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Old 01.12.2009, 17:00
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Renovation questions...

We took the plunge and bought a house in Canton Luzern. The house was built in 1923 and was extensively remodeled in the 1950's but has not been touched since. The house isn't in bad condition but it is very dated and is currently divided up into a warren of small rooms.

I have a lot of experience renovating houses in the US and Italy but I have never done one in Switzerland. We have already begun the demolition and I am keeping a blog here: http://rothus6.blogspot.com/

Our plans:
The house has two floors and a huge attic. Our plan is to gut all three floors completely and remove lots of walls to enlarge the rooms.
  • Ground floor: Remove 3 walls and one bathroom and enlarge the kitchen and living room.
  • 1st floor: Remove several walls and turn 4 bedrooms into 2 bedrooms and a bath that can be shared by the two bedrooms.
  • 2nd floor: Finish the attic to become a large master bedroom and add a large bathroom.
Some questions I have are:
  1. Are we required to use an architect or engineer?
  2. Can I lay out the underfloor heating, plumbing and electrical myself and use a professional plumber and electrician to oversee the process and certify it? I have experience in this area and actually feel comfortable doing it all myself but I imagine I will be required to involve professionals to keep it legal.
  3. Do I need a permit to turn the attic into living space?
  4. Do I need a permit to add or remove a bathroom?
  5. Do I need a permit to turn four bedrooms into two?
  6. Do I need a permit to change the exterior color of the house? (I would like to paint it pale yellow with red shutters.)
  7. Do I need a permit to add 6 Velux roof windows?
  8. Do I need a permit to add or remove a chimney?
  9. Do I need a permit to replace all the old windows with new units of the same size?
  10. Do I need a permit to switch from an old oil-fired hot water radiator heat to a heat-pump and underfloor heating?
  11. How much insulation am I required to put in the walls/roof?
That's all I can think of for now, thanks in advance for any help you can give me,
Ed McGaugh
Rothusstrasse 6
6215 Beromünster LU

PS: Free beers to anyone that wants to stop by and give me your 2 cents worth. (I won't make you pick up the sledge hammer)
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Old 01.12.2009, 17:25
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Re: Renovation questions...

I can't answer your questions but I just wanted to congratulate you on taking the plunge. I would love to do this one day and would offer a free helping hand to see the process and maybe learn something but i'm 7 months pregnant so I wouldn't be much help, just a burden .
Instead I'll be watching your blog with envy.
Good luck and hopefully someone will answer your questons
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Old 01.12.2009, 17:28
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Re: Renovation questions...

I think for the amount of alterations you are proposing you will certainly need permission. For example, the regulations for Velox windows can vary between communes.

I would suggest that you go to your local commune office and speak to an official there.
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Old 01.12.2009, 17:58
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Re: Renovation questions...

I was surprised what I needed a permit for. I can't even put up a fence for privacy because Zug has rules that boundaries must be plants/hedges.

Changing anything on the exterior of the house needs a permit - window colour/type, paint colour, areal/satellite dish on roof, chimney, paving flat roofs to allow use ect.

Adding living space to a house needs a permit. They classify heated rooms as living space, so you can board up and use your roof space without heating and windows - no permit needed.

Adding bathrooms in non-living space areas such as a basement needs a permit. I wanted a toilet in my basement, since there is an office right next door and it make it easier when you come in through the basement garage door. I was told the reason for the permit was because I was increasing the usable living space.

You can get a copy of the application form from your local Bauamt and see what kind of things need permits.
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Old 01.12.2009, 19:01
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Re: Renovation questions...

Thanks you guys.

juelmer: In that case you will enjoy the blog I did on our house in Italy: http://zanco-project.blogspot.com/ Thanks and good luck with the baby!

Blonaybear: Of course I did assume that some of the things I want to do would need permits and I plan to consult the authorities first. I was just hoping to find someone that had already been down this path and could shed some light on the subjects. Thanks for your input.

MarieZug: That is just the kind of info I was looking for. Did you do any of the work yourself? I wonder if I am going to run into problems trying to do a lot of the work myself.
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Old 01.12.2009, 19:02
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Re: Renovation questions...

