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Brener Construction - Most Trusted NYC Contractors

Brener Construction Inc. are experts in NYC apartment renovations. We are a locally owned company with over 20 years of experience serving in the greater New York City area. We specialize in kitchen remodels, bathroom updates, and all of your flooring, painting, electrical, plumbing & millwork needs. Our team dedicates a great deal of attention to customer service and always believe that communication is key in maintaining a good relationship with our clients. We like to keep homeowners well informed on their project, updating them on progress that is being made, deliveries that are being scheduled and orders that are being placed. Outstanding customer satisfaction is vital to us and our team is well trained to ensure that you are satisfied from the time we start working until long after we finish. Feedback is encouraged and appreciated, it helps us work better to meet your wants and needs. We love technology and how it promotes efficiency, that way we can send you news the second we receive it.

We understand the unnerving feelings that renovating your home might come with and that’s why we’re here to offer you peace of mind and reassurance. Thank you for visiting our site!

– The Brener Construction Family

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Along with prompt project completion, we offer project planning assistance beforehand to ensure that you have peace of mind from start to finish. Whether it be a large project or small project, you can count on our team of specialists to meet deadlines and exceed your expectations.







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NYC Townhouse Gut Rehabilitation: What to Know

Gut rehabilitation might be an unheard term for some of us. What does it include, you may ask? Let’s suppose we discover a property in an ideal location or of the ideal size we have always dreamed of. Apart from the ideal size or the ideal location, if everything about the house has to be changed, then that is called gut rehabilitation.

NYC Townhouse Gut Rehabilitation

To summarize it, gut rehabilitation pulls away everything except for the bones of the original house. We can look upon it as an empty canvas for our homes, allowing us to modernize and upscale older buildings and fix problems spread far and wide across the home. When we decide to gut renovate a home, we must take into thorough consideration of the current conditions of the buildings, spatial challenges, and the range of materials we will require and have to purchase. The cost of gut renovation is a huge factor, which we must first come to terms with.

While we may find this rehab totally worth our time, effort, and money, there are several things we have to bear in mind when we undertake such a project.

Have a Flexible Vision

Having a fixer-upper gives us plenty of flexibility to do a lot with the interior and run through it with a free hand. We could perhaps take down a few walls to completely transform the floor plans and layout of our new dream house. When we evaluate the feasibility of taking on a gut rehab, we should imagine how we can layout the space to make the best out of every square footage at our disposal. We must not limit our focus on merely what is presently there.

Characterize According to Our Preferences

A gut rehab gives us the freedom to add as much of our personal touch to the house as we refer. For example, if you have a passion and obsession for reading, we can make a space for a reading nook that might otherwise be not available to us in the older, standard NYC townhouses. Whether we prefer a classic, refined interior or a more modern and industrial environment, we have the power to control these elements in a gut rehab for our NYC townhouse.

Thoroughly Analyze the Real Estate Market

We must first consider if our real estate market can offer us a home ready for us to move in with all or most of our wish list items included in it. We must also consider seriously any such option if it fits within our house purchasing budget. Sometimes, we wish to buy in an area where the home and style features are completely in contrast to what appeals to us. In such a situation, we really think gut rehabs are an ideal option to mold the house according to our style and preferences.

Brace Ourselves for a Costly Endeavor

We must always primarily remember that renovations are never cheap, and a gut rehab means that we have to tackle the entire house from nearly scratch. If we are faint-hearted, it is best if we steer clear from such a project. While the entire cost depends solely on the size of our property and extent of the upgrades required, we must be confidently prepared to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of our life earnings on this project.

A rough average cost for a multi-room gut rehab is around $38,000. This, however, creeps sneakily into a six figures range before we can even realize it.

Secondly, we must also be mentally and physically prepared to invest a lot of time into a gut rehab because it seriously is a much time-consuming project. Furthermore, if we decide to take on parts of the project ourselves, we must be ready to devote that much time to it because most DIY home décor projects are lengthy.

We should be ready to deal with adjusting the cost of materials, trying to coordinate multiple parts of the rehabilitation, and working with a series of contractors that are bound to bring endless problems to our table. We must also be ready to acknowledge the fact overshooting our target with gut rehabs are a very true possibility, especially in the wake of problems and complications as we proceed.

The Older the Home, the Greater the Challenge

We may come across a number of old homes across NYC that ooze tons on character charm but contain dark, unknown possibilities behind. We may never be able to accurately find out how much the previous homeowners botched the electrical network, how much water damage a leaking pipe caused etc. Old homes pose greater challenges when it comes down to a gut rehab.

We only start discovering the skeletons in the closet once we initiate the gut rehab project, and those from thereon seem to keep swallowing our budget. In certain cases, some discoveries may also pose health hazards that will need to be rectified at great costs.

For a project of this intensity, we must never compromise on the quality and expertise of contractors and professionals. Hire the best NYC Contractors at Brener Construction Inc. for your townhouse gut rehabilitation project for a warranty-backed, brand new feeling home.


New Flooring: What Are the Options?

