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Ok, in the Bauordnung it really only states the Ausnützungsziffer, and you say the house total area is within the 0.55 quota. I have to tell you, this is actually uncommon, since most Gemeindes work with the said Baumassen in m3, which allows a bit more freedom in the creative side So on this point you seem to be on the clear.
But it's not only a matter of the area of the attic being within the quote allowed. Among other things, these are important points to take into consideration:
1) enough windows (there is a quota for the percentage of windows needed for "living" rooms, which depends on each gemeinde).
2) clearance from fire brigade: this is what others have mentioned and might get into a bit of a trouble. A stair like what you described would not be accepted in regular terms.
3) safety regarding the positioning of electricity and the correct air circulation in the room (specially important considering it's an attic room)
4) The attic needs to have a minimum area (again gemeinde) of at least 1.8m height to be allowed as a "living" room. The space under 1.80m height is not considered living space.
I'm not trying to scare you or anything, but it's usually a good idea to have everything legal in your home, to avoid insurance problems and future selling problems.
If you haven't done so, I'd advise you to consult the Bauamt. They are usually friendly and helpful, unless you live in Küsnacht . They might also have a pretty good list of local builders and architects that might help you (they probably won't know if they speak English though).
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The Bauamt certainly a good port of call, should things proceed further. My German is fine, so communications are not restricted. In any case I would like to speak to them on a more general basis as to what work requires a building permit and what not. I looked on www.bindexis.ch
to find what permits have been granted on this house, but my basic subscription doesn't allow such detailed searches or precise results.
But, the attic room looks like it has been there for quite a while, how long I don't know. It is generally a large room with certainly more than 1.8m height and windows. It's just the issue with the stairs has caused concern about the legal standing of the room.
Anyway, I will keep the post updated with future findings !