Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sample flat, a concept!

Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is...Charles M. Schulz

Well, how opt are the words on the back ground of today's subject! Many a developers won’t like the comparison with what they are doing at their projects but truthfully that's the whole purpose of the concept Sample flat or more popularly known as Show Flat! Since long the concept of sample flat exists in real estate Industry as unlike any other industry to make a prototype model is extremely difficult & for years the customers had to wait to get possession of their own home to understand & feel the exact nature of their own home! As in Auto or White Goods i.e. AC/Freeze products you can actually see a model, observe its features, check their performance, feel them in the show room & then select what you want to buy. Whereas while buying the costliest product of your life all you have is a brochure, some images & sometimes a model of the building & that to miniature one! Never one could have got the feel of interior of the home then.

Well sure it was a difficult situation & many years the industry went along with it but lastly in late 90's when more than single building projects started & the concept of townships come in then to sale the volume of the homes, developers started realizing to have a life style model of the home they have to sale.
As with large volumes to sale there was a strong need to give something more to attract the customer in compare with others as well to make them feel larger than the life while selecting their home. In a way this was one marketing move too. Also when the height of building was restricted to 4-5 floors it wasn't technically possible to finish one flat earlier but with technology changing & building height lifted to 10-11 storied it was possible to complete all civil works of 1st floor flats & make it ready for display. It started with a regular finish flat with standard amenities s the project would be having. Then slowly some developers started putting furniture in it to give the idea of the room lay out & now days we have designer flats specially made as show flat. These many a times may not be matching with the standard amenities but like in automobile advertise, it carries a note that the customer can get the flat made up like the show flat by paying extra.

As an engineer  I can say that the importance  of a sample flat is much more for the developers, architects & the construction team than for customer. A building is a complex thing & has many agencies working over it. Here in our country mostly all the works at site are being carried out manually; especially works which are related to finishing i.e. Plastering, Tiling, Wood work like doors fittings, Painting etc. Now as there are many masons or painters who will be working at a time in a single project, so it’s very difficult to define the quality of the workmanship of the job of a individual worker. As two individuals will have different skills it’s important that all people working should have one basic scale of finishing quality in their mind & this we can show them actually via sample flat. As finishing of a plaster surface or paint quality can’t be described in mere words, one has to actually see it to achieve the same. Here the sample flat plays important role for the workers & supervisors at the site. As they all come on a equal platform for defining the term quality of finishing. Then there are many things which people are unable to understand on drawing, things like plumbing arrangements & fittings. It’s always helpful to do a role model as if there are some designing faults they can be restricted to the sample flat level only & other flats can have improved version  eliminating the faults of the sample flat. This usually happens with electric & plumbing systems of a home as things may look different when put in actual than in drawings. Also many a times things like door sizes or window arrangements you realize in more better way when you actually feel them in existence & then you can improvise the same in better way for next flats. Work specification gets finalized in this process & things like color of flooring as well dado tiles in toilets you can decide in better way when gets actually displayed at site than just in product catalogue. And this is why however small project may be a sample flat is important keeping in minds better work out put & not just by marketing angle.

From the customer point of view it’s vital to understand the specifications & amenities provided in show flat & ensure out of that what he will be getting actually for his flat as per the agreement. Mainly what one should learn from the show flat is feel of the flat he will be buying. Many will ask what I meant by feel of the flat? It means getting judgment of the space you will be getting to use after getting possession. The room sizes, their interrelation with each other, natural light for each room & wind direction by arrangement of windows. Also one should understand that sample flat can give you idea of the inside only. When its numbers of buildings one has to remember that outside view will be different for each corner & you have to imagine accordingly the outside view from each room as per the internal arrangement of the flat. Also do ask about what kind of changes can be done in your flat to personalize the same in compare with the sample flat. Usually I don't recommend change in plumbing arrangement as in multi-storied building that may cause later maintenance problems. So if you have any real difficulty with the show flat arrangement of plumbing then do ask to the developer whether it can be changed in the entire flats so as everyone can get benefited with the change if its genuine!

At the same time see that the space is enough for the furniture lay out you have got in your mind & the use of the rooms is feasible as per the sizes of the rooms. Check out the furniture displayed whether it’s too the mark i.e. dining table size & bed dimensions. For e.g. there has to be enough space to accommodate a proper sized bed, a wardrobe& a dressing table, which is bare minimum must in a bed room. This aspect one should check while seeing the sample flat. Also check up for window arrangements in each room & light & ventilation they will be providing at your flat. Remember that the sample flat displays just the inside & the location within the building as well within the complex if there are numbers of buildings also plays significant role in light ventilation, privacy & view fronts of a home.

The best I can suggest here is not just relay on the sample flat but visit the developers completed project if any having flats of similar pattern. It will give you idea about his commitments not only towards the inside of the flat but about entire set up i.e. from surrounding development to arrangement of buildings & the interrelation of the flats within the building. As then only one can get the complete realistic idea about your builders approach towards your home & that is most important than just displaying a designer show flat!
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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