Among the most frustrating home decorating challenges that we can ever encounter are the worn-out and old floors. We can add accessories, paint walls and even bring in fancy big furniture on a controlled budget, but a complete makeover of our entire floor is bound to be bigger and a costly project.

But this does not mean that we have to forcefully put up with ratty old, scuffed vinyl or carpeting. We have a variety of flooring options to choose from these days, including some which we can also easily afford without breaking the bank. Ceramic tile, vinyl, and laminate are as reasonably priced as $1 per square foot. We, however, need to keep in mind that the low prices of these flooring materials will not make them magically suitable for any space we plunk them into.

Every type of flooring comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. What makes one type of flooring ideal for one room could make it a terrible option for another. So before we begin on our flooring project, we must do our homework. A little research will help us immensely in gaining insight into the benefits and costs of different types of flooring. It will make it easy for us to pick something that will easily blend into our space and our budget.


We all know that Bamboo is a variety of grass and a pretty fast growing one. It takes just three to five years to grow from a tiny little sprout into harvest-ready. Bamboo makes for a great eco-friendly option for our flooring. Most importantly, a fast turn-around is not the only best feature of this grass. It is also a fire-resistant option and comes in the form of planks that can very easily be installed. In strength, it is 13 % harder and stronger than the hard maple and 27% than the Northern red oak.


When it comes to elegance, nothing defines it better than hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring can add a unique character and plenty of depth to any space. Solid wood flooring comes in two options: in strips that 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide and planks, which are 4 to 8 inches wide.

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There are several varieties available in hardwood flooring; it can be made from the exotic resources such as Brazilian purpleheart or cherry, from domestic spices such as maple or oak. We also have the option of purchasing wood flooring as finish and unfinished. All we will be required to do after installing it is simply sand and finish it.

Where the cost is concerned, consumer reports give us evidence that prefinished wood flooring costs us less money and less effort.


Engineered hardwood is pretty much similar to solid hardwood appearance-wise. Engineered wood comprises of a core of plywood, hardwood, high-density fiberboard, and also a top layer veneer of hardwood. This veneer is present in almost every kind of species. Nearly three to seven layers of the materials are glued together. High pressure and heat are applied to compress the layers and produce flooring that is not only tough and sturdy but is also completely proof against humidity.

Owing to these features of engineered wood, they are an ideal option for places in our homes that are surrounded by heat and humidity, which are detrimental to solid hardwood flooring. Our kitchens and basement are the rooms that could benefit from engineered wood flooring the most.


Linoleum comprises materials like limestone, linseed oil, tree resins, and wood floor. Linoleum is recognized for its durability and low maintenance. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It is also available in several intricate cuts and available in sheets. We can complement any home style of our choice with linoleum.


Natural stone personifies timelessness and organic beauty. No two stones tiles can ever be identical and have a wide range of options to pick from. These include marble, slate, limestone, granite, travertine, and onyx. Stone tiles do not require high maintenance. They are very easy to clean, are fire-resistant, and are extremely durable. Stone tiles have the timeless quality of forever looking trendy and can add tons of luxuriousness and wealth to any home.

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Marmoleums are renewable and an all-natural source. They are made of up recyclable materials that benefit the environment and cause no damage. Marmoleum is quite unlike linoleum. It is resistant to dirt and dust, does not possess an overpowering odor and is allergen-free. Marmoleum is available in tiles and sheets, is a trustworthy choice for areas in our home that experience heavy traffic, and is also a very low maintenance material.


Ceramic tiles are the most common kind that can be found in our residential homes. Ceramic tiles are very easy to maintain and are more durable in nature if they are well taken care of. We can make our choice from a wide range of sizes, shapes, colors, and finishes, which enhance the compatibility of the material with any style design. Another attractive feature of the ceramic tiling is that it has a durable glaze finishing. Glazes come in a choice of semi-gloss, matte formats, and high gloss. They make the flooring water-resistant and very convenient to clean.

If you ever decide to hire professionals for installing new flooring in our homes, contact the best contractor for the job.


NYC Apartment Renovation: What to Know

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Home remodeling is quite a complex project with a lot of necessary moving parts. In New York City, it is even more challenging to pull off a renovation successfully within the stipulated time and budget. Most people often underestimate the extent of coordination, money, planning, and permitting it will take to get the project done. When you undertake such a project, it’s important that you brace yourselves for the likely surprises you will get when the city’s historic housing walls are pulled down.

To top it off, there are a number of regulatory bodies and vendors involved in the remodeling process in the city of New York. If we happen to own an apartment in NYC and are not well prepared beforehand, we will be bound to waste a lot of money and time when the project begins.

To ensure a smooth completion, we have brought together a few professional tips and guidelines on how to prepare for a remodeling project.

1.    Assemble a Team after Thorough Research

NYC enjoys a wide variety of housing stock, ranging from prewar co-ops, luxury condos to townhouses of the 19th century. One of the most common features of New York’s housing scheme is that no two residences are alike. Even apartments housed in the same building will never be the same. So the first thing we must do is to look for a team that is equipped with experience to tackle the kinds of property we own and wish to renovate.

