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Old 16.09.2018, 22:26
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Habitable space

Hi all, any help on this technical query appreciated.

The basement of our house is not defined as livable space, which I think is normal. It would make a good place to live ironically, as a small flat. Up until now this has been fine but I am coming to wonder whether it would be best as a small rented flat. The key stopper - I think - is the height, it’s around 2.1m tall, under 2.4m in most livable space but I had heard that requirement may be going away. Has anyone gone through the process of trying t declare part of heir property that wasn’t defined as livable space as livable ? I understand there may be work that do to pass any regulations but any pointers people have on the topic in general would be appreciated.
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Old 17.09.2018, 00:47
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Re: Habitable space

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Hi all, any help on this technical query appreciated.

The basement of our house is not defined as livable space, which I think is normal. It would make a good place to live ironically, as a small flat. Up until now this has been fine but I am coming to wonder whether it would be best as a small rented flat. The key stopper - I think - is the height, it’s around 2.1m tall, under 2.4m in most livable space but I had heard that requirement may be going away. Has anyone gone through the process of trying t declare part of heir property that wasn’t defined as livable space as livable ? I understand there may be work that do to pass any regulations but any pointers people have on the topic in general would be appreciated.

Go check with the commune, it will be quickest and most accurate info you'll get !
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Old 17.09.2018, 02:02
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Re: Habitable space

You should also check if you are near your utilization percentage for your property - depending on zoning regs you may only have so much more allowed habitable space on your lot.
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Old 17.09.2018, 07:22
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Re: Habitable space

In general the height limit is much lower than that, something like 1.5 metres, maybe 1.6. Some rooms in our last flat and the current house have sloping ceilings and there's a defined point beyond which the floor area can no longer be included in the space calculation. 2.1m will definitely not be considered too low - lots of properties have ceilings, or parts thereof, like beams, that are this low.

Another factor to bear in mind is the aount of window area, as there's also a defined ratio, so it may be that even in the room can be classed as living space the total floor area may not all be allowed to be counted.
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Old 17.09.2018, 11:07
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Re: Habitable space

Ok. First things first: height limits are city dependent. Just for you to have an idea, I never had to deal with the law.

Your biggest problem is not the height, it's wether you are allowed to define it as liveable.

Liveable means: each room needs to have at least 10% of the floor area as a window. It also means proper insulation measures - I guess this basement is probably not what imagine it to be (dark, underground, most likely no insulation)? Basements are usually only temperate rooms, meaning they are not cold, but they aren't warm either, and if you want to rent it, minimum temperatures must reach that quota - and not just with a tiny heater (some cantons actually have rules on which kind of heaters you are allowed to use, as they are fighting hard to stop with electric ones and/or oil ones).

And the last, probably most important, do you have AZ in your area? And if so, do you have any reserve from the original construction? Because the Ausnützung very rarely changes to "yay I can have more space!", and if you have reached the maximum with the main liveable area, you can't convert the basement.

For information on all you need, go here:

http://www.geo.vd.ch/theme/localisation_thm

Put your address on the field and then get the information (including building zone, etc etc etc). Once you know the building zone, go to your city website, to the construction department, and check their construction rulings (usually available for free). There you can check if you have AZ (Ausnützung = The quota of liveable space over your land) and how many floors you can build - some cities also have very specifically defined what's the maximum of lievable floors you can have, which might mean an extra basement one might not be allowed.

If you don't want to do this on your own, go to the city hall and ask the construction department.


If you want an example for the AZ, here's an image:

https://www.sg.ch/home/bauen__raum__...kon_Anhang.pdf

Sorry, I can't find it in French. I hope you can get it from the German. It's for another city, but I just wanted to show you what could influence.
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Old 17.09.2018, 11:20
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Re: Habitable space

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Liveable means: each room needs to have at least 10% of the floor area as a window.
Does that also apply to old buildings?

Most rusticos would not meet that condition.

Tom
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Old 17.09.2018, 11:26
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Re: Habitable space

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Does that also apply to old buildings?

Most rusticos would not meet that condition.

