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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

Our Services

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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Upgrading Your Kitchen to a Modern Space

Are you considering upgrading your kitchen? There is never really the right time to modernize the kitchen. There are hundreds of new trends, designs, modern a

Upgrading your kitchen NYC

ppliances, creative color uses, and what not pouring in every day. So much so that we end up finding our kitchen boring and outdated almost every few months.

Here are a few ideas that can help us keep our kitchens looking modern, trendy, and functional all the time:

Upgrading Your Kitchen: Top Upgrades to Consider

1.    Metals Upgrade

One of the prime reasons why our kitchens look outdated is because of the materials used. Those materials may have been popular decades ago, but with time, they tend to lose their fashionable feel and look.

Manufacturers these days release scores of innovative materials and, so it the case with design trends. We should take inspiration from these and pull off lighting fixtures and drawers that border on offensive.

Most modern metals, very much in demand in this age are, stainless steel, matte aluminum, copper, and brushed gold. We can incorporate these materials into our pendent lighting, cabinetry hardware, and range hood options.

2.    New Flooring

Flooring is the most underestimated element of our kitchen, but we can’t imagine the impact it has on our kitchen.  If we feel our kitchen feels too outdated, we can swap to a more timeless, resilient material. Stone, wood, or tile is the best choice.

These materials are long-lasting and also enhance the value of our home. Most recent trends have seen ceramic tiles that imitate hardware looks as well as slate and travertine.

3.    Countertops Modernization

Countertops tend to take a large portion of real estate in our kitchens, and often times we don’t realize it. There is an endless variety of options for countertop designs today. We can pick anything from natural stone varieties such as granite and marble to resin and polymers. Every budget and style taste has plenty of options to pick from.

Most modern designers have taken their creativity to new levels with heavy structural materials, especially for countertops. Now, you can add brick, concrete, and tile to our list.

4.    We Can Afford to Lose the Upper Cabinetry

We previously built a kitchen with walls of upper cabinetry included for housing cookware and dishes. The result, as we perceive it now, consumes the eye and makes the kitchen feel too crowded and stuffy.

If you want a spacious and clutter-free kitchen but do not have the space to expand, you should perhaps seriously consider removing some cabinets. This will free up our entire kitchen wall and give us space to incorporate more modern shelving with a few dishware and decorative items. This way, the space ends up looking neat, classy, and more spacious.

5.    New Seating Space

We all know our kitchens are the busiest space in our homes, and in family gatherings or meetups, most people congregate there. This culture is greatly emphasized by modern kitchens, which feature a sitting place in the kitchen layout.

You can choose from countertop seats and stools at our breakfast bar and even opt for a bench or banquette at a side table beside a window. The whole point is to add a lot more appeal and character to a kitchen with some seating space. If you have a busy family, with children who have to complete homework, and parents who also have to entertain friends, the seating space in our kitchen would be a wonderful advantage.

8.  Energy Efficient Appliances

Best NYC contractor for upgrading your NYC kitchenWe are all trying to decrease our carbon footprint in this day and age. Perhaps the best place to start with would be our kitchens. If you plan on kitchen upgrades in our near future, we should make serious efforts to making it energy efficient. Saving energy and water won’t even make us look outdated. In fact, we look modern with our energy-efficient efforts and also save the earth and our bills.

While we are at it, we must also consider replacing our plumbing fixtures. If we install kitchen faucets with a low flow, we will save precious water. We must bear in mind that upgrading does not mean merely pleasing the aesthetics: it also means to save the earth’s precious resources as well as our hard-earned money.

9. Revive Existing Cabinetry

If new cabinets are impossible for your budget, then we can do fairly well with just some painting and staining of the existing cabinets. We could easily choose bold and vibrant blues, a modern, dark finish to disguise the outdated wood and the awful colored cabinets or previous years. You can make an amazing and unbelievable transformation from adding distressed doors and cabinets to painted stains and glazes.

10. New Lighting Works Wonders

We often get so engrossed with modernizing the major components in our kitchen that we completely overlook the lighting factor. Lighting is also very essential for ambiance, safety, and our kitchen’s versatility. If the kitchen has just one overheard lighting fixture, one must consider a recessed light source for enhanced illumination.

Among some other great options are chandeliers, pendant lighting over kitchen islands, and to illuminate countertops, we can opt for under cabinet lightings as well.

Call Brener Construction for all Kitchen Upgrades & Renovation

We specialize in all kinds of construction, remodeling, renovation, and design projects. Contact us and see your upgrades create the kitchen of your dreams!