We must also never hesitate to test the expertise of any firm. It is our prerogative to ask for referrals, question their pricing, seek verifications of their work, and ask them long their projects take and who all their team comprises of.

We must seek complete transparency, whether it is the architect or subcontractors we are hiring.

2.    Stay Realistic Throughout

When the project begins, remember to stay realistic while sticking to your ideas and resolutions throughout the process. If you’ve planned the project to be as budget-friendly as possible, even if it means getting your hands into it and managing things on your own, then that is what you need to stick with. For such a project, you will merely require a labor-only contractor.

For such a project, you must also be prepared to make your own purchases for the renovation, deal with the condo or co-op board, coordinate with vendors yourself, procure an expeditor, and much more. However, if budget is not a problem for you, then you should employ an all-inclusive firm for the project.

3.    Be Realistic About Timeframe

Most of us often begin our project believing it will complete within a short time span. Contractors have a huge responsibility in making owners realize that renovations cannot be time-limited, especially in New York City. Renovating in this city involves a series of procedures: coordinating with the owner’s association of the building, permitting, hiring different craftsmen, tradesmen and so on.

Flexibility is critical when it comes to timelines. Sure, you can hold them accountable for uncalled for delays, irregularity, or carelessness, but an expert team is one who plans ahead and minimizes problems.

4.    Make a List of Questions

Always begin with a list of the hows and whys and keep adding questions as you gather more information. For e.g., what is the permit cost of an NYC renovation? What will the contractor handle, and what do you need to take care of? Who else needs to test? Will the contractor be able to suggest the fixtures and alternate finishes within the budget? Any contractor who willingly gives valuable information to all your queries is a good professional.

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5.    Arrange a Temporary Staying Place

Once we receive an estimated timeline from our team, we must next arrange for a place to stay while our project is underway. It is essential to move to another place when the renovation is ongoing since such projects involve a lot of tearing down of walls and such activities. We must also include the cost of our temporary stay in our budget for the renovation.

6.    Arrange for Necessary Permits

Many renovation projects require permits, though not all of them do. We must, therefore, get feedback from the expert on what the process will entail so we can arrange for the permits before the project begins. If the project has a limited scope, like remodeling our bathroom, you will need to gain a permit for handling electrical wires or changing the plumbing.

If the renovation is intensive; however, the architect will have to get the plans approved after submitting them. The DOB, Department of Buildings, grants the permit. The DOB process has a very uncertain time span; it can take anywhere from a few months to a few weeks. It all depends upon the complexity of our renovation project. However, if the renovations include refinishing floors, permitting, or replacing doors, then you will not need any permit.

7.    Tackle Owners Association

Owners Associations regulate the apartment buildings of NYC with varying degrees of strictness. The purpose of such associations is to establish laws from all renovations that occur in a building. Details, such as the time when our team can work, where we can install our dryers and washers, etc., are all dictated by these associations.

The association also employs a technical advisor, like an engineer or architect, who signs off the renovation plans. Condos are not as strict as the co-op boards. It is, therefore, in your favor to go through renovation policies before you decide to buy an apartment in the building.

We are experts in handling all renovation projects of apartments in New York City. Contact us to transform your apartment into a luxurious home.

Finishing a Basement: What to Know

Every homeowner realizes that their basement is their best chance of a much-needed living space in the house. It is, therefore, our ultimate goal to finish a basement. Our basements are also our rare opportunities for designing our dream room from the ground up, something which hardly any other room in the house allows us. Since our basements give us endless opportunities for flexibility, we are bound to feel a little overwhelmed when we decorate or renovate our basements the first time.


So here’s what we ought to know to finish our basement:

1.    First Consider its Utility

We usually start off with grand plans for our basements, which in all honesty, is quite a good thing. We must, however, remember that our basement is primarily a highly functional area. Whether we currently use our basement as a laundry facility, a storage space, and a home office or perhaps even as a combination of all three, we want a design to boost the functionality of our space rather than destroying it.

As we map out our new layout, we must firmly follow three rules during the process:

  • Any space requiring privacy should be walled off
  • We must leave an unfinished area around our water heater in case of leaks
  • Whenever possible we must keep our plumbing place to cut down on costs

2.    Maintain the Dryness

We must first look for any water issues in the basement before we start processing our plans. The obvious signs of water issues include water dripping the below-grade walls of water, forming pools in the basement. We must outlook outside to ensure the ground is graded away from our foundation. We must also take careful note of any cracks in our walls and have the damages repaired as necessary.

3.    Never Underestimate the Construction Required

One thing we must bear in mind is that finishing our basement is quite unlike any other construction project we’ve ever undertaken for our house. This is because we have to do the entire project from scratch. We will definitely have plentiful freedom to customize as per our wishes and as per space, but we must be well prepared for all the legwork that will entail in keeping the basement dry and warm.

It is best to hire a contractor for this job unless we professionally have a background in construction. Pros can best handle the framing and foundation racks around our existing ductwork.

