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Old 05.01.2021, 02:40
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New Veranda on budget help

Dear all,

Has anyone with experience of extending their house and adding a veranda on a low budget? If yes, can you please share your experience/knowledge/leads? We are open to cross-border or any formulae that can bring the costs down substantially.

We recently bought a house (Canton Vaud, near Geneva) and would really like to add a veranda to the living room (some neighbors have done it), however the Swiss costs of veranda and masonry to prepare the base are very high for our budget, that I am open to other options.

Looking forward to some responses. Thank you.
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Old 05.01.2021, 10:46
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

Just to get the ball rolling, do you need a permit for your project?

I ask because some Gemeinden, like mine, tend to be more 'friendly' to permit applications if the work is done by local businesses. So we have learned that we just have to dig deeper in our pockets to pay local folks - otherwise that rubber stamp might not be forthcoming.

Other Gemeinden couldn't care less who does the work, it's not a factor in getting a permit.

Something to look into if you need a permit for your project.

---

That said, perhaps we could offer more tips on saving money if you describe your project in a bit more detail.
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Old 05.01.2021, 11:45
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

Ok, I will bite. Swiss building costs in relation to salaries here are not much more than other European counties, some material costs here are cartel controlled (ie the importer sets the price or the manufacturer charges a higher price in Switzerland). The "price problem" is more to do with design leading to over engineering/quality which adds costs rather than thinking outside the box on design to reduce costs (which happens elsewhere silently in the background).

Simply put, work on a design that uses less or cheaper materials, submit the plan to the authorities yourself (you will need to get an engineer to calculate material sizes). Anything you can do to save a contractor time will save you money and look for smaller companies to do the work.

I would consider using a fixed waterproof shade sail attached to steel posts with individual footings (depending on slope of the area) and pave or install a timber deck underneath. I am a Zurich based builder so you have already saved with this free consultation!
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Old 05.01.2021, 11:52
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Just to get the ball rolling, do you need a permit for your project?

I ask because some Gemeinden, like mine, tend to be more 'friendly' to permit applications if the work is done by local businesses. So we have learned that we just have to dig deeper in our pockets to pay local folks - otherwise that rubber stamp might not be forthcoming.

Other Gemeinden couldn't care less who does the work, it's not a factor in getting a permit.

Something to look into if you need a permit for your project.

---

That said, perhaps we could offer more tips on saving money if you describe your project in a bit more detail.

Thanks for your response. Yes I have checked and indeed a permission is needed but it does not mean that the veranda and masonry should be from Suisse. In fact, there are people who got their veranda from neighboring France but the Architect or Geometre to prepare the plan and ask for permission was local. And of course main expense is the veranda and masonry work itself, the fees of Architect/Geometre is much less in comparison.

That said, about the project. So we have a living room in the ground floor with a terrace and then a garden. The ideal will be to bring down the wall (it can be done as it is no load-bearing wall but this is a separate mini-project).. and use the terrace area to do the extension and the veranda. To better understand, I am happy to share the virtual visit of the house (https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=mDtQi8RQCg2), hover over the living room in the ground floor and you will get a very good idea.

Please let your tips and ideas.

best regards
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Old 05.01.2021, 21:51
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Ok, I will bite. Swiss building costs in relation to salaries here are not much more than other European counties, some material costs here are cartel controlled (ie the importer sets the price or the manufacturer charges a higher price in Switzerland). The "price problem" is more to do with design leading to over engineering/quality which adds costs rather than thinking outside the box on design to reduce costs (which happens elsewhere silently in the background).

Simply put, work on a design that uses less or cheaper materials, submit the plan to the authorities yourself (you will need to get an engineer to calculate material sizes). Anything you can do to save a contractor time will save you money and look for smaller companies to do the work.

I would consider using a fixed waterproof shade sail attached to steel posts with individual footings (depending on slope of the area) and pave or install a timber deck underneath. I am a Zurich based builder so you have already saved with this free consultation!
Thank you.

Your post is really interesting and exactly what I was looking for: "out of the box" thinking and to get some insights into where the costs are.

I have some follow up questions:
- You say "work on a design that uses less or cheaper materials": Ok but how do I go about making the design? I perhaps need an expert right?
- You also mentioned "submit the plan to the authorities yourself (you will need to get an engineer to calculate material sizes)" : Do you mean the admin part of submitting the plan to the authorities, through their website? If yes, not sure if it is straightforward, will need check how it works in Vaud.
- You said "consider using a fixed waterproof shade sail attached to steel posts with individual footings (depending on slope of the area) and pave or install a timber deck underneath.": Not really sure of these terminologies,
but will look it up.. Any chance you know someone who could make such kind of a design not so expensive?

I will perhaps end up sourcing material from outside CH and masonry too.. what are your thoughts on this?


PS. I agree that Suisse building costs as aligned with Suisse salaries like other European countries, however we are all in different situations (have 6 dependents on me!!)
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Old 05.01.2021, 21:57
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

Regardless if you use a Swiss or a French company the workers will be coming over the border every day.
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Old 05.01.2021, 23:07
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

Here's cheap: buy 3 very large patio umbrellas and stick them outside next to each other
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Old 05.01.2021, 23:31
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

