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Old 25.02.2021, 21:53
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Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

I'm used to wood-framed houses and houses with brick. I'm guessing also that concrete houses are more expensive to construct compared to brick. So why are so many houses built out of concrete here? Is there an advantage to poured concrete construction?
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Old 25.02.2021, 22:45
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

Nuclear war.
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Old 25.02.2021, 23:14
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

In most european countries, poured concrete house means -solidity . Everything else is "cardbox" . Cant really resist a big storm, flood, earthquake etc.. but poured concrete is steel like
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Old 25.02.2021, 23:42
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Nuclear war.
Those were prematurely built with intent of bomb and fallout shelters. The concrete structure makes it a preferable choice to block the radiation. In the US they use the phrase “run for the hills”, in Switzerland “run to the basement”.
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Old 25.02.2021, 23:50
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Is there an advantage to poured concrete construction?
Supposedly built to last...

...so those hideous concrete boxes will haunt us forever.


---

Back home my timber framed house was a Prairie School four square, solid as a rock. And my art deco brick was a fortress. (Literally, it was built for a Chicago mobster. Secret room and all.)

But the best of them all was OH's family farmhouse. Every inch built by hand, carpentry that would leave even an old-school Swiss Schreiner in awe.

You don't need concrete to build solid - you just need craftsmanship. Something the world is fast forgetting.
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Old 26.02.2021, 00:08
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Supposedly built to last...

...so those hideous concrete boxes will haunt us forever.
I'd like to say modern boxy houses are ugly, but they're Bauhaus style inspired. So, the idea is about 100 years old and the people that imagined them have been dead for half a century or more. So, a present from the past. Ugliness is temporary. After all, we spend hours inside and see boxy houses from outside just a few min per day.

I lived 4 years in the top floor of a 1727 house. Really cozy and with character, but I don't miss it all after moving to an apartment building finished 3 years ago: high ceilings, floor heating, lots of light with windows from floor to ceiling, no non-sense design. I may enjoy weekend in a charming old house, but living…..no thanks
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Old 26.02.2021, 05:49
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Supposedly built to last...

...so those hideous concrete boxes will haunt us forever.

This is very subjective. I personally love houses made from box formed concrete. My dream is to one day have a house that is concrete inside and out.


Inside especially it creates a blank canvas for art and furniture.



Look at some examples
https://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/concrete-1/
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Old 26.02.2021, 07:45
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

Just look up what happened with many houses back in my homeland of Texas during the recent deep freeze and you will understand why.

I do miss the charm though ... most of the houses here aren’t my taste.
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Old 26.02.2021, 07:46
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

The Swiss do like their concrete structures and sometimes it looks really cool. You often see exposed concrete on an external structure like a balcony slab or a garage roof and when the finishing work for the concrete is not top class you usually see moss grow on the concrete over time which in my opinion ruins the look.
As to why they use it; there are lots of reasons (Strength, low maintenance, aesthetics etc...). The walls in our house above ground level are mostly blockwork but we have 3 sections of wall in reinforced concrete due to earthquake requirements in the SIA.
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Old 26.02.2021, 08:15
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

I understood it was to help withstand earthquakes, to prevent anyone drilling into walls and to boost the sales of wifi repeaters.
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Old 26.02.2021, 08:19
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

I would go against the trend of saying they last.


Concrete lasts 50-75 years. Beyond that, the humidity causes the iron reinforcement to swell, and crack the concrete.


There's an old adage in the construction industry - there are two types of concrete: concrete that is cracked, and concrete that hasn't yet cracked.


The big advantage of concrete is cost. It's cheaper to store/transport some cement and sand that it is to kiln fire bricks and transport those. Labor in CH is expensive, so pouring concrete means you can get four walls built in a day. Bricks you can only put so many courses in a day before the weight compresses the lower joints.
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Old 26.02.2021, 09:20
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

Concrete combined with thick insulation is very good for thermostatic control and efficiency. The high heat capacity of the concrete helps keep an even temperature, allowing modern lower power heating systems to work efficiently.

Also, how often do you really see the concrete? Our house is bricks with (thin ) insulation and render - it doesn't look any different to any other house with insulation and render, what's underneath is hidden.

Although concrete it can crack, that isn't necessarily a big problem in a house which is probably over-engineered anyway; it's not like a bridge with huge stresses on the concrete beams.
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Old 26.02.2021, 10:52
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Labor in CH is expensive, so pouring concrete means you can get four walls built in a day.
But it takes them three years to dig a big hole and prepare the foundations.

