Planning and construction law

Planning and construction law

First planning, then building – or already a legal dispute? It is not uncommon to become embroiled in cost- and time-consuming legal disputes before your construction project has even started. Here too we can help you – if possible in negotiations and if necessary in court – to realise the dream of your own apartment, home, or change of space. The countless planning, construction and environmental regulations often require additional legal clarifications. Whether you are a municipality, an association/community of interests or private person, we are happy to provide you with active support in the area of public and private planning and construction law. In addition, the necessary notarial work (e.g. easements, pledge agreements, etc.) may be provided on a case-by-case basis.

“Planning and construction law” questions

As a general rule, all nuisances, such as air pollution or unseemly odours, which are not justified by the location and nature of the property or local custom, are prohibited (Art. 684 Swiss Civil Code, SCC). Whether the compost system next to your garden seating area is a “normal” or excessive nuisance must be assessed in the context of an average person as well as according to the intensity and duration of the specific source of emission, and must be determined in each individual case. As neighbours, you do not have to tolerate the smell of compost around your seating area. Placing a compost pile on the border as an “act of vengeance” on the part of your neighbour can be seen as an indication that the nuisance is excessive. In the event of an excessive nuisance, each neighbour

The case law takes the view that nuisances such as falling autumn leaves should be accepted in a single-family residential area, because this is a natural and habitual occurrence in autumn, particularly in areas with many larger gardens, and therefore should in general be tolerated. The same applies in the case of leaves, flowers and branchlets and branches blocking the gutters and drainage pipes. The fact that this inconveniences a neighbour is not relevant. Only in particularly serious situations is it to be expected that plant nuisances constitute excessive nuisances and are thus prohibited under Art. 684 SCC.

You can keep the fruits on the overhanging branches of a fruit tree situated on a neighbouring plot, so you can also pick them. However, this implies that you tolerate the overhanging branches.

 

As a general rule, a nuisance that is not justified by the location and nature of the property or local custom is prohibited (Art. 684 SCC). The fact that the crane extends over an adjacent plot when rotating can certainly impact the subjective feelings of a neighbour. However, whether this is a “normal” or excessive nuisance must be assessed in the context of an average person as well as according to the intensity and duration of the specific source of the emission. As the movements are probably unavoidable if construction work is being carried out in the immediate vicinity, and as they are limited to the construction period and to the working hours during the day, you must tolerate them. However, the company responsible for crane work is responsible for taking any relevant safety measures and is liable for any damage resulting from the careless transportation of supplies etc. over your property. As a general principle, anyone who creates a dangerous situation is obliged to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm or accidents from occurring.

The civil law means for a long-term right to a view is a property law easement. Building and neighbour law provisions may also be relied on if construction projects are to be carried out on neighbouring property. Building regulations define minimum distances between buildings and facilities and neighbouring properties, which may be deviated from by mutual agreement. The main purpose of these rules is to mitigate the various impacts of objects on neighbouring properties (reduction in light exposure, sunlight, view, etc.) and thus also serve private interests in particular. Depending on the intensity of the impact on the property, the construction project may be prevented or compensation may be demanded. As a land owner, it is therefore well advised to participate in the municipal building permit procedure.

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