Renovation and European standards

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In this article: the definition of European-quality repair; what is the difference between “Russian” renovation and “European”; Russian analogue of technical rules for European repair; common mistakes during renovation.

Renovation and European standards

The interior decoration of any house, any apartment decays over time – slightly lagging wallpaper and in some places a darkened ceiling subtly hint to residents about the need for repair. But what will this renovation be like – light “cosmetics” with the replacement of wallpaper, painting the ceiling, plinths and, possibly, interior doors, or is it time for a major overhaul, or maybe a swing at European renovation and for the first time in your life feel like the owner of a full-fledged European housing? Ignoring the “cosmetics” and, albeit a larger, but the same boring “capital”, we will focus on European-quality repair and find out what is hidden behind this concept.

What is renovation

The usual picture of the delivery of an apartment building in Russia – all the main communications have been laid, the walls and ceiling are plastered, painted or pasted over with wallpaper, a standard set of plumbing fixtures (toilet, bathroom, sinks) is installed, internal and external doors are in place, flooring is available. This is how, according to the selection committee, apartments in a new building should look like upon delivery of the object. And what are the first steps the owner of an apartment takes in such a new building, before actually moving into it?

Renovation and European standards

That’s right – he hires a team of craftsmen who demolish some internal partitions, remove all decoration, communications and doors, correct a lot of mistakes made by builders. And all these measures are being taken for one simple reason – building codes in Russia are much less stringent than in the EU countries, and the performers do not have sufficient qualifications.

In Europe, new-build apartments are rented out and accepted by the admissions office unfinished, i.e. the walls in them are not covered with a layer of leveling plaster, there are no internal communications or plumbing fixtures.

According to DIN EN 18202: 2002-10, the maximum tolerance in angular deviations for three meters of any plane must not exceed 8 mm. When compared with similar domestic requirements, the European standards are twice as stringent and any violations of DIN EN are corrected at the expense of the construction organization without any reservations. Take a look at the join lines of the walls in your apartment – are they perfectly straight and made in a right angle? Very unlikely, while according to the European standard, the corners of the walls cannot be more or less 90about, except for those cases when other angles are laid by architectural solutions. According to the requirements of European standards, engineering communications of fan pipes cannot be made other than copper or, in extreme cases, steel pipes – domestic builders, in order to save money, can supply cheap plastic pipes in your new house. And what about the power grid? The laying of an electric cable in a corrugated hose for European builders is not some kind of innovation – this is the norm! By the way, in the EU countries there is also a strict rule regarding the number of circuit breakers in the electrical panel – one circuit breaker for two bulbs or sockets.

Renovation and European standards

With regard to European-quality renovation in Russia, the following stereotypes have developed – the mandatory use of drywall, the construction of various curved structures from it at several levels, some columns and arches, a lot of spotlights, a steel door at the entrance and iron bars on the windows are required.

From the point of view of an ordinary European, “Russian renovation” is absolutely ugly and economically unprofitable.

In fact, European-style renovation does not mean living quarters oversaturated with lurid structures, but the conformity of the quality and procedure for carrying out repair and finishing work to the requirements of building rules in force in the European Union, namely DIN, EN or international ISO. The choice of certain rules for carrying out repair and finishing work, indicating their names and editions (for example, DIN standards are revised and changed every 5 years), takes place at the stage of negotiations between the customers of the renovation and its contractor. When choosing European standards, it is important not to allow them to diverge from the mandatory building rules in force in the country where the property being repaired is located..

In other words, if a potential contractor, when describing the renovation during negotiations with the customer, illustrates the future decoration of the apartment as a “triumph of drywall” – you should know that this is not a European-style renovation at all and the degree of professionalism of this contractor is insufficient.

Renovation or high quality finishing

There are dozens of countries in Europe, each of which has its own technical rules for carrying out repair and finishing work. It is often difficult for both the customer and the performer to navigate through the variety of standards and choose the most suitable ones for carrying out their work in a particular house, especially since the texts of European standards are published only in the languages ​​of their developers, mainly in German and English. And if negotiations on this issue come to a standstill, it would be appropriate to abandon adherence to European-quality repair standards and adopt as technical rules domestic standards defined by SNiP 3.04.01-87 as “high-quality finishing”.

Renovation and European standards

In the mentioned SNiP, the quality of repair and finishing works is divided into three types (classes) – simple, improved and high quality. Let’s consider each of the types of finishes using the example of plastering work.

Simple plastering is usually performed in technical rooms of buildings – attics and basements. A simple basting plaster is applied over the base layer, followed by leveling with a “falcon” (flat square tool, a handle is fixed in the center, all edges are rounded to the side with a handle), its average thickness is 15 mm. Maximum permissible deviations for surfaces plastered with simple plaster – 3 mm per meter of plane and no more than 15 mm for the entire height of the wall.

