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How the plot ratio affects your development plans

Anyone planning a renovation or new build needs to be aware of the plot ratio. But what exactly is this and how can you implement your project despite the specifications of the zoning plan?

Every municipal area is divided into building and non-building zones, as shown on the zoning plan. Anyone interested in buying a plot of land or old building should take a close look at this zoning plan: this is what will determine whether or not your dream house can be built on your plot – using the plot ratio. But what exactly is the plot ratio and how is it calculated?

Plot ratio – importance and calculation

The zoning plan and building regulations are usually available on the council website or can be obtained from your local or town council directly. The zoning plan shows both the floor space index and plot ratio.

The plot ratio is the ratio of the land area to the gross floor space of the building. It therefore describes the maximum size your house may be and is one of the most important things to consider. In other words, the higher this figure is, the more living space can be built on the plot. But how is the maximum possible living space calculated?

Here is an example: you have bought a 600 m² plot, where you plan to build a detached house. The plot ratio is 0.3 (30 percent). So, the calculation is as follows: 600 m² x 0.3 = 180 m². This means that your house may have a maximum gross floor area of 180 m².

This area is generally calculated for all the useable space and includes walls and masonry. For example, basements, storage rooms, garages, stairwells in apartment buildings, roof terraces and open balconies do not count as living space.

A municipality’s plot ratio will vary from construction zone to construction zone because there will be both densely populated city centres and other areas where building development is capped at 30 percent.

There are also differences between cantons, where the floor area ratio (FAR) is used for these calculations, instead of the plot ratio. However, a higher floor area ratio does not mean a higher plot ratio: every area of the building is included in the FAR – i.e. basements and attics, which are excluded from the plot ratio.

Check several options and seek professional advice

So, plan your renovation or new build carefully and weigh up several options. If you have not yet hired an architect and are merely pondering ideas, we can help you identify various options. Our qualified property consultants are your first point of contact for exploring your options, especially in the case of refurbishments, new builds or conversions.

Engel & Völkers provides expert advice and assistance during every stage of your project. Regardless of whether you are just starting out or already have specific plans – we will support you, from acquiring the land to selling your property.

Get in touch with your nearest Engel & Völkers shop or simply drop in – we look forward to helping you with your plans!

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