4.    Be aware of the Code

After we have tackled any or all the moisture problems and have put together a plan, we must get in touch with our local municipality to verify whether we need to obtain a permit for our project. This is all the more important if we have electrical work or plumbing included in our plans, which might have to be inspected.

5.    Incorporate an Open Space Concept

We may have often observed that most basements follow an open-concept. It is essential to know how to find our way during such construction projects in the correct manner.


Based on how we plan to utilize our space, we must distinctly group our plans. We might have a play area in mind for the kids, a dining table, or a television area. Regardless of which groupings we create, we have to ground it with the appropriate light fixture. If required, we can throw in an area rug as well.

We must also leave appropriate negative spaces in between each segment, not just to walk around but to also visually separate the areas to make it not so overwhelming.

6.    Consider the Fasteners

Basement floors and walls are not merely made of old screws and nails; they are the stuff of proper brick, cement, block and masonry. This means that we can’t just cut through it when we want to attach framing. We will arrange for appropriate fasteners and possibly even anchors as per our wall type. In some cases, we may be required to rent a powder-actuated fastener, which is also referred to as a shotgun fastener most often.

7.    Never Discount Aesthetics for the Basement

We can note from history that basements are most often relegated to mismatched furniture and bare walls just because we underestimate the value of the space. We must first put a stop to this thought process. We believe that basements require out utmost efforts, time, energy, and money to finish it. We must, therefore, inject a sufficient dose of aesthetics into our basement as we do for all other parts of our house.

As for being mismatched, we know that colors go a long way in unifying a place. To bring cohesiveness to our layout, we must consider one color scheme. Even if we are unable to commit to one color, we must use a similar shade for all of our furniture and cohesive hues throughout our accessories.

We must also try to throw in some wall art, throw pillows, and other carefully selected accessories to make sure our basement feels cozy and welcoming.

As homeowners, most of us dream of finishing our basements one day. With these tips, we can avail of the opportunity of creating a unique design to enliven our basement. With the amount of freedom at our disposal, we may struggle with where to start and how to finish the basement.

Our NYC-based company, Brener Construction, deals with luxury construction projects. Our vision is to give personal attention to our clients and develop plans that cater especially to bring our visions and our projects to life. Contact Us for all your construction projects.

Electrical Work in Your Apartment: What to Know

Every construction process is interlinked, and we must be familiar with the details. Every homeowner has to undertake electrical projects every once in a while for their home.

Electrical Construction and Its Phases

To very simply explain the construction process, especially from a contractor’s of view, we can say that there are mainly 2 phases of electrical construction: wet and dry. The initial stage can be described as the wet stage when the house remains unprotected from external forces of moisture, such as rain and snow. The dry phase is when most of the electrical construction is conducted as the house’s exterior is protected from snow and rain.

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To explain it from an electrician’s point of view, the construction phase has two main parts: the rough-in and the finishing phase. The division is made on the bases of the finishing level that the walls are at.

Step by Step Electrical Construction Guide

Stage 1- Temporary Underground and Electrical Conduit

A construction site is always devoid of electricity during the course of construction. Since every piece of machinery operates on electricity, a temporary pole is erected for connection as the project continues.

Electricians may also use a generator in place of a pole. Electrical conduits are laid down before the floors are finalized with concrete. This happens especially when the floor plan features receptacles. This is perhaps the only step that can be conducted during the wet phase and is usually completed in the space of a few hours.

2. The Rough-In

This is the second step in the construction process and occurs after all the windows, doors, floors, etc. have been installed, but the sheetrock remains to be installed. The rough-in mainly centers on the circuit wiring between the wall studs and the electric box by drilling in holes where needed. Can lights and exhaust fans are also installed during this stage. Since they also install the roof during this stage, if we have soffit included in our plans, this is the moment when we should put them up. From here on, all the wiring connected with the security system, the entertainment system, etc. needs installation. The time this process takes depends on the size of the homes. For smaller homes, it can take a few days, and for larger homes, the process can go on for months.

3. Interim Needs

During this stage, more attention is giving to a number of smaller details. It is because by this time, the sheet rocks have already been put in place, and no more changes of electrical wiring can be done after this. The professionals temporarily add the receptacles in spaces like the garage, for example. These allow more convenience in entering and exiting the house.

Apart from a few switches and lights, systems for temperature control are also installed. Since these systems are vulnerable to damage by sheetrock paint and mud, they are only installed for a short time. It can take a day to complete this stage.

4. The Finish

The finish stage is the final phase, wherein all fans, receptacles, switchboards, external electrical items, and HVAC systems are installed. Technically, we refer to this stage as the last one since we affix all the electrical appliances required in their respective places and ready for use. If we have a small house, this process may take a few days to complete, whereas, for larger homes, the same process can last from a few weeks to months even.

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5. Warrants and Modifications

We may refer to this stage as the trial period since all the installed items need rechecking. The wiring is verified and tested, and so on. If a light or a fan misbehaves due to miswiring, it is fixable even after the homeowners have moved in.

While the warranty period is valid, the buyer may ask for alterations or certain additions in the electrical wiring system. These could include asking for a new circuit installation for hot tubs or dimmers in place of switches.

