Advice on actions - Damage to property by construction vibration

Hello everyone,

I have new topic for discussion and hope to hear some good ideas/advises about our situation.

We live in our own apartment in Budapest enjoying our semi-retirement time.
After returning from one of our trips within Europe, we found out that builders of building next to our apartment building managed to cause substantial damage to one of the walls in our bedroom to the extend that building blocks of the wall moved inside of the room for few cm.

Damages are quite severe. Not sure if anyone had any experiences like this, but would like to hear what you think should be our actions in such situation in addition to contacting builders who caused such damage. We moved to Hungary from North America and are not quite familiar with rules and laws of how people deal with situations of damages to personal real estate property caused by vibration of building construction. Would appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise

Do you own or rent the property?

We own our apartment

You should inform/complain to:

1) the owner of your building
2) the owner of the space being built
3) the local government office that permits building permits
4) the construction company

You may need to hire an attorney to push your issue. And a structural engineer or architect to assess the damage (i.e. the construction company may come in and just push back the bricks and plaster over them, but you may have other structural damage that may also need repair).

If you do not speak Hungarian, you should hire an interpreter. Options here:

https://www.expat.com/en/business/europ … erpreters/

Attorney options:

https://www.expat.com/en/business/europ … s/lawyers/

Architects:

https://www.expat.com/en/business/europ … rchitects/

It may be possible to correct this issue without having to go "postal" by hiring a lawyer and spending money.
I hope you have taken photos of the damage just in case it does require a court case.
Perhaps the construction crew knows what they have done but you were not home when they tried to contact you?
If they are still working next door I would take them over to show the damages.
They must fix it at their own cost of time and resources.
If they try to brush you off then speak to the owner of the apt. if they also drag their feet then I'd go postal.
We once had our nephew let in the electric co. into our flat when we were on vacation.
They had to enter to change out the meters.
They did a sloppy job and messed up a bit of the wall in our kitchen, left a ugly patchwork of concrete and mess all over the floor.
Our nephew just left it all, young dude who didn't really care I suppose, not his problem.
We let it go and cleaned it up ourselves but learned a lesson about asking for a favor.
100% sure the construction guys have to know they went to far and are perhaps just stalling to leave the job without even informing the flat owner.
Can't hurt to knock on the door and drag them over for a look at their handiwork, best of luck.
They should stop all work at the other flat and fix your place first.

Thank you for your message, Marilyn.
A bit of more info about this damage. It is actually our own apartment and you are correct that we have been away when it happened.  We went on short vacation and found this "surprise" when we got back.

There is new building being constructed next to ours and it happened that one of the walls in our apartment is external wall of our building.  I am sure that construction workers knew what they have done when they were making their building concrete external wall (connected to ours) and used vibration to settle that concrete.
We notified our management company and owners of new building and had some representatives from construction company coming to review damages.  They admitted that it is completely their fault and told us that they will do repairs.

Issues we have with it are -huge inconvenience for us.  We ended up to move everything from that room (due to safety concern) to another room which is also now not accessible due to having a lot of things in.  We do not know how long it would take for repairs,etc. "Cherry on the cake" is the fact that we just had major reno done to our apartment just last year and now this...
Being from North America we know how we would deal with this there.  However, not familiar with process and procedures to have all fixed here and not to go through years of legal issue. That is why I asked if anyone has any comments/suggestions

Thank you for your reply, klsalle

Your suggestion sound logical... My concern is how long it would be taking for us to get everything fixed if they go through legal path.  Not sure if it is needed either considering that builders admit that this is completely their fault.  My concern is that they would try to get away with just doing some repairs without any accounting for how much hassle and inconvenience it is causing us and without doing proper assessment of actual damage.

Your comment about independent assessment by structural engineer is good one and we will definitely consider it.  The same as notification of owners of newly constructed building and municipality.

Craftsmanship of building workers if very questionable to say the least. ..

voyage2931 :

My concern is how long it would be taking for us to get everything fixed if they go through legal path.  Not sure if it is needed either considering that builders admit that this is completely their fault.

If they admit fault, that is then the best you can do. Going legal may take years. And you will in the end only get reimbursed for actual costs (i.e. if your architect says that further repairs are needed than they want to do). There is no monetary reward for pain and suffering or being inconvenienced in Hungary. You only get reimbursed for what financial loss you can prove you lost (including attorney fees), plus interest if relevant.

And if you lose the case.... you have to pay all their attorney fees.... So consider that.

voyage2931 :

Craftsmanship of building workers if very questionable to say the least. ..

There is a very, very wide variation in craftsmanship here, for sure. I have an excellent general contractor do our house renovation, but it took me years, and a lot of sloppy work, before I found him.

It's true, other then getting the repairs done there is no comp. for putting you out.
I think if a car hits you all you can get is a ride to the ER. Not much payment for pain and suffering.Even if the driver is at fault and they have insurance. Not sure if the laws on that have changed lately or not but used to be you would be lucky to pocket say $300. for a broken leg or worst by a car hitting you in a crosswalk.
One reason auto insurance rates are rather low here, they never pay out much.
Hungary is a reasonable place to buy property but the laws are so different.
Just chalk it up to bad luck.
No idea how long it would take for repairs but if it's a big co. your dealing with they may either do it right away or put if off until they are between"juicy" jobs.

Thank you to everyone for your comments and feedback.  Much appreciated

Have you checked with neighbours in your block. They might have had damage too?

SimCityAT :

Have you checked with neighbours in your block. They might have had damage too?

Great advice, I thought the issue was with a common wall between flats but as an exterior wall... scary.
I know the bricks between flats is soemtimes only one brick thick but the outside walls are at least 2 bricks thick.
Must of took a lot of vibration to move them.Lucky they didn't crack any windows as well.

New topic