A nicely isolated veranda will be able to be used more months per year especially in the transition seasons when outside is already too cold but not in the veranda, you may also want access to fancy door mechanisms. I think it would be nice considering the salon is kind of dark because of that weird "loggia" thing above, and if you add more stuff in front could get worse. Would spend the money it deserves since it looks to me it is in the central living part of the house, to also not regret in 5 years time that you did not spend more.
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Old 06.01.2021, 00:33
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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A nicely isolated veranda will be able to be used more months per year especially in the transition seasons when outside is already too cold but not in the veranda, you may also want access to fancy door mechanisms. I think it would be nice considering the salon is kind of dark because of that weird "loggia" thing above, and if you add more stuff in front could get worse. Would spend the money it deserves since it looks to me it is in the central living part of the house, to also not regret in 5 years time that you did not spend more.
Cannot agree more, you are absolutely right that the house needs a veranda and will be an excellent investment. Unfortunately, as I am the only one working now (5 dependents, that includes my parents), the bank has given quite a limited budget for renovation and my savings are all gone on just buying the house (the famous 20%+ ~5% notary fees). Therefore, looking for some cost effective/value-for-money solutions, if there are any out there.
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Old 06.01.2021, 00:34
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Regardless if you use a Swiss or a French company the workers will be coming over the border every day.
Thanks but did not get your point - if you can elaborate?
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Old 06.01.2021, 10:42
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Thank you.

Your post is really interesting and exactly what I was looking for: "out of the box" thinking and to get some insights into where the costs are.

I have some follow up questions:
- You say "work on a design that uses less or cheaper materials": Ok but how do I go about making the design? I perhaps need an expert right?
- You also mentioned "submit the plan to the authorities yourself (you will need to get an engineer to calculate material sizes)" : Do you mean the admin part of submitting the plan to the authorities, through their website? If yes, not sure if it is straightforward, will need check how it works in Vaud.
- You said "consider using a fixed waterproof shade sail attached to steel posts with individual footings (depending on slope of the area) and pave or install a timber deck underneath.": Not really sure of these terminologies,
but will look it up.. Any chance you know someone who could make such kind of a design not so expensive?

I will perhaps end up sourcing material from outside CH and masonry too.. what are your thoughts on this?


PS. I agree that Suisse building costs as aligned with Suisse salaries like other European countries, however we are all in different situations (have 6 dependents on me!!)
Looking at the pictures I would suggest the following:

The extension should not extend past the adjacent overhang outside the kitchen, this area should be left as is as it will be a semi-enclosed dining area.
Take out the doors and only the wall section on the left side so you don't compromise the structural support for the beam.
The extension should be flat roofed with a steel structural frame and the walls in glass or wood. A steel frame manufacturer should be able to do the engineering required for permits.
Use a gardening firm to remove and relay the existing paving outside the extension. I would also remove the paving under the overhang and lay a wooden deck there to "frame" the alfresco dining area. This is something you could do yourself, look on youtube for instructions.
Gardeners are often cheaper than building firms for foundations and well within their area of expertise.
Removing the Window doors will compromise the masonry above this area so I would take out this section and reuse the doors removed from downstairs. This would allow you to have a deck on the new flat roof. This would be cost neutral compared to securing the masonry above the doors but add value and light to the room above.
Keep the existing awning and reattach to the outside wall to shade the glass and the re-laid paving. I would also get the steel firm to build a light weight frame to match the dimensions of this awning so it can be secured in place when on full extension so this can be permanently left out in summer regardless of weather. I like sitting outside in a summer storm!
You may have received plans and drawings when you bought the house so copy these and add the changes, taking these and a few photos to the Buildings department you should be able to discuss the proposal in principal to find out if it will need simple approval and meets local requirements. As you are adding build volume to the house which is limited by zoning this could be a problem if you don't have spare building volume but if you do maybe the bank will consider the added value and give you a renovation loan which could help with your budget.
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Old 06.01.2021, 10:44
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Thanks but did not get your point - if you can elaborate?
It is being suggested that regardless of which firm you use - a Swiss or a French one - the people doing the work will be frontalier. The Swiss firm will charge you a Swiss price, pay the frontalier a bit more than if they were being employed in France, but less than they would pay a Swiss and pocket the difference. In contrast, a French firm will charge you more for working in Switzerland than they would charge someone living in France, pay the usual French salary to their French workers and pocket the difference.
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Old 06.01.2021, 11:44
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

Sorry I can't be of much help, but if you do a Google "shopping" search for the word "Pergola," you will see various options for sale, in a very wide price range. Perhaps you might also consider a "Gartenpavillon?"
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Old 06.01.2021, 18:03
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Just to get the ball rolling, do you need a permit for your project?

I ask because some Gemeinden, like mine, tend to be more 'friendly' to permit applications if the work is done by local businesses. So we have learned that we just have to dig deeper in our pockets to pay local folks - otherwise that rubber stamp might not be forthcoming.
Is this illegal? Are they actually explicitly writing the name of the company that will execute the job into permit? Even if, I doubt that anything stops you from "changing your mind" regarding the contractor after permit is issued. Especially if the price asked is much higher then alternatives.


Of course this will cause a rift between you and commune administration, but if the savings are large enough (not on this particular project obviously) then I'd risk it.
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Old 06.01.2021, 18:53
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Re: New Veranda on budget help

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Are they actually explicitly writing the name of the company that will execute the job into permit?
I took meloncollie's post to mean that, since all permits are issued within a certain range of discretion by the officers in charge (as each case is different and must be individually assessed), one of the (several) factors that could influence whether or not the plans were approved at all is the name of the contractors that will be used.

This could be seen as a little huddle of brotherhood-of-locals. And I think that's what meloncollie meant. Keep business local. Don't let "them others" in here.

I surmise that in some cases at least a part of the process may be to do with experience and trust: if Heiri from down the road is going to do the work, then we know he's going to do a good job, because we know him and he always does, and anyway, he's unlikely to risk building something that going to slide down the hill into Barbara's garden, because her sister teaches his cousin's children, etc.
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