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Restoring Landmark Property in NYC

How does one go about restoring landmark property in NYC? If you happen to own an apartment in New York City, especially in a landmark building, architectural masterpiece, or in one of the city’s historical attractions, it is a great source of pride. While such ownership make one feel accomplished in life, their restoration and repair comprise of unique challenges.

The Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) entirely controls the process. The LPC is recognized for ruling over all the above-mentioned structures in NYC with an iron hand and rightfully so.

Before owners can begin any type of restoration work, they first need to obtain a permit from the LPC. The LPC issues three types of permits : Permits for Minor Work, Certificates of No Effect and Certificates of Appropriateness. We receive the above-mentioned permits from the LPC based on the work we propose to customers. The permits we receive are also determined upon our submission of an application.

Restoring Landmark Property in NYC

We require a CNE (Certificate of No Effect) when the work we have proposed requires a permit by the DOB. However, this work will not have an impact on the building’s architectural features. Some examples include the installation of heating and plumbing equipment, interior renovations, and some other changes that do not have a negative impact on the primary features of the building. The LPC thoroughly verifies such proposed plans to ensure that it will cause any damage to protected features or cause any detraction to historical districts’ unique character.

When a proposed plan indicates a significant effect on the protected architectural features, a Permit for Minor Work is granted but a DOB permit is not required. Examples of such proposed works include door or window replacement, restoration of architectural details, and masonry repair and cleaning. When an application is submitted, LPC reviews it to determine whether the changes proposed will be appropriate or not for building and/or the district.

When a proposed plan involves affecting the significant and protected architectural features and fails to meet the staff level approval’s guidelines, a Certificate of Appropriateness is required. Owners must be aware of the rules of the Landmark Preservation Commission. Some examples of such proposed plans include demolitions, rear or rooftop yard additions, removal, and construction of architectural features such as cornices and stoops. To obtain such a permit, a public hearing has to be held at the LPC offices and the local community board.

Landmark Preservation Commission

The LPC grants ‘Landmark’ status to historically, architecturally, and culturally significant buildings of New York City as means of operation. It enforces and enacts regulations to prescribe to homeowners on how they should maintain and preserve their properties.

This commission is generally more focused on the building exteriors. The entire city possesses around 31,000 landmark properties. Out of these, most exist in the five boroughs’ 111 historic districts. A huge majority of these lie in Manhattan and 117 of interior landmarks.

According to the Landmarks Law of 1965, a place or structure that can be considered landmark designation worthy must at least be 30 years of age. It should also possess a special aesthetic or historical value or interest and a special character. This is all a part of the heritage, cultural characteristics, and development of the city, nation, or state.

Best General Contractor - Restoring Landmark Property in NYC

To add to its list of protected properties, the LPC searches for and adds buildings to the list. It also takes into serious consideration applications sent in by interest groups and citizens. Since 1990, they have doubled the number of buildings that comes under its protective umbrella. Back in the 1990s, the city had merely 52 historic districts and contained less than 15,000 buildings.

Restoring Landmark Property in NYC

To restore our landmark property, we must begin by choosing a team. Our team comprises of an architect, an engineer if any important alterations or major repairs are required, as well as a contractor. Make sure that your contractors put together a team of members who have experience in historic restoration, and their portfolio features a minimum of 5 landmark projects, at least. They should also be well recognized and approved by the commission. The architect initiates the work by putting together the drawings with landmarks requirements.

If we submit an application for obtaining a work permit for the exterior of any NYC building, we are required to provide architectural drawings that feature details of every single aspect of the task.

Select a General Contractor

best-apartment-renovation-nyc-logoIt is essential to pick a contractor experienced in historic restoration. If you fail to do so, the LPC might be unhappy with what your contractors do. the LPC strictly instructs contractors to restore things in accordance with how they were , whether it is the façade, the building’s historical parts, the marble, the brass, the material we use, the terrazzo etc.

We are not allowed to employ any harsh products or tools to do this because we could end up damaging the surfaces.

Get Approval

The LPC can and does delay jobs. The approval process is bound to get more complicated if we want to change a feature of the façade, perhaps brings in a durable material in place of a decorative element. The Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Building Department require an application for a variance which the engineer has to file.

Restoring Landmark Property in NYC: Final Thoughts

In the coming few years, it is an established fact that most buildings will have to undergo repair and inspections of facades as well as all other NYC buildings over six stories. This will be done in compliance with the FISP (Façade Inspection Safety Program), also known as Local Law 11.

This would be a good chance to make advance applications and repairs, especially if it is a landmark that would involve a complicated process of approval.