Preventive Measures

Once our electrical construction is complete, we must not think of it as the end of our responsibility. Electrical breakdown and fires are one of the most leading causes of home fires. Fortunately, if we all play our part correctly and take preventive measures, we can ensure such a catastrophe does not befall us.

Here are a few things we must never do in our homes:

  • Use adapters on two-prong outlets
  • Neglect getting old wiring checked
  • Plug into loose electrical switches and outlets
  • Fail to use the correct outlets in the kitchen and the bathroom
  • Not take due notice of flickering lights
  • Ignore frayed or exposed lighting in the bathroom
  • Use appliances that frequently malfunction
  • Overload our circuit
  • Undertake complex DIY projects

To follow the step by step process of electrical construction for our homes, it is most advisable to work under the expertise of licensed professionals. The process may sound simple as the stages advance. However, it is extremely difficult to handle it correctly all on our own.

Working with unlicensed and inexperienced professionals can be extremely hazardous for the safety of the homeowners and the crew.

Call Brener Construction today for professional electrical work.

Tel: 646-455-3321

Combining NYC Apartments: What to Know

As a New Yorker, you cannot help but feel the need for more space sometimes in life. An apartment combination is a lot more accessible in NYC than most people think. They’re most certainly a huge need once some people have a large family.

When the need arises, and you have to weigh your options, scooping up an apartment adjacent to yours certainly sounds more appealing than searching for a larger one in another locale or heading for the suburbs. Most often, departing from the spot you love so much due to space shortage is quite heart-wrenching. The good news is that combining two apartments into one big residence is actually a feasible plan in NYC.

We have put together some key considerations and the pros and cons of combining apartments in NYC.

1.    Thorough Research is a Must

We take all the possible steps in advance to pave a smooth path for any construction project. To begin with, first, make sure you are on the board of your condo or co-op. It is one of the best ways to discover the workings of the building firsthand. It also helps in the approval process immensely.

It is imperative that you confirm with the building’s management if a combination is allowed. Some boards are quite firm in this regard, while others are comparatively lenient. If you require a combination, the apartment will typically have to undergo a Type-II alteration. For condos on the other hand, the Department of Finance requires special filing for amending the tax lot.

There are often special caveats for condos in alteration agreements. This caveat gives renovators permission to own the hallway.

It is also recommended that you make sure no amendments to the Certificate of Occupancy are required. This is generally not required unless it is a different use group combination, such as a salon to your apartment.

2.    Begin Smart Financially

You can put off incurring additional costs if you engage the right professionals. Planning efficiently since the start allows your contractor to highlight the areas where a price increase may be likely, in advance. For example, structural engineering, asbestos, and electrical updating are prone to price variations.

If yours is a vertical combination, it is recommended to employ a structural engineer in the project as early as possible to assess the project’s practicality thoroughly. For example, if you ask to combine apartments that were built in 1970, a number of difficulties could arise due to building materials that were used back then, such as solid concrete.

3.    The Combination’s Layout Makes Has a Huge Impact

The project can be widely influenced by multiple factors, especially timelines and budgets. Take the example of a duplex apartment combination or an adjacent apartment one. A duplex apartment combination is a lot more costly than ones that are side by side on the same floor.

Adjacent renovations can really be simple enough to pop a hole in between and relocate the stove. However, for a more natural feel, a substantial amount of change will be needed for both the units to combine into one.

Vertical combinations are more challenging and require much more technical detailing and planning. Intense structural work, such as building a staircase, restructuring beams, etc. will most certainly be required, as well as plenty of other technical procedures.

Pros and Cons of Combining NYC Apartments:


  • No need to switch schools, amenities, services, and recreational factors because you remain in the same building and neighborhood.
  • You are already familiar with the workings of the building. You may even be on good terms with the superintendent and the board. This will make it easier to navigate through logistical and bureaucratic intricacies during the renovation.
  • It is cost-efficient to buy an additional smaller unit than a larger, new one for renovation.
  • Since you are already well acquainted with the neighbors, they will make less of a fuss about the construction noise.
  • You can avoid broker fees when you reside in the same building and purchase directly.


  • Adjacent units limit you to abutting spaces. This means you might have to put up with an irregular flowing hallways or awkward bedrooms placement from the kitchen. These layout restrictions might not allow a conducive fitting.
  • The board may be displeased with the high concentration of ownership in one person’s hand. This may make the approval process more challenging.
  • We will have to undertake additional taxes and maintenance costs. When we combine the charges, we will find them unusually high from a potential buyer’s (for resale) point of view.
  • Throughout the renovation or rather combination process, you will have to incur the carrying costs for both the apartments solely. It could also be quite likely that you can’t live in either during the renovation timespan.
  • The cons of combining two apartments in a new location will remain the same. You will also face the additional burden of purchasing two homes with your own finances instead of just one if you buy it in the same building.

Those homeowners who have the option of adjacent apartments certainly have the luxury of choosing from a variety of layout options. At the same time, there are several constraints present, which may be an obstacle in creating the same space.