Tom
The rules applies to new buildings and remodelling of old ones. Rusticos are probably a very specific kind of building, possibly even protected, and have most likely their own set of rules. I can't swear on it since I never had to work with one

When I had to recover a farmer's building in Zürich Oberland, however, we had to open the windows a bit to make that quota (it's only for the rooms - as in, bedrooms and living room). As with everything related to construction in this damned country, it depends on the city, time of year and phase of the moon...
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Old 17.09.2018, 11:34
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Re: Habitable space

By increasing your habitable space you increase your rentable value for tax purposes.
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Old 17.09.2018, 11:55
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Re: Habitable space

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Rusticos are probably a very specific kind of building, possibly even protected, and have most likely their own set of rules.
In particular, you cannot add windows, nor increase the size of existing ones.

However, glass doors seem to be a work-around (and one we plan to do, as several friends have done).

Insulation is a problem, however, not much you can do to insulate 1/2 meter thick rock walls.

Tom
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Old 17.09.2018, 12:05
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Re: Habitable space

Another point to check on wrt AZ:

Is your house part of some kind of ownership association that might also have a Quartier AZ?

We ran into this. According to all the documents we saw when we bought, our house had AZ left to allow us to expand.

However when we started getting our ducks in a row for the project we found that not only did we have to deal with our own AZ but also that of the Quartier. As it turned out one owner had built beyond his property's AZ and so he was allowed to essentially appropriate the remaining Quartier AZ to legitimise his expansion, reducing other property owners' AZ.

So if you are part of any kind of owner association, check your AZ carefully.
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Old 17.09.2018, 12:28
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Re: Habitable space

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Does that also apply to old buildings?

Most rusticos would not meet that condition.
I do know that such a rules exist, but it certainly does not apply restrospectively to existing buiuldings, and I'd also question whether the 10% ratio mentioned is either correct or universal. Seems far too high to me.

There's also considerable variation between cantons as to how much detail new builds or extensions need to give to get permission.

For example (of both) the bedroom I'm sitting in now was added to the house in 1992, has a window to floor ratio of approx. 3.5% and has no plans lodged with the canton to determine the exact floor space, and what could or could not be counted.

I was astonished to find that a remodelling of a tiny 1908 chalet, presumed to be around 60 sq m, to a ˜350 sq m house with an additional floor and six dwellings could have taken place without any plans whatsoever, but apparently that is quite normal in Valais. So whether such rules should have been applied or not I have no idea, but for sure once it's been built and accepted they can't be retroacticely applied.
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Old 17.09.2018, 15:16
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Re: Habitable space

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I'd also question whether the 10% ratio mentioned is either correct or universal. Seems far too high to me.
I actually take slight with this. Not only is 10% absolutely NOT too high, it's the minimum required - meaning most cities will actually expect new built buildings to provide more than that. A "biggish" 14m2 sleeping/working room with a tiny little window of 1x1.4 m will barely provide enough light to be considered comfortable.

If you look in Mr. Google, you will actually find quite a few projects that have been blocked all over the country and often one of the reasons mentioned is that that specific point has not been respected.

This is defined on each Baugesetzt of each Kanton, and though I cannot guarantee it's 1:10 for every single one (quite possibly some even demand more), it's at least so for Zürich, St. Gallen and Bern (which are the ones I have currently at hand).

For the complete information for Kanton Zürich, for example, you can look for yourself in the "Planungs- und Baugesetz des Kantons Zürich (PBG) (§ 302)". I don't have the patience, time or will to look for each one of every other Kanton.

And as I told Tom, chalets and rusticos and tiny little cottages built before 1972 probably have their own set of rules coming from their protected status.

The ruling can come into question IF you decide to remodel an already built house, or in the case of the OP, change the usage of an area of the house from utility to liveable place.
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Old 17.09.2018, 19:48
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Re: Habitable space

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I actually take slight with this. Not only is 10% absolutely NOT too high, it's the minimum required - meaning most cities will actually expect new built buildings to provide more than that. A "biggish" 14m2 sleeping/working room with a tiny little window of 1x1.4 m will barely provide enough light to be considered comfortable.
Can this percentage be decreased by using heliostats or similar?

