One of the first questions that arises with our desire to buy a home is new or old construction. What are their advantages and disadvantages and what to look for when choosing.
The long-term and scale of the investment, the potential problems after the choice, as well as the possibility of large unforeseen costs in such an endeavor, requires serious research and patience on the part of the prospective buyer. Early warning decisions to buy a home can bring serious headaches instead of the joy of a new home. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to the dilemma of new or old construction. However, if we assume that there is a better solution for each specific buyer, in this article we will outline vital elements when choosing a new home.
Surroundings and infrastructure
Developing the surrounding spaces around the building takes time. If you are looking to buy an apartment in a new neighborhood, pay attention to the percentage of green space. On a large scale, they are extremely scarce and are more likely to turn into car parks or new buildings than into tree gardens and benches. The lack of outdoor landscaping and free spaces should be taken into account in families with children or when they are included in future plans. Infrastructure such as public transport, road surface, various shops, playgrounds, kindergartens, schools are also significantly less developed or completely missing. Areas such as "Monastery Meadows" become "Mission Impossible" for parking and walking. Mass redevelopment significantly deteriorates the quality of life of the environment.
One of the main reasons for the old construction is precisely the well-developed infrastructure and landscaping in the inter-block spaces. The environment is almost always significantly friendlier and offers an alternative to leisure. In some of the neighborhoods the structural indicators remain unchanged, which in practice means that the regulation plan does not allow for larger-scale construction than the existing one. The open spaces between the buildings undoubtedly increase the comfort of their occupants.
What we acquire
Until 1991, the area of the apartment by notary deed included the area of all rooms, partition walls and ¼ of balconies, loggias, terraces. After the adoption of the "Ordinance for determining the basic market prices of real estate", to the area of the apartments are added the adjacent common areas, attics and basements to the property, as well as 100% of the area of the terraces. Thus, an old apartment of 80 sq.m. for example, it could reach 96 square meters if it is recalculated according to the new norms. This fact must be taken into account when comparing properties whose prices are set per square meter.
According to Ordinance № 2 of June 29, 2004 for planning and design of communication and transport systems in urban areas, depending on the functional purpose of the site, a certain number of parking spaces for vehicles is provided. Some builders find loopholes by announcing a different status of the premises, which reduces the number of mandatory places according to the ordinance. But even correctly applied, the law raises two main questions. The first is that the parking spaces in question are sold as separate property. None of the new owners is obliged to buy a parking space or a garage, as the price varies from 10-15 000E. But let's say that these parking lots will be filled with time anyway and will be used 100%. The more serious question is, is their normative number determined according to the current reality? One place per apartment and one place for 100sq.m. offices. And after 10 years? In 20 years? Of course, there are business buildings and gated complexes, which undoubtedly offer more comfort in this regard.
Here the problem with parking is strictly individual. Decisive factors are the location, dimensions of the surrounding road infrastructure, the status and age of the majority of the inhabitants. There are still areas where parking spaces are easy to find. Where this is not possible, parking on lawns has become a common sight. Municipal institutions are neglecting the problem by remaining indifferent, at least for now. In addition to the purely aesthetic aspect, parking cars in lawns leads to significant pollution of the road surface and subsequent dusting of the air with fine particles.
Construction of buildings
The presumptions in the development of the design are entirely in favor of the improvements. In recent years, the safety of structures has greatly increased, more economical and appropriate solutions have appeared, new materials and technologies for implementation are constantly being introduced. Back in time, the 1957 earthquake design regulations. does not consider buildings up to 11 m high (4 floors). Moreover, buildings designed according to the norms and international rules and design criteria in force at the time suffered significant damage and destruction during earthquake impacts. This caused in the period 1970-1975 to form a completely new, global concept for earthquake design. Although in 1978, temporary regulations for seismic insurance were prepared in Bulgaria, it was not adopted. The country remained without modern regulations until the 1987 earthquake in the town of Strazhitsa.
The next significant improvements in the legislation are in 2007. and 2012 - Eurocode 8 for seismic impacts. The improvements in the regulations in question increase the requirements for the design of the structures and the quality of the materials used. For some buildings, this also leads to an increase in the amount of concrete and reinforcement, which increases the cost of construction.
Undoubtedly, the design has made significant progress over the years, providing greater levels of security for the occupants. In 2016 the book came out "Seismic safety of large-panel structures. Myth or reality." . In it, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eng. Atanas Nikolov and Ch. Assistant Engineer Radoslav Orlinov from UACEG presented an in-depth study on the topic. The book discusses the importance of the spatial solution of the building on its seismic resistance. The principles are also valid in the initial assessment of existing masonry structures. This means that there can be a huge difference between buildings built at the same time, with the same materials. This difference should be assessed by a specialist and taken into account as the main criterion when choosing a "new" home.
Technologies for the production, transport and storage of building materials are also evolving over time. Some materials are partially or completely replaced by others. The transition from masonry load-bearing walls and joists to reinforced concrete structures occurs within 40-50 years. The difference in seismic resistance between generations of buildings is incomparable. In the last 30 years. the execution of reinforced concrete structures marks a significant leap in quality.
За привържениците на тезата „старото е по-качествено” ще отбележим няколко ключови аспекта повишили драстично надеждността на стоманобетонните конструкции през последните 20-30г.
In the past, concrete was transported by dump trucks. Vibrations on the road lead to stratification of the concrete (separation of gravel, sand and cement mortar). The result is an inhomogeneous concrete mix with low ductility and reduced strength.
Transportation of concrete with mixers and its laying by concrete pumps is faster, cleaner and without delamination.
Modern formwork systems do not allow deformation of the elements during concreting and seepage of water from the concrete.
The vibration (compaction) of the concrete mixture plays a key role in its strength and performance, as well as on the watertightness of the elements. In the past, due to ignorance or lack of appropriate equipment, not much attention has been paid to this problem. Today, however, every reputable builder makes the necessary efforts for the proper laying and compaction of concrete.
The quantity and quality of the reinforcement used is also constantly improving. According to Eurocode, modern reinforcing bars are only ribbed, have higher adhesion to concrete and better performance.
In the past, bars of smooth reinforcing steel were widely used, over long distances, with small diameters and poor adhesion to concrete.
Quality of execution
Implementation errors are the cause of over 50% of construction accidents. Sometimes seemingly small details can threaten the security of the building. At the end of the 20th century in Bulgaria there was a period of rapid construction, poor quality control and a large number of illegal buildings. Some of them were subsequently legalized despite the discrepancies or received the status of tolerance, without having the necessary design qualities. After the changes in 1997, control over construction activities began to slowly strengthen, increasing the quality of design and execution. A number of normative changes have been introduced aimed at better synchronization between the participants in the construction process. This continuous improvement process undoubtedly adds value to newer buildings, which should be reflected in the choice of purchase. Unfortunately, the finishing works lag behind the trends imposed on the structures and do not always offer adequate quality.
Of course, there are still builders who manage to save on the quality of construction. However, it can be argued that increased control over construction has significantly reduced their number.
So, in the end, the prospective buyer must make a balanced choice between the price per square meter, communication, surrounding infrastructure, parking spaces, a sense of space and cleanliness and last but not least - the security of the building. The different needs of each buyer make the answer to the question "new or old construction?" strictly individual. We are not saying that this choice is easy, but given the size and duration of the investment, it is appropriate to take the time to research and make the right decision.