For any restoration and renovation works for landmarked NYC buildings, contact the best general contractors and the most experienced professionals in the city. 

Tel: 646-455-3321

Renovating a NYC Townhouse: Things to Consider

Are you planning on renovating a NYC townhouse? Once in a while, every New Yorker feels the need to renovate their brownstone beauty. When deciding to renovate your NYC townhouse, first determine how much your budget and contractors can handle before setting the wheels into motion. We must also work efficiently to minimize the length of time the renovations would take in order to mitigate the expense of looking after two homes.

Renovating an NYC Townhouse

Here’s what you need to know to efficiently and economically renovate your townhouse:

Cost, Timespan and What to Tackle

If you purchase a townhouse that requires work across multiple spaces and rooms, it is better to tackle to project before moving in. The first task to tackle must be the flooring. It is not so much the cost that’s bothersome, but the hassle one endures if they don’t get the flooring done before moving in. In this situation, you will have to put the furniture in storage and temporarily relocate, which really is a bucket load of hassle.

In the same way, skim coating the ceilings and walls is another intrusive and messy task that is better performed when the house is vacant.

Renovating a NYC Townhouse: Questions to Ask

When setting out to find a townhouse to renovate, most people have an idea of what kind of home and lifestyle they are looking for. Perhaps you have suffered enough from neighbors stomping above your heads or cannot accept any more troubles from the co-op boards. It could also be that you simply dream of a roofed terrace and a backyard. Whatever your motivations may be, you should narrow down your townhouse renovation search to the properties that will suit your intended lifestyle and home. Here are some questions you must ask yourselves to aid your search.

1.    Building’s history

Here is where you take the property’s soundness into serious consideration. We must access the Department of Building’s site to look up the history of our property and go through the complaints, violations as well as permits and applications for any work conducted prior to our ownership.

We must vigilantly look for red flags and determine, with the help of the information derived, whether any prior projects were undertaken and executed properly. These include alterations to the plumbing, structural changes, mechanical and electrical, etc. there are also several other real estate resources we can access to obtain publically available, comprehensive information concerning our property.

2.    Compare the Actual Square Footage Versus the Buildable Square Footage

Many townhouses have a larger footprint compared to current buildings. For example, the building may be 20’x 35’ itself, but the brownstones are often on 100-foot lots. Explained by some experts, these buildings even have the option of extending in a rebuilding project by ten to thirty feet. However, this depends on the floor-area ratio. The Zoning designation determines the FAR. The Zoning Resolution for New York City designates up to ten residential districts.

It is also an established fact that if you need to expand vertically, the landmark preservation requirement may pose certain constraints. The square footage does not count spaces that are below-grade. You can make use of the spaces below to create storage or mechanicals, even when they are not for inhabiting. If you use the underground space to store these elements, we can free up a lot of space above to maximize your living area and perhaps the rental income potential.

3.    Existing Conditions

Apart from the information you collect through databases, you must pay due attention to the current state of the building. Look for signs of termites, water damage, mold and etc. Most importantly, never fail to check on the external forces beyond the control of the owner such as a lot of ongoing and planned construction in the area.

Do your research background details of the townhouse; was it a single-family or a two-family dwelling. You should then hire an architect accordingly.

4.    Is Yours in a Historical or a Landmarked District?

New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission preserves buildings and sites that are historically, architecturally, and culturally significant. Several brownstone townhouses are located in historic districts. As per the LPC website, more than 36,000 landmark properties lie in historic extensions and districts across the five boroughs.

If you are seriously considering buying a protected townhouse, you will be required to submit any planned alterations at the same time as you submit the contractor’s plans to the DOB.

5.    Financing the Townhouse Renovation

The process of acquiring a townhouse purchase and renovation financing is the same as the renovation and purchase of a condo. This is because, just like condos, townhouses are also recognized as real property.

If you are planning on financing both the purchase and the renovation of the property yourself, then you have a couple of options to do so:

  • Apply for a permanent mortgage loan and a construction loan separately. This means that you will have to research loans separately and make two separate sets of closing costs payments.
  • You can also opt for a construction to permanent loan. This combination instrument is meant to simplify the process because you will then have to take just one loan and then pay the closing costs.

We have the best townhouse contractors in New York City to take care of all townhome related renovations.

Tel: 646-455-3321

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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.

Flooring Options - Best NYC Contractor 01

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.

Flooring Options - Best NYC Contractor 02


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

NYC Apartment Renovation-What to Know-01

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.

NYC Apartment Renovation-What to Know-02

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.