11 golden tips to build your house in the italian countryside.
Here is everything you need to know.
Do you want to build the house of your dreams in Italy? Do you want to design your ideal home in the most beautiful country in the world? Are you finally about to build your home in the Italian countryside? You have found the right place! Here you will find some golden tips about it!
Building a house in Italy is an excellent investment: the country is always among the most popular. But, what do you really know about building a house in Italy?
Only 10-15% of buyers really know how to deal with a building construction in this beautiful country.
Do you want to know more about it? Yes?
So, Here are all the technical, architectural, bureaucratic informations and advices to design and build your house in Italy.
Are you ready? Let’s start!
- CHOOSE A PROFESSIONAL (AND A BUILDER)
Let’s say this straight: Before starting any practice for the work it’s important to have chosen a professional (architect or construction engineer) and consequently a building company.
Why? Because it’s necessary to have an architect to formally request the authorizations to build to the Town Council.
It’s essential that a local professional help you with building practices and any architectural work that you intend to do in your buildings. So it is important to have a team of competent professionals on site and only work with a reputable and experienced company.
2. BE AWARE OF THE ITALIAN BUREAUCRACY
You know what? Only a professional can tell you if a land is a building plot. The administration will allow you if, how much and how to build in a certain place. The rules depend on the town council.
So, remember: before buying land, make sure with an architect that is a building plot!
And then? Well, after buying the land you will need to request a “Permesso di Costruire”, building permit through your professional. This is the practice that requires more time to be authorized.
In fact, from the moment when your architect (or engineer) presents the request to the municipality, you will have to wait up to a maximum of 90 days to start work (unless there are significant irregularities or design issues). Construction can not start until the planning permission comes through.
Beware: any property built without the permission is considered illegal and the owner may be fined!
Consider also that in the north there are more efficient and faster offices than in the south. Know that you will have to pay construction charges: the bigger the house, the higher it will be. They also depend on your town council and your trusted architect will know how much they amount to! Ask him!
- BE AWARE OF THE TIME OF REALIZATION
Consider that: The timing of the design depends a lot on the needs of the customer and the skill of the professional. You will have to get in touch with your architect and communicate your design choices!
Remember: Before starting every work, sign a contract! Sign it with your construction company, through your architect. Remember to include clauses on the construction time!
Why? In Italy times of construction are lengthened, a bit because of the bureaucracy, a little because of the construction company.
Building a house from the ground usually takes about 1-2 year. It also depends on the type of construction, the size, the type of finish and the area in which you want to build the house.
For example, a large house in a desolate place in the woods will require more time than a small house near a town. (Keep in mind that in Italy, most work could be at a standstill in the month of August as most people are on holiday).
The advice we can give you is to make it clear from the beginning with a construction company what should be the timing of implementation. So… make a deal with your builder! Do not let him slip!
Important: Once the work is finished, know that the house will need other documents to make it habitable. They are: Static Test, Certificate of Habitability, Declaration of Conformity of the Plants and Works and Certificate of Energy Performance. It will take another month or two to produce these documents and see them accepted by the authorities! Now you know this!
- ALWAYS ASK FOR A COST ESTIMATE
Very Important: Get as many quotes as you want from multiple construction companies.
It is important that before the start of the work you know roughly how much you will spend. Consider that the cost of construction is very variable, and will change during the course of the works. Overruns with renovations are common, so be sure that you have a contingency fund of about 10-20% to handle them. With the right precautions, you will spend a fair amount, and perform the right construction.
- there are no reference for the professional’s fee and every architect/engineer is free to establish his fee!
- authorization costs (charges, taxes etc.) depend on the Town Council!
- the amount of work (and therefore of the documentation to be prepared) can be very different even for the same practice, from one building to another!
Do not start a project if you are underfunded. Be prepared in case time and costs should overrun, and be patient. At the end your new home in Italy will reward you!
- THINK ABOUT THE STRUCTURE
As you know, Italy is a seismic country: you will have to build an earthquake-proof house. Fortunately, the law requires it!
The most used structural typology is reinforced concrete, followed by wood (especially in the northern alpine areas), and by reinforced masonry (much less used).
Normally then, the structural shell is always in reinforced concrete, and is then coated and plastered according to the most appropriate architectural style.
For example, if you therefore want a stone house, consider that the stone will be the covering, and not the supporting structure! Therefore it is important that you follow a good engineer who can advise you on the best structural solutions.
- TAKE CARE OF SITE SAFETY
Listen this: You, as the owner of the work and owner of the land, will also be responsible for safety on site! That’s right!
Know that your architect and your construction company are obliged to produce safety documents. These documents prevent accidents at work and inform workers of the risks present on site.
If possible, always fence the area, to prevent strangers from entering the building site. Check that the workers comply with the safety measures (safety shoes, helmet, gloves, etc.)
Be very cautious and then entrusted to a suitable professional, who programs and do all these things for you.
The fines are very high in case of accidents or non-compliance with the rules. Please! Do not let your architect overlook this aspect. Know that you are an owner but also responsible for all safety issues.
