The English-speaking corner

Founded in 1976, BS+R offers services in the field of survey engineering (incl. legal registration, administrative requirements, land management consulting, estate management consulting) and civil engineering (road construction, sewer systems, water supply, general hydraulics, hydrology, pre-project expertise, etc.)
Located nearby Geneva, with a branch in Lausanne and partners in Zurich, Wollerau (Kanton Schwyz) and Sion (Canton Valais), BS+R is your natural partner in construction projects for all matters related to first step research (land ownership, land management rules, etc.) to realization and commercialization (official blueprints, construction surveying, estate ownership structures).

We can also help you understand legal requirements with regards to urban development, infrastructure requirements (detention basins, etc.) and design and build them.
We can also rely on our extensive local network in Switzerland to put you in touch with the professionals you’re looking for.

Finally, in collaboration with Helimap System SA, we also offer innovative solutions to capture and map large tracts of land at a very low cost compared to existing solutions (either terrestrial measurements or classic photogrammetry).

In short – if you need help to navigate through the meanders of land management laws, real estate development or environmental laws in Switzerland…feel free to get in touch. If we cannot help you directly, we’ll put you in touch with someone who can.
If words such as “division, mutation, plan d’enquête, aménagement du territoire, réseau d’égouts, evacuation des eaux, planification, implantation, propriété par étage, servitudes, restriction de droit de bâtir” and other similar terms give you a headache…call us…

For those coming to Switzerland from the Anglo-saxon part or other parts of the world, the intricacies of our land management legal system are often baffling. Yet…they serve the obvious purpose of optimizing our (scarce) land use and provide corrections to a real-estate market riddled with externalities.
When about to acquire a house, or to build one, should one feel emboldened, one often finds oneself confronted to (legal) concepts that seem counter-intuitive and that will slow down any project (even purchase) if not dealt with professionally.
In Switzerland, land ownership is guaranteed by the State thanks to an information system called Registre Foncier (in Western Switzerland) and Grundbuch (in Eastern Switzerland). This property register is based on two sources of information : the cadastre, or official map of the Swiss land and the legal information generated by the contracts providing for land ownership status and public law.
Any change to property limits or in fact, the content of the cadastre information system content must be endorsed by someone deemed worthy by the Federal State – a registered Official Survey Engineer (or Géomètre Breveté). The registration is the outcome of a successful examination (field, written and oral) by a Federal Commission of Experts. Contrary to a common belief, this is not a monopoly situation, as anyone with a recognized survey engineering degree (even from foreign institutions) can apply to go through the process. Registered official survey engineers have the right to perform measurements for cadastre purposes (i.e. property information maintenance) in the whole of Switzerland.
Usually, the Registered official survey engineer does not do the measurements himself, but has a managerial role and makes sure all data acquisition and computation processes follow the Federal Law requirements.
Furthermore, the Registered official survey engineer is also required to establish official public enquiry documents in the field of land management (for new building projects, neighborhood development plans, etc.). The reason for this is that the Federal (and by extension Canton) laws, based on the direct democracy principles, provide a right of opposition to most projects. In order to avoid useless and inevitable litigation based on the exactness of the content of the documents presented to the Authorities for the approval of a project, the Federal Assembly decided (back in 1902) to impose the use of a registered official survey engineer for the establishment of such documents. The obvious impact of this piece of legislation is that the liability linked to the exactness of content is put on the Registered official survey engineer.

In short, the Registered official survey engineer is a pivotal point in any real estate or construction project, should be involved from day 1 and will be the last person working on the project (to measure it at the end to put it in the cadastral database).