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Old 17.07.2020, 15:03
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Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

I live in a 5 story apartment building that has an underground parking area. Other than the main entrance to the building there was also the ability (until last week) to exit through the underground parking in the event of a fire. That no longer exits because access to the underground is only allowed to the 12 individuals that park there. Does anyone know if there are laws pertaining to fire escape in apartment buildings? Thanks in advance.
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Old 17.07.2020, 15:12
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

I’m not surprised. For all their laws and assorted police, including the fire police, Switzerland is surprisingly sloppy on safety.

I lived in a small block with 6 families where the front door was dead locked every night at 19.00. In case of fire one needed a key to get out of the building...
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Old 17.07.2020, 15:30
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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I live in a 5 story apartment building that has an underground parking area. Other than the main entrance to the building there was also the ability (until last week) to exit through the underground parking in the event of a fire. That no longer exits because access to the underground is only allowed to the 12 individuals that park there. Does anyone know if there are laws pertaining to fire escape in apartment buildings? Thanks in advance.
Why would you want to go underground in case of fire?

- You should not use the elevator.
- If you use the stairs you'll normally pass the normal front door when wanting to go underground.
- If everything down is on fire you'll escape through the roof or your balcony/window.

How special is your situation that access to underground would be demanded to be open for all as an escape route?
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Old 17.07.2020, 15:48
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

Best advice I can give is to ask the fire brigade. If something needs fixing they'll tell the landlord.

I'm pretty certain deadlocking the door is illegal though. We had to change the locks on our common entrances as ordered by the fire brigade so that could not happen.
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Old 17.07.2020, 17:45
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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Why would you want to go underground in case of fire?

- You should not use the elevator.
- If you use the stairs you'll normally pass the normal front door when wanting to go underground.
- If everything down is on fire you'll escape through the roof or your balcony/window.

How special is your situation that access to underground would be demanded to be open for all as an escape route?
In the event that the front door is blocked I would enjoy having the option of exiting through the garage. Also, if I have to exit via my balcony or window I would prefer not having to jump 5 floors. Survival could be bleak.
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Old 18.07.2020, 23:23
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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In the event that the front door is blocked I would enjoy having the option of exiting through the garage. Also, if I have to exit via my balcony or window I would prefer not having to jump 5 floors. Survival could be bleak.
Why would the front door be blocked? If that is the designated fire exit, it should under no circumstances be blocked, which means that no prams, childrens' bikes or other things are allowed to be stored there at any time. Failure to keep the exit clear can result in a hefty fine from the "fire police".

What prevents you from just going out through the garage? Is it locked? Then it is clearly not your intended fire escape, otherwise it would not be locked.

This all seems a bit far-fetched. While it is good to have a plan of action, fires are not that common in Switzerland. I'm a volunteer firefighter and maybe 20% of our call-outs can be categorised as being due to fire, which is only because it includes turning off fire alarms with a direct link to the fire brigade that have gone off unnecessarily.
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Old 19.07.2020, 06:26
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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Why would the front door be blocked? If that is the designated fire exit, it should under no circumstances be blocked, which means that no prams, childrens' bikes or other things are allowed to be stored there at any time. Failure to keep the exit clear can result in a hefty fine from the "fire police".

What prevents you from just going out through the garage? Is it locked? Then it is clearly not your intended fire escape, otherwise it would not be locked.

This all seems a bit far-fetched. While it is good to have a plan of action, fires are not that common in Switzerland. I'm a volunteer firefighter and maybe 20% of our call-outs can be categorised as being due to fire, which is only because it includes turning off fire alarms with a direct link to the fire brigade that have gone off unnecessarily.
My building front door, despite having a dead-lock, is lockable and sometimes people lock it behind them, which really makes me gnash my teeth. If there was a fire and you don't have your key on you then you will be screwed.
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Old 19.07.2020, 08:45
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

Many lockable doors have a knob on the inside instead of the keyhole, so that everybody can easily onlock it and exit.
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Old 19.07.2020, 08:57
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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Why would the front door be blocked? If that is the designated fire exit, it should under no circumstances be blocked, which means that no prams, childrens' bikes or other things are allowed to be stored there at any time. Failure to keep the exit clear can result in a hefty fine from the "fire police".
Hm, because the fire started just in front of the door for some reason.
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Old 19.07.2020, 08:58
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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Why would the front door be blocked? If that is the designated fire exit, it should under no circumstances be blocked, which means that no prams, childrens' bikes or other things are allowed to be stored there at any time. Failure to keep the exit clear can result in a hefty fine from the "fire police".
I assume he means that access to the front door is made impossible due to the fire.
It’s an unlikely scenario but it could happen.

