A tall building has been built and its apartments has no tiles, carpet, bathrooms, kitchens.

enter image description here

What do we call these apartments in English?

If I translate from my mother tongue (Vietnamese) to English, it will be "unbuilt apartment" or "rough apartment".

These apartments will be sold to people and the owners will lay tiles or carpets, and build bathrooms, kitchens, windows… for these apartments.

What is this action of laying tiles or carpet, and building bathrooms, kitchens etc. for these apartments called?

If I translate from my mother tongue to English, it will be "build the apartment".

After we "build the apartment", it will look like this (of course there is no furniture, but we have a functional bathroom, toilets, and bedrooms, wooden floors etc.)

an empty modern and bare flat

  • 1
    It doesn't really happen in the UK. Flats are not sold in that condition. The Freeholder is responsible for the kitchen and bathroom, the leaseholder is responsible for the floor in other rooms (but may be required to lay carpet). So just use a sentence to describe the flat (and be prepared for some raised eyebrows)
    – James K
    Commented Jan 22 at 6:37
  • If you buy a newly-built home you expect it to be in a fit state for you to be able to move in straight away. Commented Jan 22 at 8:52
  • I don't know a standard term, but "undecorated" might describe the first (there are also estate-agent euphemisms "needs modernisation", "development opportunity", etc); "unfurnished" means without furniture but normally with carpets, painted walls, etc.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 22 at 9:55
  • 1
    While properties might not be sold in that state in the English speaking world, I think "fit out" can still be used to described the final stages of construction similar to what you're describing. The phrase "build an apartment" would imply construction from the ground up. Commented Jan 22 at 11:09
  • In the UK I've seen this (your first image) referred to as "shell condition". It's pretty unusual in the UK for flats to be sold in this kind of condition though, but you can find them.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 22 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


The picture in the question shows just the bare cement/concrete walls prior to any rough-in work. Apartments or flats are not sold in that condition. They first have to be roughed-in and the MEP (may have another name in the UK, etc. but the idea is the same) done. Also, referred to as the trades work. Bathrooms and kitchens are part of the primary construction work. They don't come later. Fixtures are added later.

After that, comes the roughing-in phase:


What Is Rough-In? Rough-in refers to the phase of construction when 'rough' framing, piping, and wiring are installed on your property. During the rough-in phase, your walls are still open and the drywall is not installed, which allows your MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) contractors to install their 'rough' piping, wiring & ductwork in the property.

rough-in phase

Next comes laying the floors (building the floor) and doing the walls (drywall, usually but not always), THEN comes the finish work or finishing: tiles (wall tile), wood floors, ceramic tile floor, kitchen cabinets, counters etc.

Generally, speaking people buy apartments with the finish work done.

"Tiles, carpets, bathrooms and kitchen" as stated in the question are put in at different points in the construction process.

So, by the time an owner or renter takes possession of the flat, what is left for them to do is: decoration.

So, we say: to decorate a flat or apartment. Paint it and then put in furniture, some fixtures (towel racks), curtains, rugs, blinds, etc.


Fit out is the term used to describe the process of making an interior space suitable for occupation. In other words, it’s the electrical, mechanical, decorating and furnishing that’s undertaken by the tenant that’s leasing the space from the developer or landlord.

[An office fit out as described above is not the same as the fit out performed by a unit owner in an apartment building.]

fit out phase in the UK

People who buy an apartment are not usually the ones who fit it out. That is done by the building trades people (plumbers, electricians and air ventilation/cooling people (in NA we say HVAC) but for Vietnam heating is not needed.

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