To undertake any combination project in NYC, it is recommended to approach the best construction professionals in the city.

Addition to Your Apartment? What to Know

Most New York residents are accustomed to close neighbors and small spaces, especially if they are a university grad or a young professional. However, when most people get their own place, they plan to gain more control over how the interior works and looks.

If you live in a co-op or condo, you can probably try a hand at re-doing the bath and the kitchen. But you must be aware of hurdles and showstoppers you’ll face when making changes in the layout. Even people with brownstones and townhouses, where it is fair game to make changes to roofs, windows, and walls, face heavy implications of the cost when they attempt to move things around.


Here are some valuable pieces of information regarding a layout change to an NYC apartment.

1.    What Makes Up a Layout Change

The city of New York categorizes layout changes into two branches, both of which require work permits. The first group of layout changes consists of major structural alterations to the building. The second group of layout changes points out the modifications that will make no changes to the occupancy terms or the use of the building. They will, however, make it necessary to work on those core systems hidden behind walls. These include gas lines, vertical piping, electrical wiring, re-routing plumbing lines or ventilation ducts, etc.

The NYC Department of Building has titled the first group as ‘Alteration Type-I’ and the other group as ‘Alteration Type-II.’

Type-I alterations are not applicable if you live in a condo or co-op in New York. This is because you cannot possibly make any structural alterations to the building. If, on the contrary, you are planning to move or expand a bathroom or perhaps a kitchen, pull down a load-bearing wall or add a new bathroom, relocate fixtures in the bathroom or kitchen, it classifies as Type-II alterations. These are the kind of updates that necessitate opening walls, which will have a bearing on electrical lines while impacting existing gas and plumbing.

To sum it up, if any of your renovations go beyond replacing the surface components of any room, then you are most likely carrying out a layout change.

2.    Wet and Dry Factor

You might be wondering why a layout change is such a big task and why might there be chances of denial. New York City is crammed with people; everyone pretty much lives on top of each other, so the City has to exercise careful control for gas and water line safety.

Similarly, all condo and co-op boards want to ensure that they minimize the risk of damage or loss to residents when renovations are underway in adjacent units. This means that you cannot gain permission from boards to move wet spaces like bathrooms or kitchens over dry spaces like above a neighbor’s bedroom or living room. The pipe stacks of a building run up and down its structural height vertically. This could cause potential flooding if we move bath and kitchen lines and also expand the grounds that are already susceptible to flooding and leaks.

3.    Board’s Approval

You need to adhere to the rules, whether you live in a condo or co-op. the building board possesses full authority to establish rules and regulations for a number of things, renovation plans included. Your very first step should thus be to verify with your building management if you can make additions to the layout plan and whether such an option is permitted. There may probably even be a document for additions and alteration ‘ agreements.

The document may require you to submit an application for additional approval. The specifications will surely vary based on the type of building, but each will typically detail indemnification and legal ramifications, how the work is performed, the scope extent of work permitted, and the coverage of insurance requirements of the plan you propose.

The board also holds the authority to ask you for architectural plans, specifications, and drawings submission, prepared by a licensed engineer or architect hired. The boards also employ their own engineers and architects whom it may engage to verify your submission and obligate any revisions necessary for minimizing disruptions to the community.

4.    Obtain Department of Building’s Permits and Approvals

You are required by the DOB to file your plans, before any process is initiated, with them. You may also possibly be asked to file your plans additionally with the Commission of Landmarks Preservation, depending on where your building is located.


You need to hire a licensed professional engineer or architect for most additional changes to an NYC apartment. They will then be required to file a permit application on your contractor’s behalf to certify that your plan complies with the laws and codes applied. Once their plan is approved, the contractor will be required to submit an application for a work permit. This is necessary for authorizing the specific additions and modifications that are detailed in the plan.

They should also refer to the flow chart of New York City for additional help.

5.    Plan Ahead for Timings and Costs

It’s important to exercise patience when seeking approval from the NYC Department of Buildings and the building boards. It is a time-consuming process and can take as long as two to six months.

Plan ahead for the cost of services and documentation required for seeking the city’s approval. This is in addition to the more specialized and physical labor required for the addition to your apartment.

For a smooth layout modification and an obstacle-free addition project, contact Brener Construction, some of the best construction professionals in New York City.

Upgrading Your Bathroom: Worth Your Money

If kitchens are the heart of our homes, then bathrooms are their backbone. A bathroom lacking in glamour, sophistication, and functionality would adversely affect how we feel about our homes for years to come. Renovating a bathroom is also one of life’s most expensive projects.

If you are building our home for the first time, it is all the more necessary to get the bathroom right in the first go. Any first bathroom project requires great attention to detail. The builder you hire will most certainly provide a list of upgrades and standard options. The question here is how does one figure out which standard options or upgrades would enhance the value of their home.

The most functional of all the rooms in a house is the bathroom. If you choose the right upgrades for a bathroom, you will surely end up loving it without getting bored of it for years. Here is how you can get the best upgrades for your bathroom.