So, be careful about this!
- RESPECT THE ARCHITECTURAL STYLE OF THE CONTEXT
This is important: When you’ll design your new home in the Italian countryside with your trusted architect, you’ll not be able to choose a constructive style that is too different from that of other local homes.
Believe us! Italian municipalities are very sensitive on this subject.
No matter where you build in Italy, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to build any kind of huge Californian mansion. In fact local and regional planning codes are expressly designed to maintain the integrity and natural beauty of the landscape.
Relax: neither will any of your neighbors be erecting incongruous monstrosities, so you should never have to worry a “cookie-cutter” development springing up around your home.
For example, if you bought a house in Tuscany, you will not be able to build your dream house in the shape of a pyramid or a Greek temple!
So, what? You will have to build a Tuscan-style house, or at least a house that observes the decor and respects the architecture of that place. Simple, right?
You can make your choices regarding the organization of the interior spaces, the decor etc …
But as regards the outside (facades, roofs, fixtures, etc …) you will have to pay special attention to what surrounds you. You will have to make you uniform to the surrounding landscape and to the prevailing architectural style.
So: Build a beautiful house, avoiding ugliness, integrated with the place combining tradition and style, luxury and beauty. Whether it’s a hotel, a farmhouse, or a villa you’ll have to do something nice because it will be an added value.
Don’t worry: Your professional will advise and support you in the best design and aesthetic choices.
So, the municipality will authorize your project without hindrance and in the shortest possible time.
- YOU WILL HAVE TO USE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
Attention, please! If you build a house, you will surely be obliged to thermally insulate the building and to use renewable energy sources.
In fact the Italian state requires you to build an almost energetically self-sufficient building, which allows you to save energy as much as possible. You are invited to use renewable energy. The most used are solar thermal for domestic hot water, solar photovoltaic for electricity production, stoves biomass, etc.
So what? Prepare yourself to install solar panels on the roof and use a nice wood-burning fireplace!
You need to know that in Italy there is an energy classification of buildings. After you have built yours with your architect, a certifier will attribute an energy class to your home. We recommend… do not neglect this aspect!
In Italy the energy classifications range from A to G. A new construction will necessarily have to be of class A.
- DO NOT SAVE ON SIZE
Listen: If you have the opportunity to build a house, do not miss the chance. Italy is a country with less and less building plot, in fact most of the construction works are renovations or reconstructions. Do not save on the square meters!
The opportunity you have now to build may not exist in a few years! For example, if you want to build a 250 square meter house, build 50 square meters more!
Why? In the future you may always need additional space. But since the laws in Italy are very variable, you may not have the chance to expand your home. Here’s the point: do not build a small house!
10. DO NOT FORGET ENERGY SUPPLIES
You know, the best thing would be to build an energy self-sufficient building! Consider also that Italy is a country that imports fossil energy, and the bills are higher than those of other countries! Yes, you read that right.
But anyway, let’s take a look at the supplies and understand how to get them. You will certainly need it!
Unless your house is very close to a town, or an area where the public water supply is present, it will be necessary for you to build a well. You will also need a well to irrigate the garden, wash the car, for your animals, etc. ..
So we always advise you to build your own well. Prices are not high, but remember to install a water purifier and do periodic analysis to drink water. You will avoid the water bill and will only pay for the management and maintenance costs of the well. Italy is a country with many mountains and excellent springs!
If you do not have a public power line near or near the land where you want to build a house, you will have to refer to Enel (the main manager). Enel will make the necessary installations with extension of the cables from the point of supply closest to your building.
In the countryside almost all of them have an underground tank for the supply of methane / LPG. The companies that offer this service are many and also offer the planned supply of the tank, through management and maintenance. You will then have to choose a place, as far as possible from home and car, where to make the tank buried.
In the age of smartphones, you could do without it. But if you want a landline you will almost certainly have to refer to Telecom (the main manager). This company will make the connection to the telephone line.
11. THINK ABOUT THE ROAD
Have you thought about it?
If you build a house in country land, it’s likely that you also have to build the road, or a more or less short drive to access the house.
Just to know: Almost always the roads for private use in the countryside are gravel roads. If you want to build an asphalt you will have to spend a lot more. And in that case the authorization of the Town Council is more difficult to obtain, because much more impacting landscape.
Beware: If the road you build serves only your land and is closed to the passage of strangers, then it is a private road. In this case you will also have to provide maintenance. Remember that road maintenance is a very demanding thing, especially in the winter months with rain and snow.
For example: If you want to build a house in the middle of the woods, then you have to take into account the cost for the construction and maintenance of the road. If instead you build a house on a land lapped by a public road, you just need a simple driveway (dirt or stone paved).
Yes, we’ve finished for now, don’t you feel more educated?
What did you learn? Do you remember everything?
Remember…this is just the beginning!
Do you want an advice for your new house? What do you want to know? Ask us anything.
Write us: email@example.com or Contact us
We will be happy to follow you step by step.