain day to organize a joint visit to the store.

If we talk about large products (we include items of finished furniture, a bath, a shower, a washing machine, heating radiators, a boiler, an oven, a toilet, a washbasin, a cooker hood), then before buying, you also need to consult with builders. The location and size of the engineering leads will depend on their dimensions, configuration, power, connection method, which will then ensure smooth and correct connection. By the stage of redevelopment, wiring communications and performing rough work, it is necessary to decide on the models. These items are installed at the final stage of the repair, but access to them is needed now so that the contractor can get the necessary information. Ideally, if you immediately purchase these items and can store them in neutral territory.

Apartment renovation not with your own hands. Part 1: Organizational matters

Pay attention to the acceptance of materials. If delivery is carried out by a store, then it is necessary to check the safety of the purchased goods and the completeness of complex products during unloading. To prevent friction between the contractor and the customer on these issues (often damage occurs during installation), materials must be accepted together, immediately identifying all controversial points.

Of course, these are far from all the questions that may interest a novice customer of repair and construction works, but you should have a general picture. In the second part of the article, we will dwell on the procedure for carrying out the work and consider the nuances of all the main stages..

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