Search terms: Construction, Switzerland
In Switzerland, the construction of new buildings and the modification of existing buildings are subject to approval. At the application stage, issues beyond the construction site itself must be considered, such as traffic development and parking opportunities. Unusually, however, construction plans must also take account of nature conservation issues.
Pursuant to the new Federal Law on the Elimination of Disadvantages for Disabled Persons, all obstacles to the disabled in public buildings must be removed within a 20-year period. The law also requires that new and renovated private buildings be made disabled-friendly, although this rule only applies where the private buildings are open to the public.
The Swiss Engineer and Architects Association has revised its fee recommendations under pressure from the Federal Competition Commission. The new fee model is based on the estimated time that architects will spend on the project. Although it is more transparent, some have criticized the new model as it requires cooperation with the owner of the building under construction.
If building works are defective and the original contractor is unable to remedy them, the owner is entitled to engage a third-party contractor to make the necessary improvements. Until recently the owner had to advance the costs itself and seek reimbursement from the original contractor through the courts, but a recent Federal Supreme Court has improved the owner's position in this regard.
Significant expansion at Switzerland's largest airports, particularly Zurich-Kloten, has resulted in a dramatic increase in air traffic noise. The proposed construction of a new runway will exacerbate the situation, and new building work in those areas exposed to the worst of the noise may no longer be allowed.
The Federal Supreme Court has confirmed precedents which establish the extent to which lessees must tolerate nuisance caused by construction work, particularly at their leased premises and in their neighbourhood. It also outlined the legal measures which lessees can take in order to defend themselves against such nuisance.