Quote:
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  1. Are we required to use an architect or engineer? PROBABLY AS YOU HAVE VERY EXTENSIVE WORK TO DO
  2. Can I lay out the underfloor heating, plumbing and electrical myself and use a professional plumber and electrician to oversee the process and certify it? I have experience in this area and actually feel comfortable doing it all myself but I imagine I will be required to involve professionals to keep it legal. CERTAINLY WILL NEED TO GET IT CERTIFIED, ELECTRICTY YOU WILL NEED TO USE QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN. (CATEL BUSINESS....)
  3. Do I need a permit to turn the attic into living space? YES
  4. Do I need a permit to add or remove a bathroom? NO
  5. Do I need a permit to turn four bedrooms into two? NO
  6. Do I need a permit to change the exterior color of the house? (I would like to paint it pale yellow with red shutters.) NEED PERMISSION FROM COMMUNE PROBABLY
  7. Do I need a permit to add 6 Velux roof windows? DEFINITELY YES EVEN FOR 1 VELUX
  8. Do I need a permit to add or remove a chimney? YES
  9. Do I need a permit to replace all the old windows with new units of the same size? YES
  10. Do I need a permit to switch from an old oil-fired hot water radiator heat to a heat-pump and underfloor heating? NO BUT IT WILL NEED TO BE CERTIFIED (CARTEL BUSINESS...)
  11. How much insulation am I required to put in the walls/roof? CHECK WITH COMMUNE
Your commune is the best bet to answer all these questions, try and get them on your side and they will be most helpful, especially as many of them probably either work in, or have a family member, in the building trade one way or another. If you put their back up it can make life quite difficult, not impossible but difficult.
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Old 01.12.2009, 20:08
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Re: Renovation questions...

Thank you Charlie that really helps and thank you for the tip!
I definitely owe you a beer. Stop by any time!
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Old 01.12.2009, 20:20
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Re: Renovation questions...

Quote:
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We took the plunge and bought a house in Canton Luzern. The house was built in 1923 and was extensively remodeled in the 1950's but has not been touched since. The house isn't in bad condition but it is very dated and is currently divided up into a warren of small rooms.

I have a lot of experience renovating houses in the US and Italy but I have never done one in Switzerland. We have already begun the demolition and I am keeping a blog here: http://rothus6.blogspot.com/

Our plans:
The house has two floors and a huge attic. Our plan is to gut all three floors completely and remove lots of walls to enlarge the rooms.
  • Ground floor: Remove 3 walls and one bathroom and enlarge the kitchen and living room.
  • 1st floor: Remove several walls and turn 4 bedrooms into 2 bedrooms and a bath that can be shared by the two bedrooms.
  • 2nd floor: Finish the attic to become a large master bedroom and add a large bathroom.
Some questions I have are:
  1. Are we required to use an architect or engineer?
  2. Can I lay out the underfloor heating, plumbing and electrical myself and use a professional plumber and electrician to oversee the process and certify it? I have experience in this area and actually feel comfortable doing it all myself but I imagine I will be required to involve professionals to keep it legal.
  3. Do I need a permit to turn the attic into living space?
  4. Do I need a permit to add or remove a bathroom?
  5. Do I need a permit to turn four bedrooms into two?
  6. Do I need a permit to change the exterior color of the house? (I would like to paint it pale yellow with red shutters.)
  7. Do I need a permit to add 6 Velux roof windows?
  8. Do I need a permit to add or remove a chimney?
  9. Do I need a permit to replace all the old windows with new units of the same size?
  10. Do I need a permit to switch from an old oil-fired hot water radiator heat to a heat-pump and underfloor heating?
  11. How much insulation am I required to put in the walls/roof?
That's all I can think of for now, thanks in advance for any help you can give me,
Ed McGaugh
Rothusstrasse 6
6215 Beromünster LU

PS: Free beers to anyone that wants to stop by and give me your 2 cents worth. (I won't make you pick up the sledge hammer)
Ed you need help.
I am a building inspector for our local Commune.
You should take an architect stright away.
Don't go to the Bauampt before you have some plans.
Don't say that you have already started pulling out.
Attica needs a special permit by us (enlarged living space)
Heat pump needs also a special one.

To all you questions about permits I would say yes.

Floor heating on wooden floors is very complicated and needs a special floor which takes up to 15cm in thickness.
If I can help more send me a PM.

Salut Zämme
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