This review is my personal testimony based on my own experience building a house with Abadia SA a Swiss company from Vaulruz, canton of Fribourg; administered by a promoter who build in Switzerland.
In 2017 I purchased a plot of land from a large Swiss bank, the purchase of the plot was conditional to using Abadia SA as the general contractor for the construction of the house, at first the general contractor was charming and responsive, a fantastic sales person, he makes himself as your friend, comes to your house, has coffee and wine, promises the best quality, years of experience and the cheapest prices, “all for his clients” he says. In addition, he appears to have the support of large and reputable Swiss banks who will sell the land or finance the project for you, which like it or not, lends him an aura of reputation and trust. It made me think; if he were not serious these companies wouldn’t be doing business with him.
As the work progresses you start feeling uneasy, you see subcontractors complaining that they are not getting paid, work stops every once in a while, as the work progresses further some contractor stop and walk away completely, so he hired some other guys to finish, the whole thing becomes a nightmare, you confront the man from Abadia S.A. and he maintains that all is good, no problems, just a minor delay. Far from it, my experience was that the problems were never to be resolved, as the projects draws to a close you still have hopes he will make good on his promises, that’s when he is not available anymore, doesn’t answer the phone and if you dare to pressure him he will threaten you with litigation.
Finally, I took delivery of the unfinished house, no other option, the front metal cover for the walkway is trash and needs to be replaced, the façade cover got all bent with the heat as the didn't allow for thermal expansion, the interior ceilings are all cracked, all the doors misaligned and missing parts, unfinished exterior stairs, lights painted over, plus dozens of other items unfinished or paid and never delivered, picture a nightmare scenario with a flood in the basement and all, this is my experience with Abadia S.A and its administrator.
One of the most disturbing events was when I got a lien against the property from one of his subcontractors which he had a fall-out with, he says the subcontractor didn’t finish, and subcontractor says he didn’t pay, one of those things where other people do the deed but you get the consequences, he quickly proceed to use the lien to extract more money from me, it was either paying or he would let the lien be recorded in court. To top it off he then placed himself a lien on my unfinished property to recover 42,000 Francs of services that were unfinished or not even delivered. I think suppliers feel uneasy to pursue him in court, and clients don’t know where to begin, so most people simply write it off and move on; in Switzerland court cases like these are expensive and have a very uncertain outcome.
To add insult to injury, you find out that some of the subcontractors used were somehow related to him, a company he hired MILIR International S.A is a company which he had just transferred from himself to a new guy he hired, suspicious but apparently not illegal. Needless to say the new guy, related to him or not, had no clue and couldn’t do anything either. Other companies he hires to work in your house are also related to him, OHETIKA S.A. is another, and the director is his wife, Abtek Corporation SA, (formerly Synetrum AG) himself is the director - One thing, he never disclosed these incestuous and conflicting relationships to me, or to any of the people I talked to.
So before you hire a general contractor in Switzerland consider hiring an attorney to review the contract, guarantees and follow you to the end, also hire a well known court approved architect to follow the project and approve each bank disbursement to the general contractor, keep in mind that Swiss law offers you very little protection, it is common for people to simply open construction companies, drain it from its resources, file bankruptcy and move on to do it again. You are left having to pay twice, building in Switzerland? caveat emptor!
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