Can you build on an agricultural zone

Spatial planning is not building planning

Spatial planning should separate strict building zones from the rest of the (non-building) area by using the soil economically (Art. 1 RPG). Agricultural buildings (Art. 16a RPG) are permitted in the agricultural zone (Art. 16 RPG), but they must meet strict criteria that must be taken into account prior to the actual construction planning. The Graphics (see p. 10)gives an overview of the legal requirements for a building permit outside the building zone.

Conflicting goals

The farmer just wanted to expand the barn for his cows and is now rightly wondering why it all has to be so complicated. The comparison in the tableshows the purpose of spatial planning in conflict with the interests of the client. If the different interests are taken into account at an early stage during construction, the risk of costly project and plan changes, time-consuming appeals negotiations or even legal disputes can be minimized.

Construction planning starts early (er)

The actual planning begins at the kitchen table when the whole family is discussing the future development of the business and thinking about its future. Ideas are collected, concretized, discarded and new ones taken up until the decision to build a new building or an extension is made. It takes time, a lot of time, from the actual decision of the family to completion.

Operational analysis

In a first step, the farm manager family clarifies its own framework conditions and defines the strategy for the future direction of the company. Legal, financial, operational and family requirements are taken into account. It's not just about size, but also about what is feasible and the goals that the family should strive for. The organization of work and the workload must be discussed intensively.

Project planning and planning phase

Together with the building planner and the stable construction company, room programs are created in accordance with the selected production standards. In addition to the development, size of the storage areas and the cesspool, the site evaluation takes a lot of time. For the latter, cantonal departments or commissions must be involved so that the buildings can be integrated as well as possible into the landscape and the minimum distances to non-agricultural residential buildings can be observed. In this evaluation phase, it is very important for the farming family to visit other properties and to exchange experiences with professional colleagues. If you have skilled hands, you shouldn't be afraid to make a model of the building. The planner estimates the total costs and the family clarifies the financing and profitability with the consultant.

Prepare building application documents

If the family has decided on a building application, the building application documents must now be drawn up in full by an experienced planner. In addition to the plans, there are now many forms and, if necessary, an environmental impact report. It is not uncommon for the documents to be copied ten times (or more) and submitted to the building permit authority. In most cantons this is the municipality. With complete, well-founded and well-clarified documents, the building permit process can be accelerated and trust can be created. Now the construction profiles are in place.

Building permit procedure

Once the building application has been submitted to the authority, it opens the dossier, publishes the application and the deadlines for objections begin to run. Outside the construction zone, however, the municipality cannot decide on its own. The municipality forwards the application to the responsible cantonal office. The cantonal approval authority in charge of the dossier conducts the consultation process with other specialist agencies (including the Agriculture Office, the Environmental Protection Office, etc.) If everything goes well, the canton issues a positive decision so that the local authority can issue the building permit in writing. Any objection negotiations can take a long time and often lead to delays and project adjustments. The client would do well to clarify possible objections in advance and to exercise patience and diplomacy.

Detailed planning

The time that elapses during the building permit process can also be used to plan the construction in more detail, to obtain offers, to call in specialists and to check and compare the incoming offers. You have to wait until you have received the definitive building permit before awarding the contracts. The cost estimate is constantly being refined. The accuracy of the cost estimate increases.

Construction work

Anyone who has ever built knows that as the client, they must be present on the construction site. It's not just about checking, but about making quick decisions in the event of deviations and surprises. Construction management requires in-depth specialist knowledge. If the client takes over the construction management himself, he should have this knowledge and a very good organizational talent. The construction is only finished when all defects have been remedied after the construction acceptance, the construction accounts are checked and all invoices have been paid. Three years have passed since the decision to build.

Well planned is half built

A well-designed building will please the whole family, make work easier and be economical. It influences the orientation of the company over several decades. Well planned is half built. It is worth bringing in a consultant.