– May 18, 2021

Building objections: This is what you need to bear in mind.

The redevelopment of a neighbouring or nearby property can have a significant impact on the quality of life of people directly affected by it. From a legal point of view, numerous planning, building and often also environmental protection issues arise. It is therefore not surprising that building objections have become almost the norm. But what are the main points to consider?

We have compiled the most important points for you – a list that is not entirely exhaustive:

  1. The objection must be in writing and bear your original signature. It must contain your requests (i.e. your demands, what you want to have changed and/or repealed) and a justification for each request (cf. § 194 para. 1 PBG LU). It must be submitted in good time to the competent authority (in the canton of Lucerne to the city or municipal council).
  2. It is essential to observe the public display of a project (in the canton of Lucerne during 20 days [§ 193 para. 2 PBG] or 10 days in the simplified building permit procedure [§ 198 para. 1 lit. d PBG]). Objections are only legally valid during this period. Objections submitted too late will not be examined (non-acceptance). It is not possible to restore the deadline, as this is not provided for in the law.
  3. The more extensive and complex the objections and violations of rights, the longer the delay in a renovation or new construction project. Although such delays are annoying for the developer, they are part of a realisation risk. The intention of a delay due to an objection is legitimate, but such behaviour must not be cross-regulatory or even abusive of the law (cf. Cost consequences).
  4. An objection may be raised against factual and legal defects in the construction. This includes an incorrect or incomplete determination of the legally relevant facts, violations of the law and discretionary powers as well as procedural errors. The objection can also be actively used to bring in one’s own interests and in particular to influence the design of the surroundings (e.g. jointly designed boundary with visual protection).
  5. Since a notable change in the case law of the Federal Supreme Court, objectors no longer bear the risk of costs (cf. Federal Supreme Court ruling 1C_266/2016 of 14 June 2017 = BGE 143 II 467 ff.). The Cantonal Court of Lucerne has also declared this change to be guiding for the applicable legal situation in Lucerne building law (LGVE 2018 IV No. 20). Costs can now only be imposed on an objector in the case of an obviously abusive objection. An increase in building objections is therefore likely.
  6. In view of the increasingly complex legal situation, it is strongly recommended that an objector be advised and represented by a lawyer specialising in planning and building law. Furthermore, the possibility of mediation with building law expertise should be mentioned. In such a framework, personal as well as legally irrelevant or hardly relevant concerns can be taken into account even better.

Do you have any questions about the above? Do you need support with a building objection? Our lawyers will be happy to help you. You can find more information on the topic of building law here.