I'm trust Helm knows but perhaps not everybody else:
Heliostats catch the sunlight by one or many mirror(s) on the roof, reflect/feed the sunlight into a pipe that in turn channels the light to where it's wanted. See lumena.ch for instance if I got you curious.
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Old 18.09.2018, 08:43
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Re: Habitable space

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Can this percentage be decreased by using heliostats or similar?
I am actually not sure, but I would guess not. The articles usually word it like "The glass pane of the window must be at least 1:10 of the room area". They are usually rather literal in the Bauamt, meaning they probably only accept typical windows, roof windows type velux, plastic cuppulas like copulux and light shafts with direct light, but might refuse stuff based on reflected light.

But I need to be very honest, this is something I'd have to ask the Bauamt myself
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Old 18.09.2018, 11:52
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Re: Habitable space

Mikers, just go to the commune and ASK !!! With that you have accurante info and see whether it fits in with your plan or not, you will also be able to determine if the regulations could be "somewhat flexible"


What happens and what the regualtions are in Zurich or elsewhere, means diddly squat, you're in Montreux, Vaud Suisse Romand, these are the regulations that you will need to adhere too somehow.
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Old 18.09.2018, 12:48
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Re: Habitable space

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I understand there may be work that do to pass any regulations but any pointers people have on the topic in general would be appreciated.
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Mikers, just go to the commune and ASK !!! With that you have accurante info and see whether it fits in with your plan or not, you will also be able to determine if the regulations could be "somewhat flexible"
He's obviously going to do that but in these sorts of matters, it's really quite useful to ask on the forum first as quite often the responses here are useful to know what sort of questions (including ones that may not have even occurred to the OP) to ask when visiting the actual local authority.

It's also quite interesting for the rest of us who may be considering doing something similar either now or in the future.
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Old 18.09.2018, 13:39
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Re: Habitable space

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He's obviously going to do that but in these sorts of matters, it's really quite useful to ask on the forum first as quite often the responses here are useful to know what sort of questions (including ones that may not have even occurred to the OP) to ask when visiting the actual local authority.

It's also quite interesting for the rest of us who may be considering doing something similar either now or in the future.
Not really as we all live in different communes and cantons, each with their own very specific rules and regulations.
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Old 18.09.2018, 13:47
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Re: Habitable space

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Not really as we all live in different communes and cantons, each with their own very specific rules and regulations.
The questions one may want to field (and gleaned from some of the very knowledgeable members on this forum, sometimes working in a field in a professional capacity) will be the same.

The answers will, as you say, depend on the particular commune.
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Old 18.09.2018, 14:50
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Re: Habitable space

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Mikers, just go to the commune and ASK !!! With that you have accurante info and see whether it fits in with your plan or not, you will also be able to determine if the regulations could be "somewhat flexible"


What happens and what the regualtions are in Zurich or elsewhere, means diddly squat, you're in Montreux, Vaud Suisse Romand, these are the regulations that you will need to adhere too somehow.
Excellent advice.

In Vaud the minimum is 2.4, except in part of the roof slant thing (combles), and mountain chalets and mezzanines.

It's possible to get an exception, which sends Miker back to the commune.

Canton
Art 27 Hauteur des locaux 6
1 Tout local susceptible de servir à l'habitation ou au travail sédentaire de jour ou de nuit a une hauteur de 2,40 m au moins
entre le plancher et le plafond à l'exception des espaces de prolongement tels les mezzanines.
2 Dans les combles, la hauteur de 2,40 m doit être respectée au moins sur la moitié de la surface utilisable. Celle-ci n'est comptée qu'à partir d'une hauteur minimale de 1,30 m sous le plafond ou sous les chevrons.
3 Des exceptions peuvent être consenties par les municipalités pour les transformations de bâtiments lorsque les planchers existants sont maintenus et pour les constructions de montagne, à la condition que l'aération soit suffisante.
4 Les plans d'affectation peuvent prévoir une hauteur inférieure lorsque celle-ci est compensée par d'autres éléments améliorant la qualité des volumes, de l'espace de l'habitat et des prolongements extérieurs de celle-ci.

https://www.vd.ch/fileadmin/user_upl...iante/RATC.pdf

Look here for commune
https://www.montreux.ch/autorites-et...aux/urbanisme/
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