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  #21  
Old 12.02.2012, 18:29
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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If our landlord refuses to get it thuroughly checked and we have to hire an structural engineer, is the cost of that on our shoulders
After the earthquake, I cannot imagine your landlord refusing to have this checked. If you call an engineer, you will be paying!

Join the rental association, you never know when you are going to need their advice, and it doesn't cost a lot of money,

German http://www.mieterverband.ch/ or French http://www.asloca.ch/

As already stated, keep off the balcony!
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  #22  
Old 12.02.2012, 18:42
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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Except that in most (if not all) cantons homeowners are required by law to have building insurance (in Zurich this would be these people http://www.gvz.ch/). Therefore if there was any damage caused by the earthquake it would actually be in the owner's interest to have it looked at and repaired at the insurance company's expense.
http://www.bebende.ch/download/mitigation_program.pdf

Unfortunately, insurance does not cover this,

Page 8: Clarification of the insurance of earthquake damages
Insufficient insurance coverage. Earthquake insurance is not available in Switzerland. Even though insurance companies have set-up a voluntary pool for coverage of earthquake losses, it must be assumed that available funds only cover a very small portion of the seismic risk.
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  #23  
Old 12.02.2012, 19:18
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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http://www.bebende.ch/download/mitigation_program.pdf

Unfortunately, insurance does not cover this,

Page 8: Clarification of the insurance of earthquake damages
Insufficient insurance coverage. Earthquake insurance is not available in Switzerland. Even though insurance companies have set-up a voluntary pool for coverage of earthquake losses, it must be assumed that available funds only cover a very small portion of the seismic risk.
Good to know...Thanks for posting that.
Although of course, the owner may be able to pass any damage off as a structural default/design fault rather than direct damage from an earthquake.
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Old 12.02.2012, 20:21
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

The OP has not taken photos from the inside?
Why I ask as everybody thinks it's so serious one would expect to be able to see the crack on the inside!
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Old 12.02.2012, 20:54
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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The OP has not taken photos from the inside?
Why I ask as everybody thinks it's so serious one would expect to be able to see the crack on the inside!
Having been a home owner in Southern California and gone through many earthquakes I can tell you there is no logical pattern. It very much depends on where the stress on the structure occurs. I've had cracks on the inside without anything showing up anywhere near the same place on the outside. My next door neighbor once had a crack outside so large that you could put part of your hand into it and yet the same place on the inside looked like nothing had happened.

It all depends on where in the structure the energy from the shake hits and how it gets dispersed. I'm no engineer so can't explain how it works but that's what the inspectors and the guys who did the repairs told me.
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Old 12.02.2012, 20:58
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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The OP has not taken photos from the inside?
Why I ask as everybody thinks it's so serious one would expect to be able to see the crack on the inside!
Given the crack runs all the way to the door frame on one side and runs all the way to the window frame on the other i assume that the cracks run inside as well. But because our walls have wallpaper there is no way to tell unless we peel the wallpaper back, which i am not willing to do considering our landlord would probobly charge us to re-wallpaper the entire flat, ill leave that up to him to decide.

We have put letters in the mailboxes of the neighbors under us and we will be in contact with the landlord tomorrow. I will let everyone know what comes of it.
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Old 12.02.2012, 21:17
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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Given the crack runs all the way to the door frame on one side and runs all the way to the window frame on the other i assume that the cracks run inside as well. But because our walls have wallpaper there is no way to tell unless we peel the wallpaper back, which i am not willing to do considering our landlord would probobly charge us to re-wallpaper the entire flat, ill leave that up to him to decide.
.
If there is any real movement the wallpaper will rip! if it hasn't any movement is very minor at worst.
Bearing in mind most houses in CH are built with reinforced concrete even if it cracks nothing is going to happen.
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Old 12.02.2012, 21:35
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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If there is any real movement the wallpaper will rip! if it hasn't any movement is very minor at worst.
Bearing in mind most houses in CH are built with reinforced concrete even if it cracks nothing is going to happen.
When I once asked my employer (who is also my landlord) about cracks in the walls, he responded (albeit in French) "a wall without cracks is like a women who has never been f...d".

True story.

Tom
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  #29  
Old 13.02.2012, 00:09
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

Well this thread sent me checking my Gebaudeversicherung, and holey moley... damage from earthquakes is excluded. Ouch.

Good thing there was no damage from yesterday's little rumble...