Upgrading Bathroom-Pro Info

Master Bathroom

If you select a floor plan that gives us the space to set up a master bathroom, it’s an opportunity you can’t miss out on. Master bathrooms have their own way of upping the resale value. If you are living in a home that did not initially include a master bath, it would be worth the money to hire an architect later and have a master bathroom incorporated. If you already possess one, then you must never cease working to improve our bathroom’s look.

As we mentioned before, bathrooms as the most used rooms in the house, and therefore a master bathroom is a must. It gives us a place to unwind, relax, and get some alone time away from the kids and all the grueling activity. It may be an expensive investment initially but the money is paid back ten times in terms of functionality.

Basement Plumbing

The building process becomes easy and cheap if you first add basement plumbing. You must pay your builder to get it done before you move in. This may not sound like an exciting upgrade, but opting for basement plumbing is actually a very wise decision, even when it is unfinished.

There eventually comes a time when you manage to complete the basement in the future. If you have plumbing installed during the building process, you end up saving a lot of money. When you finally get to complete it, you will be saved from the trouble of tearing down walls and breaking off concrete to install plumbing. Your contractor will only have to hook right into the plumbing already in place and get on with drywall and framing.

Professional Contractor for Remodeling Bathroom NYC

Flooring and Tile

Saying that tiles are hard to replace would be understating the fact. The process calls for big-time demolition and in most cases, we just tend to keep putting it off or learn to live with awful pink tiles. If you don’t find standard tiles appealing, you must never settle for them unwillingly because attempting a replacement, later on, would be time-consuming and quite costly.

When we upgrade surfaces, we make it look special and enhance the look of our bathroom. You should stick to the same principle when you upgrade flooring. Make sure to always look for materials that are attractive and long-lasting. While fixtures and flooring can be changed frequently, flooring and tiles are meant to stay for long.

Extra Storage

If increased storage comes with your bathroom upgrades, you must not let the golden opportunity slip away at all. Bathroom storage might sound like an extremely mundane thing initially but you can’t even begin to imagine how much of a difference it makes to one’s lifestyle. Organizers, built-in shelves, and extra cabinets go a long way in transforming a cluttered cave into a serene retreat . We must always opt for upgrades that build on the space we have and keep our bathrooms well organized and appealing.

Better Lighting

Most of our bathrooms are fixed with builder-grade lighting that is hardly eye-catching. It is the regular kind of light fixing over the mirrors that are easy to install and cheap to buy. One of the best ways in which we can upgrade our lighting package on our own is if we procure better fixtures and also bring in some lights.

Natural lighting is unarguably the best option, but windows don’t always work too well in every kind of bathroom. We can make up for any light shortcomings by upgrading fixtures fitted with LED lights. These are the brightest kind and also last long.

Separate Shower and Tub

This is one of the simplest upgrades which bring a sure return on one’s money. A separate shower and tub create a lot of separate space. This, in turn, increases the worth of one’s home and offers plenty more functionality, especially where the master bathroom is concerned.  There is always the standard combo of tub and shower, which completely misses the wow factor. This element is, however, impossible to do independently. A separate tub and shower should only thus be included during the building process instead.

When it comes to your own personal space, you should never compromise on function and style. When you get on to such a project, aim for upgrades that are compatible with your lifestyle. It also never hurts to spend a little more on well-planned bathroom upgrades to increase the resale value of our homes and also our family’s satisfaction.

We offer the best services for remodeling, renovating, and bathroom upgrading. Contact us at Brener Construction Inc. to make your bathroom a statement of luxury and relaxation.

Remodeling Your NYC Apartment: Pick a Contractor

When planning to remodel your NYC apartment, it is important to be aware of construction-related dos and don’ts, even if you are not a contractor.

We have put together a few tips to guide you as you begin remodeling your NYC apartment:

1.    Make Confident Decisions

We all dream of a hassle-free home remodeling experience; It really makes life easier when things are well organized and completely sorted out. To ensure this, we must take all confident decisions concerning the remodeling project before the wheels are put in motion. There are always good contractors around who can guide customers about possible situations that may arise during the course of the project.

Most problems arise due to small details such as the paint, faucet selection, or choice of trim. These details may seem too tiny to be significant, but in actuality, when the project begins, every little detail tends to cause huge delays. Faucets arriving two weeks late due to shipment delays may require rescheduling with the plumber. Even when the faucet is installed, it may collide with the medicine cabinet door each time it opens, which may extend our one week project into a four week one with all the offsets.

Contractor for NYC Apartment Remodel

2.    Set a Budget and Compare Prices

We must soundly use our money to invest in rooms we use the most in the house, such as the bathrooms and kitchen. If we use our budget wisely in remodeling rooms like the kitchen or master bedroom, we ensure the most returns on our investment if we ever decide to sell the house.

If we spend less on closet systems, vanities, lightings, and other such items for the secondary spaces of our homes, we ensure a greater investment return when we sell our home in the future.

Before the project begins, we must get a rough estimate of the costs of looks and styles that we wish to implement in our project.  Getting an accurate quote at the start is never possible. The contractor we appoint is the only one who can give us an exact estimate after assessing the current condition of our house. However, it is better still to start with a rough estimate as it helps in planning our budget well.

