An apartment building without a foundation in the soil


I would have a question about the ways houses are built over here.

We visited an apartment for sale today and surprisingly the sales agent said the ground floor served as a basement level since a hole was not dug to create a foundation. Allegedly, it's particularly expensive in this town because the soil there was more humid and there could be underground water sources, therefore it'd be more expensive and a different approach was taken.

The building was built in the early 2000s and is still standing.

Is it a common thing, say in the Geneva Lake area or in Switzerland? Are there risks involved, like maybe such a construction has a shorter life timespan or something else? Or it's a totally normal practice and we need to trust the fact that this construction was approved at some point? =)

I know nothing about this.

Thank you!

It’s perfectly normal in areas where the water table level is high.

Thank you! Does it make the construction less future-proof though or it is equal to a classical construction with a foundation?

It has a 'foundation', just not dug down under ground level.

Very likely it has concrete pillars into the ground to support the structure. I doubt it's built directly onto a concrete slab if it's more than 1-2 storeys high.

Most houses in the UK don’t have cellars, just a foundation of a foot or two.

Thank you! I think the sales agent did mention concrete pillars. It's a 4-story building. Even if it is the common way to construct things there, I am still a bit concerned, as places, where furniture used to stand close to the wall, had some mold on them, and the bathrooms had even more of that. Of course, all that can be repaired but I am wondering if it is healthy. Probably one could develop asthma in that kind of humid environment, or maybe I am overreacting?

Thanks! It's an interesting fact. I don't know too much about UK.

I would walk away from a moldy flat. When it's that extensive, there's almost always mold you can't see and treat.

If there is obvious signs of mould walk away, that’s a far bigger issue than the lack of basement foundations.(which is actually a non issue)