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Old 18.10.2015, 09:05
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New flat inspection

Hi there,

Even though I found a lot of useful information before in this forum, I opened just now the account. I am grateful to all the dedication shown by the forum members in many of these threads. I have a very important question (at least for us) that I could not see it answered before, or at least not in detail.

With my wife we recently bought a flat. It is newly built. The contract states that a couple of weeks before the handover of the property (i.e. the final notary deed) there is a "Wohnungsprüfung" (an inspection) where we must visit and see that all the construction and finishings are in line with the contract. Then, the construction company have the time to amend what we were not satisfied with, because they do not abide to the requirements, etc. Once we move in, we have a two-year period until when we have to notify all the visible problems.

Well, my questions concerns the house inspection:
- Does any of you have any experience on this that he/she wants to share? Do you know how it works? Is it there a standard protocol we have to go over?
- What are your suggestions regarding what we should pay particular attention to?
- Also, I was hoping to find information (at least in German) about others experiences with this... but I could not find anything under the term "Wohnungsprüfung". Any idea?


Many thanks in advance.

Claudio
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Old 18.10.2015, 09:20
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Re: New flat inspection

As you have purchased the flat you should join the HEV. They should be able to assist you with the inspection. This service is fee based.
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Old 18.10.2015, 11:32
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Re: New flat inspection

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As you have purchased the flat you should join the HEV. They should be able to assist you with the inspection. This service is fee based.
And here is the link: http://www.hev-zuerich.ch/
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Old 18.10.2015, 11:43
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Re: New flat inspection

Hi, thanks to both. We join it eventually.

However, I am interested in personal experiences and suggestions on how the process of inspection goes and what is useful to do (besides getting someone else to do it) in such case.

Many thanks for the suggestion, though
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Old 18.10.2015, 11:51
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Re: New flat inspection

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Hi, thanks to both. We join it eventually.

However, I am interested in personal experiences and suggestions on how the process of inspection goes and what is useful to do (besides getting someone else to do it) in such case.

Many thanks for the suggestion, though
Hmmmm....As you have spent so much on the place in the first place I don't know why you would want to save here and do a DIY job rather than get a professional to assist you. Any opinions you get here may well pertain to specific situations and may or may not be relevant. Miss anything here and you may come to regret it later and it may cost you far more than you saved.

Experience has shown me that there is a time for doing things yourself and a time for hiring professional help.

Just my .2c
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Old 18.10.2015, 12:02
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Re: New flat inspection

You would be well advised to follow Snoopy's and Mrs D's suggestions.

Given the myriad problems one can - and does - run into with Swiss construction companies today you really need a professional on your side. Hiring a Bauleiter for the inspection is money well spent.
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Old 19.10.2015, 10:36
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Re: New flat inspection

I will try to add a bit to what others have said but it is better to have an expert with you.


Defining faults and problems might help you understand the process, with faults being things that are not correct of substandard quality whereas problems are things that happen over time or not immediately obvious. Being a new build there will be faults and identifying some of them is easier than others, for example paint runs, thinness, patchiness, if not identified as a "fault" then upon signing off you can no longer list it as a problem later, as you are saying you accept it "as is" (bit like a secondhand car and you find a scratch when you get home). Other faults are not so obvious, power points to close to sinks, plumbing not correct, floors not level or uneven. Case point, one apartment I saw had the taps set too deep into the wall so the fascia sealing washer would fall off, the plumber fixed it with silicon but it did not hold so the fix is demolish the wall in the bathroom and reset the taps, Chf thousands in repairs but let go water will leak in the wall creating problems years later, are you going to recognize these things?


By being completely over the top with faults, some will be fixed and some not but it also gives you some negotiating power to withhold final payment or negotiate a discount on faults you can live with. After all the developer has screwed you on every change so it is time for some payback!! An example of this is flooring or tiles not perfect, not a big deal to live with but expensive to redo.


Now if you need some furniture for that new apartment, give me a call and I can make some for you.
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Old 19.10.2015, 10:51
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Re: New flat inspection

from my point of view, using an expert is absolutely recommended - we used one and he spotted things that we would never have seen. Yes it was more complex as we had a house but the things that he recommended and his way of presenting it made it very easy to get done.
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Old 19.10.2015, 11:05
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Re: New flat inspection

How long does an HEV inspection last?

Do they provide any sort of guarantee for the inspection?

For example, underfloor heating is pressure tested when it is put in. How does the HEV inspector confirm this was done?
And so how can he offer a guarantee.


If you get some free legal back-up after the inspection then that would be make an inspection much for useful.

For example, an inspector may spot that a wall isn't straight. Not a structural problem but aesthetically annoying for the new home-owner.
What degree of unstraightness would warrant a wall-rebuild or re-plaster and how does the HEV provide clout to ensure this is done?
(I know someone who had a similar problem with a ceiling not being straight but they noticed it themselves and the builder refused to do anything about it).


Some problems may only appear over time (which is why you have two years to report any).

I'm not saying an inspection is a bad thing but personally, I'd be interested to see what the scope of the inspection is (I couldn't find a list on the HEV website) and what their legal position is too.
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Old 19.10.2015, 11:31
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Re: New flat inspection

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How long does an HEV inspection last?

