Some say comfort-class, and some tell lies
Classification methods for new residential developments by quality were approved by the Russian Guild of Realtors at the end of 2012. Specialists distinguished four classes of residences at the primary housing market: economy, comfort, business and elite. The first two segments were referred to mass housing, and the other two - to high quality residences.
Alexander Pronin, chief architect of Metropolis, gave his comments to Kommersant with regard to specifics of design approach towards designing economy and comfort class residential complexes.
Alexander also noted that these types of residences refer to mass construction and there seems to be no clear difference between them. However, several main criteria that can help identify these classes may be pointed out.
Firstly, an important role belongs to such factors as the location of a residential complex, its trasnport accessibility (e.g. closeness to a metro station for big cities), and the availability of social infrastructure facilities nearby. There must be an available car parking area near the complex, with the number of car parking spaces complying with the standard requirements. Developers often try to save on this, using different loopholes in the legislation and the norms. As a result of such actions, we as a minimum get yards and lawns blocked up with cars and conflicts with neighbours for parking spaces next to the house. And as maximum, refusal of some residents to use their own cars due to lack of normal parking.
To avoid such situation when buying a flat in a new building, first of all it is necessary to study the design documentation of the residential complex and compare the anticipated number of residents with the planned number of car spaces. After digging in the internet a bit, any person could make a conclusion. Also a car free courtyard is appropiate for comfort-class residences, moreover, a real one and not just on paper.
In addition, a comfort-class residential complex must necesserily have kindergartens and schools at a walking distance, also existing in fact and not just on paper. Recycling of waste issue should be also addressed, and the way this process is ogranized in a particular residential complex. Is it convenient to you or not?
The second important parameter is the quality of space planning solutions of flats and the areas of residences and bathrooms. In general, comfort-class apartments should be larger than economy-class flats by 6-15 sq.m. In two-bedroom flats there might be a second WC and a small storeroom (cloakroom).
The third distinguishing factor characterizing comfort-class and economy-class, in my opinion, is entrance groups and lift equipment, along with finishing of public spaces. In comfort-class residences access to lifts at the ground floor should be without staircases, and entrance groups should necessarily have natural lighting. There should also be rooms for concierges.
Read the article in full in Kommersant