by Nicole Levin
How do you ensure the quality of the construction of your brand-new apartment? There is no simple answer to this. When purchasing an apartment from a construction company you should find out as much as you can about the construction company. You can even visit other buildings constructed by the company and speak to the people living there to get an idea as to the quality of the construction in those buildings. However, this does not guarantee that there won’t be any problems with your building.
Who is responsible for the quality of the construction?
The answer is found in the law that applies to these types of transactions. The construction company is responsible to build a building that complies with all building codes and standards. In addition to this, each sales contract should include a set of plans and specifications attached to it.
The plans show the apartment, the floor on which it is located and other floors of the building. These plans also reflect the size of the apartment and the rooms.
The specifications show in words the materials from which the apartment is built, what type of floor tiles, kitchen cabinets, sinks, toilets, how many light sockets in each room, how many electric sockets in each room and so on.
These two documents are really the most important parts of the contract.
Besides the requirement that all sales agreements with construction companies include plans and specifications, the law also sets out warranty periods during which the construction company is responsible for the quality of the construction and is therefore obligated to repair defects found in the apartment.
There are basically two types of warranty periods. The first period begins on the date you take possession of the apartment and ends on the date on which the law decries that it should end. The law has a list of warranty periods for different elements of the apartment. These periods range from a year to five years depending on what the element of the apartment that is defected (cracks, sinking tiles, dampness etc.) If a defect is detected during this first warranty period, then it is assumed that it is the fault of the construction company and it must repair the defect.
The second warranty period begins when the first warranty period ends. It is three years for everything. If a defect is detected for the first time during this second warranty period, then the burden of proof shifts to the shoulders of the owner. He must prove that the defect is a result of faulty workmanship on the part of the construction company.
In each project the purchaser is offered the basic materials from which to choose from. For example, they can choose from certain tiles, or certain kitchen cabinets. Should they choose to upgrade these materials, this costs more money, but the construction company may not be responsible for the quality of materials other than those offered to the purchaser in the basic package. In a case like this it is important to obtain warranties from the supplier.
Deviation from the Original Plans
Within the framework of the construction many purchasers choose to deviate from the original plans of the apartment. This is usually done with the cooperation of the construction company and even through the company or someone who works for it. In some cases, this could mean that the warranty for this work would not be given by the construction company but by the contractor who does the work. If you are doing major changes in the apartment while it is under construction, then it is wise to hire a professional to oversee the work as it is getting done and to obtain warrantees from the person doing the work.