The best way to confirm whether we are getting an accurate estimate is to verify it with the professionals of the remodeling company we hire. They can also professionally fill us in on the particulars we desire and the other options at our disposal.

3.    Visit Some Bath and Kitchen Showrooms

When we plan to work on remodeling our NYC apartment and are living in the city, it is a good idea to visit some bath and kitchen showrooms to gain fantastic ideas and inspirations on the current trends in the market. We get to see different materials personally and how they work. Not to mention, we can get an accurate idea as to the pricing and make empowered decisions concerning our project.

NYC Apartment Remodel Contractor

4.    Contingency Fund

A contingency fund is a must when we plan a remodeling project. If we put aside at least 5% of our original budget, we will be well equipped to deal with the “what if’s” when and if they occur when our project is in well swing.

A realistic budget is a farfetched idea these days, but one we must practice strictly. We must never, as a rule, consume our contingency budget under any circumstances because that makes things more difficult later on.

If we follow the first rule strictly in the first place, we will surely get away with the contingency budget if we hire a great general contractor.

How to Pick a Good Contractor

When we first decide to get a remodeling project done, we must first get a few things into perspective before we bring in a professional.

  1. We should first have a clear vision of what we want before we bring in a contractor. A contractor, being a professional, may tend to dictate too much. If we map out a plan ourselves first, we will be better able to communicate to the contractor what we want and get it just like that.
  2. Most contractors can usually handle projects relating to bathroom or kitchen remodeling for such projects. If we aim for high design projects, only then do we need architects on board. But in such a case, we must also keep in mind that architects come with a lot of extra zeroes in the final quote.
  3. To be very certain of what our entire project can include, we must first be sure of how much we can comfortably spend. Our affordability dictates our project. The only drawback with a remodeling project is that we really can’t do much window shopping, unlike with other purchases we make. We first need to be sure as to how much we can spend on our project because our budget will largely influence the level of labor, we can bring in and the quality of labor we can afford.
  4. When beginning a remodeling project, we must check for referrals from neighbors, family, and friends. We must also bear in mind that every family’s project is unique, so we must not heavily rely on one person’s referral. We must also do a little homework ourselves and follow up with references provided and the license of potential contractors. A good and reliable contractor after all, is what truly makes the remodeling project a success.

If you are looking for the best construction services, contact us. We provide incomparable and outstanding construction experience.


What to Look For In an Apartment Remodeling Contractor

Whether you’re planning to renovate your home or want to increase its resale value, a remodeling contractor can help you turn that idea into reality. Hiring a remodeling contractor is undeniably one of the best ways to transform the overall look of your apartment. A remodeling contractor can renovate your apartment to improve its aesthetic appeal and value.

The good news is that there is a plethora of remodeling contractors in NYC who can provide you high-quality services. However, choosing the remodeling contractor who is reliable and experienced can be overwhelming if you don’t know what characteristics are to look for.

That means it is important that you make a contractor checklist to make sure you hire the right vendor. Having a checklist will not only ensure that your apartment remodeling is complete on time and within your budget.

Here we include some important characteristics you must look for when choosing a home remodeling contractor:

What Should Apartment Remodeling Contractors Have?

1.    Expertise

Expertise is on the top of our quality list as a must-have characteristic for a reliable home modeling contractor. The remodeling contractor you choose should not be only competent in his/her crafts but must be an expert. And this expertise is only possible when remodelers are professionally trained and have experience of completing numerous projects.

For example, our company, Brener Construction, is popular for its unparalleled expertise in apartment remodeling. We carry a reputation for excellence when it comes to providing exquisite services and workmanship. Our remodelers are trained and professional and know how to transform your vision to reality.

2.    Experience

As mentioned earlier, experience or the years of working in the same line makes an apartment remodeler an expert. When you choose remodeling contractors, it is imperative to go through their profile to see how experienced they are.  Only experienced remodelers can accurately assess the work scope to be done in your apartment.  Plus, with their experience, they can assess the amount of labor, resource, and the time your apartment remodeling job will require.

3.    Portfolio

Another important thing to look for in apartment remodeling contractors is their portfolio.  Seeing the number of successful projects they completed in the past will help you assess how reliable they are. If any contractor doesn’t have an extensive portfolio, hiring them is a risk.

Brener Construction, in this regard, has an incomparable construction portfolio and outstanding apartment remodeling services. We consider every project unique and make sure our contractor ideas reflect your vision.

4.    Home Remodeling Contractor License

This is one of the most important things you need to look for before hiring an apartment remodeling contractor. The vendor must have an apartment remodeling contractor license from the Department of Affairs New York City to offer repair, construction, and remodeling your apartment. Without a permit, the contractor is not legally allowed to make any structural changes to your property.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, finding a good apartment remodeling contractor is no more a daunting process if you hire the services of reputed remodeling contractors, like Brener Construction Inc. With their decades of experience and expertise, they provide impeccable services, quality and pricing.

Contact us anytime to schedule your appointment and to get the best apartment remodeling deals.