This is difficult to say. Just like lease start and lease end inspections, the size of the property does matter. I have done inspections which took 20 minutes and others which have taken several hours.



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Do they provide any sort of guarantee for the inspection?

For example, underfloor heating is pressure tested when it is put in. How does the HEV inspector confirm this was done?
And so how can he offer a guarantee.


If you get some free legal back-up after the inspection then that would be make an inspection much for useful.

For example, an inspector may spot that a wall isn't straight. Not a structural problem but aesthetically annoying for the new home-owner.
What degree of unstraightness would warrant a wall-rebuild or re-plaster and how does the HEV provide clout to ensure this is done?
(I know someone who had a similar problem with a ceiling not being straight but they noticed it themselves and the builder refused to do anything about it).


Some problems may only appear over time (which is why you have two years to report any).

I'm not saying an inspection is a bad thing but personally, I'd be interested to see what the scope of the inspection is (I couldn't find a list on the HEV website) and what their legal position is too.

You can only inspect and test to a certain extent. You can roll up and down every shutter, open and close every window and door, turn on every faucet, flush every toilet, test every room key, turn on the oven, the cooktop burners....these are just a few examples. But you cannot test hidden things, like the heating. But as the apartment is new, everything has a guarantee.


Personally I would concentrate more on the aesthetics and the finishing and look for obvious defects in workmanship.


During the next two years you have a chance to continue to report problems, which if not corrected need to be reported at the final inspection. Do everything in writing, not email, by letter. Send the letters registered mail. You want to be sure to document everything.
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Old 19.10.2015, 12:16
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Re: New flat inspection

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You can only inspect and test to a certain extent. You can roll up and down every shutter, open and close every window and door, turn on every faucet, flush every toilet, test every room key, turn on the oven, the cooktop burners....these are just a few examples. But you cannot test hidden things, like the heating. But as the apartment is new, everything has a guarantee.
We did ours ourselves.

But I was a bit more thorough than just checking the 'obvious' things.

We did take things apart and we did check the heating and electrics but unless you have some experience and can handle a multimeter and read electrical and plumbing diagrams then perhaps you shouldn't do it yourself.
I did this because the electricians etc would not admit there was a problem.

For the OP, as you requested, this is what we found. Stuff with stars is what went wrong after we moved in but within the two year guaranteed period:
  • Electrical heated towel rails were fitted the wrong way round (so you couldn't put the towels on it)
  • *Electrical heated towel rail elements failed.
  • Ventilation system for laundry room inadequate and so got builder to pay for to fit a dehumidifier. (I had to show humidity and airflow measurements to convince him this was wrong).
  • *Underfloor heating thermostats not wired up correctly. (I wired this up myself to prove there was a problem as the builder would not accept that there was one).
  • *Thermostat wired to wrong room.
  • Shower fittings mixed up with bath fittings so neither would work.
  • Cracked window glass (for a very expensive and very big triple paned window).
  • Pits on a set of glass doors from builders using angle grinder without protecting glass
  • Door bells wired up incorrectly with neighbours.
  • *Leak in garage (hidden fault so covered under longer guarantee)
  • Scratch on kitch door
  • Wrong handles on bathroom cabinet (whole handmade door needed replacing).
  • Incorrectly specified bathroom mirror light fitted. (mirror needed replacing)
  • Incorrectly specified WC flush fitted.
  • Glass back to kitchen not fitted in one place. Not on original quote anyway but kitchen supplier fitted it free of charge as he was a perfectionist!
  • A few scratches on woodwork here and there.

Speak to your new neighbours too about problems they may have found as the electrical/heating/ humidity problems I found were replicated in all the other flats but the owners hadn't realised there was a problem and so had not done anything about it but these things were fixed at the same time as mine.
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Old 21.10.2015, 13:46
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Re: New flat inspection

We did not buy a flat but we did rent a newly-built one, so I have some second-hand experience with that.

Some of the things that happened in our apartment and/or were fixed after we moved in - the two year warranty is coming up, and the construction company is going to be doing some more repairs soon. I don't know what (if anything) was detected and fixed before we moved in.

This is what I saw, and mirrors a lot of things that Tom1234 mentioned

- A window was scratched, so they had to replace it (It was a big floor-to-ceiling window that required a crane to be lowered to the street level, and I saw them replacing similar windows in many other apartments as well)
- A piece of the baseboard was missing in the bathroom
- A wall tile had a corner broken
- Lots of dents and scratches in baseboards, door frames, cabinets
- Some vent covers weren't properly screwed
- The thermostat controls of two rooms was switched (i.e. if you changed the dial in one room it'd change the temperature in another)
- A light switch had the buttons switched (they were the same way in all the rooms, except one)
- The sensor-controlled light in the reduit (where we have the washing machine) often turns on by itself even if the door is kept closed
- The faucets developed black spots (just cosmetic)
- The bathroom basin plug got loose
- The outside window railings started developing rust after one year

I know that many of these things also happened in other apartments, and they also asked tenants to check all towel racks and if any floor boards had lifted.

Some things got fixed, some things got simply added to the protocol (I guess that since they don't live there and had a lot of apartments to handle, they didn't want to bother. If it was my apartment I'd want them fixed, but they were small things so it doesn't really bother me that they weren't)

So not much help as a home owner, but hopefully a bit of help in what types of defects we saw!
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