Acceptance of your new home
Extra caution is called for when taking ownership of the property on the site. That's because if you don't make specific note of defects which are of an obvious nature or which could have been identified during a careful inspection (so-called visible defects), the constructed property is considered approved, and you as the building owner forfeit all rights to make claims against the contractor.
Report defects immediately
If defects which were not identifiable during the acceptance (concealed defects) appear at a later point in time, notification of these must also be given immediately.
Time limitation for claims
The time limitation for claims starts from the moment you accept the property. For immovable buildings such as a detached house, according to the Swiss Code of Obligations there is a 5-year limit; for appliances and equipment, it is normally that of the manufacturer (generally 1 to 2 years).
Term for notification of defects
These guarantee time limits are not to be confused with the 2-year term for notification of defects according to SIA 118; this standard has validity, however, only if it has been contractually agreed. SIA 118 improves your position as a building owner or purchaser because during the 2-year guarantee limit or term for notification of defects you can file a complaint about defects of any type.
Get an expert involved
Checking a completed building for defects is no easy undertaking. Certainly, any layman can easily determine if the heating system, fireplace or the pull-out stairway for the attic are in good working order. Things get trickier, however, when getting clarification about the implications of smaller cracks or concealed defects and weaknesses. That's why it can be worthwhile to bring in an expert during the acceptance for his advice.
With a constructed building, you have the following warranty rights of defects:
- rework free of charge
- the contractor compensates you for the reduced value
- cancellation (i.e. money returned - materials returned)