Self-building a new home in Bratsk

Last updated: 16.4.2002

Most of the people who want to have their own houses in Bratsk (and most probably everywhere else in Russia) have to build them themselves. Some take a bank loan, which may be risky as witnessed by quite a few unfinished houses in the new subdivisions, standing in the same state of unfinishness for years after being repossessed by the banks when their builders could not repay the loans.

The family we visited took a safer approach. They sold their apartment in the city three years ago to be able the start the construction of their new house. In the meantime they live, initially with one, now with two children in a tiny temporal cottage on the edge of their plot. It contains one small room serving as the living room and the bedroom for all, and a tiny kitchen.

To save, they grow all the food by themselves, both vegetable and meat. In the opposite corner of their plot there is another temporary building. One half serves as the steam bath, and the other as the hen house, where their hens and geese survive the winter warmed by the heat from the neighbouring banya. Clever, isn't it?

They proceed with the construction when there is enough money. He has a trucking service that has to earn all the money for their living and the house construction. He has an older truck parked in a garage next to their unfinished new house. When the truck breaks down, the construction of the house is interrupted until the truck is repaired. Fortunately, he is able to do all the repairs by himself.

All the walls and roof of the new house are finished by now. It "only" remains to install the central heating, finish the basement and garage, and complete all the internal fixings and decorations. His wife hopes that all this will be finished before the next winter, as she feels very tired from living for so long in the tiny confines of their temporary hut.

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