(Note to self: speak to agent tomorrow...)
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  #30  
Old 13.02.2012, 00:53
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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@Dantesheaven - yes that is true, neither i nor my landlord can tell if it is superficial or not, we will push the landlord to get it thuroughly checked. If our landlord refuses to get it thuroughly checked and we have to hire an structural engineer, is the cost of that on our shoulders?
I would expect earthquake damage is covered by the compulsory building insurance (but I see from posts above it is likely not).

Anyway, the building owner gets the assessment and repairs done at his cost (and via his insurance company, if he has insurance)

You will have no costs to bear.
The building owner may have some insurance deductible to pay, but that is not your problem.

But you MUST inform your landlord immediately, so that he can notify any applicable insurance company.
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  #31  
Old 13.02.2012, 01:19
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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When I once asked my employer (who is also my landlord) about cracks in the walls, he responded (albeit in French) "a wall without cracks is like a women who has never been f...d".

True story.

Tom
I'm living in a virgin! Or somewhere dolled up to look like one.
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Old 13.02.2012, 01:27
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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Well this thread sent me checking my Gebaudeversicherung, and holey moley... damage from earthquakes is excluded. Ouch.

Good thing there was no damage from yesterday's little rumble...

(Note to self: speak to agent tomorrow...)
And you very welcom
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  #33  
Old 13.02.2012, 12:02
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

Apparently insurance in CH does NOT cover earthquake related damages

http://www.20min.ch/news/kreuz_und_q...erden-31802302
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  #34  
Old 13.02.2012, 12:13
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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It's probably an old crack probably totally unimportant, unless it moves continuously.
Also, bear in mind that most buildings have a certain flexibility in their core structure, precisely to be able to respond adequately to earthquakes or other effects. Non structural parts such as the plaster are just applied over the top and thus don't share this flexibility. So if there has been an earthquake and your building moved in response, that is actually a good sign as it shows the flexibility worked. In that case, the surface cracks are just a result of the plaster not moving with the building, and no sign of any danger. Fix the plaster and you'll be fine until the next earthquake. Think of it as plaster applied over guitar strings. If you play the guitar, the plaster will crack and crumble but that doesn't mean the guitar string is in any danger of snapping.
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Old 13.02.2012, 12:24
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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I'm living in a virgin! Or somewhere dolled up to look like one.
Better than what Kermit is going through.
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  #36  
Old 13.02.2012, 12:26
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

The way most buildings are built in Switzerland is a solid concrete structure with a thick (20cm ish) insulating foam layer over the concrete and then the foam is plastered. It gives the impression that the outside layer is concrete but it is really only plaster on foam and the structural component is set deep behind the foam.

It looks to my untrained eye like the plaster and possibly the foam has cracked. I'd be surprised if the structural concrete (and steel latice) on the inside is actually damaged, but maybe best to get it checked anyway.
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  #37  
Old 13.02.2012, 12:32
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

Have you called the landlord/agent/owner? What did they say/do?
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  #38  
Old 13.02.2012, 13:52
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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Right Side
Firstly a caveat, I have not worked in property management for 30 years, so this is opinion only.

From the photo, it appears that the crack is above the pole entering the wall, and rises consistent with a deep crack caused by flexing of the balcony. Regardless of how deep it runs, it needs to be repaired to ensure that there will not be moisture penetration into the structural steel, potentially causing Regents Street disease.

The fact that there is a similar crack on the opposite side would tend to indicate that the impact of the earthquake pulse has flexed the balcony in its fitting.

You should contact the landlord regardless, and have them arranged to have it checked.

Just a thought.
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  #39  
Old 13.02.2012, 13:59
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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I would expect earthquake damage is covered by the compulsory building insurance (but I see from posts above it is likely not).
In our Kanton (SO), this is covered by Kantonal Insurance, including flooding (rain, but not from rivers) and fire.
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Old 13.02.2012, 14:13
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Re: Huge crack in balcony after earthquake (12.2.2012)

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It's probably an old crack probably totally unimportant, unless it moves continuously.

most buildings "move", various materials do different things like expand, shrink and so on. good builders and engineers get around that by using various expansion joints and suitable materials. for example bricks have a tendency to expand over time while concrete generaly shrinks over time but can also expand in high tempratures. join those two together without expansion joints and cracks are more than likely down the track.

@ 2swissfrank

where you got the balustrade going into the wall is the weakest point because that is where the wall is at its thinest. judging by the photos those look like blade walls, if that is the case generally they are not structural and are usually patched up and painted. if you see cracks on the balcony floor than you got major problems.
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