Premises of public buildings, such as hospitals, kindergartens, schools, etc., “high class” residential buildings and some industrial buildings are decorated with improved plaster. There are three layers to be applied – the first 5 mm layer by spraying on brick or concrete walls, then a layer of primer 5-7 mm thick and, finally, a 2 mm top coat, carefully leveled and trowelled with plaster and trowels. The average layer thickness of the improved plaster is 20 mm. The largest permissible deviations of such plaster are 2 mm for each meter of the plastered surface and no more than 10 mm for the height of the wall.

Renovation and European standards

High-quality plaster is used for plastering of premises in buildings of “special comfort”. Before the actual application of the plaster, the surfaces are carefully hung with plumb lines and marked with a water or laser level, quick-hardening marks and beacons are set. The first two layers are made according to the markings in the same way as finishing with improved plaster, with the difference that there are several priming layers, the finishing layer is aligned strictly along the beacons. The average thickness of high quality plaster is 20 mm. In this case, the maximum deviation allowed by the technical rules for plastered surfaces is 1 mm per meter of plane, not more than 5 mm for the entire height of the wall. All lines and corners at the junction of surfaces separated by high-quality plaster can only be perfectly even, without any reservations.

Important:class and a detailed list of upcoming repair and finishing work must be included in the estimate attached to the contract on their performance. Don’t rely on verbal agreements!

Classic mistakes when performing renovation

The main miscalculation of the customers of repair and finishing works is the lack of a full-fledged project. Some general concept and calculation for gravity will not be enough, because a series of alterations will delay the delivery of the object and force the customer to incur unplanned and very significant expenses. Three working projects are required: for redevelopment; electrician; design.

On water supply and sewer communications, errors are always associated with a lack of understanding by the customer of physics – the further the sink, toilet bowl and bathtub are moved from the sewer riser, the higher they should be raised above the floor level, otherwise a high-quality drain cannot be achieved and an eternal struggle with blockages is in prospect. Heating radiators should not be moved: firstly, moving them will require gouging the walls under the pipes, which will weaken their structure; secondly, the location of the radiators under the window opening is the most correct, because they work on the principle of convection, cutting off cold air from entering the room. And one more thing – gas pipes should not be embedded in the walls, in case of an accident it will be difficult to reach them and it will be necessary to break the walls, and this is new repair costs..

Renovation and European standards

Miscalculations with walls, ceiling and floor are always associated with the lack of a full-fledged project, including one that takes into account the placement of all household appliances without exception. Internal partitions during redevelopment are usually made of plasterboard, the bearing capacity of which is fundamentally different from the usual brick or concrete wall. Drywall is not strong enough to hold heavy objects like bookshelves and even more so boilers, because it is formed only by a layer of gypsum between the outer layers of cardboard. Hanging any household items heavier than photography on plasterboard partitions requires the advance introduction of special embedded elements into the frame structure or reinforcement with a plywood sheet. The situation is exactly the same with a plasterboard multi-level ceiling – without preliminary preparation of fasteners embedded in the concrete ceiling, it will not be possible to mark a heavy chandelier!

The rush to level the floor without first deciding on the nature of the flooring will lead to the need for complex alterations – for example, parquet flooring requires one screed height, but tiled floor tiles are higher. And the performers have to remove the thickness of the previously made screed under the parquet floor, and the customer has to pay for completely unnecessary volumes of work …

When choosing a material for finishing the floor, an accurate breakdown of the general floor plane into working areas is necessary, and it should be based on the forthcoming operational load on the coating. For example, laying parquet in the hallway will be completely irrational, because the humid and slushy seasons of our climate will spoil the parquet board in just two or three years – it is still better to cover the floor in the hallway with tiles or linoleum. It is imperative to check the finishing material for walls and ceilings for a fire certificate by finding out what combustion products will be released into the air when it ignites.

Renovation and European standards

It will not be possible to carry out electrical work in the correct sequence “water supply lines-sewer-electrical-ventilation-walls-floor-ceiling” during redevelopment, because part of the wiring can be placed in the walls only after they have been installed. However, the wiring to the walls can be laid in the floor before the screed is made, thereby avoiding the need to groove it. All other cable communications – for the Internet, satellite dish, air conditioning systems – must be completed before finishing the walls, ceiling and floor, thereby avoiding lines of cables and wires visible at the end of the repair that do not improve the design of living quarters.

Finally, such a recommendation – plan in advance the purchase of household appliances, finishing materials and furniture that require specific installation conditions and the supply of communications to them. Otherwise, the terms of their delivery will seriously disrupt the schedule of repair and finishing works or require new alterations..

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