FAQs – questions frequently asked to Swisshaus

Building a house is a complex undertaking. Swisshaus provides you with competent support throughout the building process and is ready to offer advice and assistance at any time. You’ll find answers to questions we’re frequently asked about planning and building here.

Questions about building (EN)

Does Swisshaus build prefabricated houses?

No. Our brick houses are built block by block using masonry and concrete. The work is carried out by local builders together with long-standing partner firms of Swisshaus. Our wood houses are erected by our wood-construction partner from eastern Switzerland to a low-energy house design. Swisshaus offers house models with sophisticated layouts that can be custom-modified and have already been built several times.

When do I need to pay for the house?

Thanks to a staggered payment system, you make the payments in instalments. The first down-payment is due when the contract is signed. Payments are then made in line with the progress of the project. The following stages are critical: submission of the application for a building permit, construction start, basement ceiling concreted, roof framework installed, screed floor put down, moving-in date. The last payment is made when the statement of final building costs is submitted. To give you peace of mind and help you keep a handle on the costs, we open a separate general contractor escrow account with the bank of your choice that is used to handle all incoming and outgoing payments for your building project.

How long does building take and when can I move in?

It normally takes between six and eight months to build a brick house. This period does, however, depend upon the size of the building project, the topographical features and the weather conditions when the shell is being erected. We discuss your preferred moving-in date with you during the planning phase. We take this as our target date during the entire construction phase. As soon as the shell has been erected, we can guarantee the definitive moving-in date. It generally takes more time to plan wood houses but less time to build them as the wood elements for our low-energy houses are already produced whilst the foundations and basement are being concreted. It takes one to two days to mount erect elements, after which the interior can be completed.

What is the warranty and how long does it last?

Swisshaus provides a six-year warranty for your home. Any building defects not caused by inadequate building maintenance or normal wear and tear are covered by this warranty. The warranty period (period permitted to submit a notice of defect) runs for two years after completion, during which time outstanding defects are noted and rectified. After this, Swisshaus is liable for hidden defects for the statutory period of three years plus an additional year granted by Swisshaus. These are defects that only arose after the original warranty period expired. To find out more, see handing over the keys & guarantee.

Does Swisshaus use local builders?

Yes. Wherever possible and it makes sense, we commission local builders to carry out the work. At the same time, we collaborate with long-standing, reliable partner firms. When selecting the builders, Swisshaus takes account of the wishes of the owner.

What is included in the house price?

All costs for the building are included in the house price – including the basement if one is planned. When calculating the price of a house, Swisshaus starts from a clearly defined construction execution plan that is included in the construction specifications. Furthermore, our customer advisors and project managers use a construction costs forecast to let you know about any additional costs accruing for changes and special requests. Besides the building costs, the construction costs forecast includes the land costs, the cost of preparation and related work, and the ancillary building costs (e.g. building permit, insurance policies or connection fees for drains/water, etc.). This means you have an overview of the total costs at all times.

Does Swisshaus build on hillsides?

Yes. All of our houses can be built on hillsides with a slope of up to 20 percent. In the case of more demanding topographical conditions, our architects take special measures or plan a house that is modified and optimised for the hillside position. To find out more, see hillsides.

Questions about building land

The ad states “Bauland voll erschlossen”. What does this mean?

A property is considered connected when adequate access exists for the relevant usage and the necessary water, power and drainage connections are so close that connection is possible without considerable time or effort. A property is considered already connected not when the final connection plans are ready but when the connection equipment is in place or adequate connection is at least ensured. In addition, the requirements regarding connection depend on the applicable cantonal and municipal law (for example regarding water supply and waste disposal), to which reference is made.

What are W1, W2 and so on, and what do they mean for building?

Building land is always assigned to a zone. The zoning plan specifies what may be built on a given plot. For instance, the designation W indicates that the building land is located in a residential zone. The number after the letter W generally specifies the number of full floors permitted. In addition to this, there are many other building zone designations, such as mixed residential/commercial zone, village zone or single-family house zone, which differ from canton to canton. Given the diverse nature of Switzerland, the zone designations and the associated regulations differ greatly across the country. Swisshaus would be happy to advise.

What constitutes good building land?

This depends solely on your individual needs. Do you want to live out in the country or close to the city? Should your place of residence be easy to reach by public transport or motorway? Do you want to have schools and shops nearby? You are the only one who can answer these and other questions regarding the location of the building land.

When do I need to pay for the building land?

You buy the building land straight from the owner and not Swisshaus. It is normally the case that a down-payment is required when you reserve building land. When the transaction is notarized, a payment promise must be submitted guaranteeing that the total amount will be paid when ownership of the building land is transferred. Accordingly, the actual amount for the entire building land does not fall due for payment until ownership is transferred.

Is the land included in the house price?

The house price includes the building – including the basement (depending on the house idea).

Questions about multiple-family houses

How expensive is a multiple-family house (MFH)?

It is only possible to provide price indications as multiple-family houses (MFH) have to be aligned more to their location than single-family houses (SFH). The shape and size of the plots, access and parking facilities as well as the topography exert a major influence on the house concept. Furthermore, the building regulations play a greater role than for SFH. You will find the Swisshaus price indications with the individual house ideas.

How much land is needed for an MFH? How large should the plot of land be?

This question can only be answered with reference to a specific site. Various construction law criteria are decisive for determining the requisite plot size. The key factor in most cases is the usage ratio.

Is the Minergie standard included in the house price calculation?

No. The additional charge for building an MFH according to the Minergie standard amounts to seven to eight percent of the building price. The Minergie-P standard must be calculated individually according to the location.

Are the houses wheelchair-accessible?

All MFH with lifts can be constructed to be wheelchair-accessible.

Is it possible to do some of the work yourself?

Swisshaus has to meet the enhanced requirements for an MFH and provide guarantees for things such as soundproofing. For this reason the floor coverings also cannot be laid independently. Doing some of the work yourself is therefore not possible.

Can an MFH be constructed as a wood house?

Generally speaking, an MFH can be constructed in the form of a wood house. The lift shaft and staircase of larger houses and houses with lifts are concreted.

Does Swisshaus also build commercial buildings?

Residential buildings with a small and straightforward commercial section such as offices are possible. However, Swisshaus does not construct buildings used exclusively for commercial purposes.

What is the procedure for the construction of an MFH?

Swisshaus conducts a free survey of what can be built on the plot. A rough analysis illustrates what would be feasible in terms of construction law and which costs would be incurred.