I've seen a small estate of 20 brick houses built in about 6 weeks in the UK.
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Old 26.02.2021, 11:36
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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But it takes them three years to dig a big hole and prepare the foundations.

I've seen a small estate of 20 brick houses built in about 6 weeks in the UK.
That's because foundations in the UK are rarely more than a foot or two deep. Not to mention that construction standards in the UK are very poor (personal opinion, based on serving on the board of one of the largest construction material companies for the last few years).

Also keep in mind that in CH, there is a legal requirement to build a nuclear bunker under new builds - while in the UK (at least in the Thames Valley) the water table is so high that it's rare to build even a normal cellar. I know in the last property I had in London (well, West London), I wanted to put a wine cellar... and the cost would have been stratospheric as the soil was clay and had a high water table... ended up buying a wine fridge instead...

Also, three years doesn't sound right. In my area they've built three apartment blocks, including basements, in less than a year.
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Old 26.02.2021, 11:44
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Also keep in mind that in CH, there is a legal requirement to build a nuclear bunker under new builds -
<Pedant mode>

Canton dependent.

Here in SZ the requirement was done away with some time before the late 80s when our house was built - so we do not have a bunker.

(Supposedly there has to be space in a public shelter somewhere... but in the many years I have lived here I've never been able to figure out where those mythical public nuclear bunkers are. So when they drop the big one, it's into the wine cellar we go, to await armegeddon in style.)
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Old 26.02.2021, 11:48
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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Canton dependent.

Here in SZ the requirement was done away with some time before the late 80s when our house was built - so we do not have a bunker.
Same here in Zug. Our place was built in 2008 and no bunker
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Old 26.02.2021, 11:55
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

Bombs? The Swiss are more worried about their very own nuclear power plants and the neighboring ones:

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Practicing for a nuclear accident

Pascal Aebischer from the Federal Office for Civil Protection told swissinfo.ch that there was no perceived acute threat of a nuclear war that might affect Switzerland and, as such, “in the area of ​civil protection, no specific measures are being considered”.

He says civil protection measures are more geared towards “catastrophes and emergencies”.

His office has a federal centre of expertise for exceptional incidents, called the National Emergency Operations CenterExternal link, and a laboratory in Spiez with a monitoring and emergency task force to deal with a major nuclear or radiological event in Switzerland.

A general emergency exercise is carried out every two years in the vicinity of one of the four nuclear power plants. It involves a number of federal bodies in charge of emergency response, including the Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, and the Spiez LaboratoryExternal link. This year the exercise was held near the Mühleberg nuclear power station in canton Bern.
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/always-...ster-/43570374

Muhleberg was shutdown just before the last Christmas and it's not being demolished and waste will be stored safely. So, 3 remaining power plants are in Aargau and Solothurn. There are plans for a new one in Solothurn, but currently frozen.
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Old 26.02.2021, 12:41
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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in CH, there is a legal requirement to build a nuclear bunker under new builds
Nope. Not any more.
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Old 26.02.2021, 12:49
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

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<Pedant mode>

Canton dependent.

Here in SZ the requirement was done away with some time before the late 80s when our house was built - so we do not have a bunker.

(Supposedly there has to be space in a public shelter somewhere... but in the many years I have lived here I've never been able to figure out where those mythical public nuclear bunkers are. So when they drop the big one, it's into the wine cellar we go, to await armegeddon in style.)
Same in Neuchâtel, our house was built in 2012/2013 and there is no bunker.
No clue where our communal bunker is either but then I think if Armageddon does arrive I’d rather not be around to witness the aftermath.
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Old 26.02.2021, 12:55
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Re: Why are houses in Switzerland often made with poured concrete?

Do you have links to that? From what I can find:

In 2005, member of parliament Pierre Kohler submitted a parliamentary initiative that would have removed the obligation to provide shelters in private dwellings. He stressed the pointlessness of these "relics of the past", which inevitably pushed up the cost of building residential accommodation.

However, after analysing the situation, the government came to the conclusion that they were still useful, not only in the event of armed conflict, but also in the light of possible terrorist attacks with "dirty weapons", chemical accidents and natural disasters. So the future is still bright for Swiss fallout shelters.

Found out that they tried again in 2011 - and again, it failed - law remained unchanged... from what I can tell, if you don't have a bunker in a new house, you need to pay the gemeinde to keep space in the communal bunker...
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