Unless the garage is accessed via a different stairwell I would imagine access to that could be blocked by the fire too.
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Old 19.07.2020, 10:34
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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Hm, because the fire started just in front of the door for some reason.
That possibility, and keeping it from happening, is precisely why escape routes, including the stairwell, can't be used for any kind of storage, not even for shoes. Nothing that can burn therefore no fire that can block access to the front door.
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Old 19.07.2020, 10:42
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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In the event that the front door is blocked I would enjoy having the option of exiting through the garage. Also, if I have to exit via my balcony or window I would prefer not having to jump 5 floors. Survival could be bleak.
You could buy an emergency rope ladder, if they wake you at night and flames are coming out of the door at the 3rd stock than the balcony still is your best bet.
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Old 20.07.2020, 12:28
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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I'm a volunteer firefighter and maybe 20% of our call-outs can be categorised as being due to fire, which is only because it includes turning off fire alarms with a direct link to the fire brigade that have gone off unnecessarily.
This is so correct. And then we or the tenant get a bill for CHF1,000. We now add a clause in our contracts that the tenant is liable in the event of the alarm going off due to smoke from cooking or whatever. It happens at least 3 times a year and in the whole condominium I'd say it happens at least once a month!
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Old 20.07.2020, 13:40
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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This is so correct. And then we or the tenant get a bill for CHF1,000. We now add a clause in our contracts that the tenant is liable in the event of the alarm going off due to smoke from cooking or whatever. It happens at least 3 times a year and in the whole condominium I'd say it happens at least once a month!
Yeah, or there is some other issue that keeps setting it off, like someone repeatedly causing a fuse to blow, we had that in the building next to mine for about a week, sooo annoying.

Since my wording was a bit unclear and the numbers were from memory, here are some additional details with the actual numbers: Only 14 out of 83 call-outs were related to actual fire (not counting two cars that caught fire), versus 26 automatic fire alarms going off and three cases of having to check after smoke had developed for whatever reason. The rest are traffic accidents, oil spills, assisting with getting patients out of their homes, etc.
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Old 20.07.2020, 14:40
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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Yeah, or there is some other issue that keeps setting it off, like someone repeatedly causing a fuse to blow, we had that in the building next to mine for about a week, sooo annoying.

Since my wording was a bit unclear and the numbers were from memory, here are some additional details with the actual numbers: Only 14 out of 83 call-outs were related to actual fire (not counting two cars that caught fire), versus 26 automatic fire alarms going off and three cases of having to check after smoke had developed for whatever reason. The rest are traffic accidents, oil spills, assisting with getting patients out of their homes, etc.
No more plucking cats off trees and parrots off roofs?

In 10 years we had one fire and at least monthly - sometimes twice a day!! - wrong alarms, the fire brigade always showing up with several large fire engines (as they never knew and we had 170 people living in that building). Not to mention the ones at night, when the boys insisted I'd show up - living 50km away.
Some were also caused by people hitting one of the manual-releases. As that was the kids having fun, we had them all reinstalled higher up.

The other poster's tenants are lucky with 1k - it cost us Fr. 1700.00 time.
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Old 20.07.2020, 15:06
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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That possibility, and keeping it from happening, is precisely why escape routes, including the stairwell, can't be used for any kind of storage, not even for shoes. Nothing that can burn therefore no fire that can block access to the front door.
our previous building had wall-to-wall carpet in the stairwell
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Old 20.07.2020, 15:10
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Re: Are there laws in Switzerland concerning apartment construction and fire escape?

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I’m not surprised. For all their laws and assorted police, including the fire police, Switzerland is surprisingly sloppy on safety.

I lived in a small block with 6 families where the front door was dead locked every night at 19.00. In case of fire one needed a key to get out of the building...
Five years ago I opened a small bar in Zürich. It was a brand new build, built as a bar and even though it was ground floor, I was astonished that there was no fire escape, no secondary access round the back where the toilets were.

Once we had finished our interior construction we had a group visit from the health, police, city buildings dept and fire brigade etc to check that everything we had done complied with regulations. I told the fire inspector that we hadn't bought any extinguishers yet, I wanted to ask him which ones we should get and where we should place them.....

"ah, it's just a little bar and not much flammable in it, I wouldn't bother"

Needless to say I did get some!
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