Guide to building documents and local authorities in Italy.


Would you like to enter the bureaucratic building world in Italy, made up of institutions, permits, documents, clearances, professionals etc…? Unfortunately, in Italy there is a high bureaucracy and sometimes this can be an obstacle if you do not know it well. This world is highly formal and a bit complex, but don’t worry.

In this article, we can try to give you a simplified scheme of building documents and their timing. The advice is always to look out for an architect or engineer (which is mandatory to present building practices). But if you want to know more, read here.

So, what are the main building documents? It all depends on what kind of works you want to do on your home.


Let’s start from the most important:



The Permesso a costruire, “building permit” serves in the case in which works are started:

– new construction;

– urban restructuring;

– building renovation that leads to a building that is totally or partially different from the previous one;

– building renovation that brings changes in the overall volume of buildings or elevations;

– for buildings in historic centers, building interventions that involve a change of intended use;

– interventions that involve changes to the shape of constrained properties.

The time limits for authorizations are very variable and depend on many factors such as type of intervention, body responsible, size of work. Therefore it is not possible to make an exact evaluation of the times, but only a rough estimate.



The S.C.I.A. is the most common documentation. That’s the case of:

– maintenance interventions on the structural parts of the building;

– restoration and conservative rehabilitation interventions concerning the structural parts of the building;

– building renovation work;

– the variants to building permits that do not modify urban parameters. Like changing volumetries, intended use, building category and altering the shape of the bound buildings;

-variants to building permits that do not lead to essential variation.



The C.I.L.A. and C.I.L. will be used for interventions for which S.C.I.A. or Permesso a costruire are not needed and for cases where it’s not a free building works. It is therefore a question of minor and minor building interventions.

Each documentation will be complete with drawings of the current state and of the project.



A.E.L. “Free building works”: No permit, communication or drawing is required for all those ordinary maintenance interventions including interior painting, the reconstruction of interior floors and walls, the replacement of doors and systems, provided that there is no innovation. In this case you dont’ need no communication, permission or notification. Therefore they are free building activities, for the following interventions:

– paving and finishing works for outdoor areas, including rest areas, including underground and non-accessible cavities, water collection tanks, buried places;

– installation of solar and photovoltaic panels for buildings, outside the historic centers;

– non-profit play areas;

– furnishing elements of the appurtenant areas;

– ordinary maintenance operations;

– the installation of air-to-air heat pumps with a rated useful thermal power of less than 12 kW;

– interventions aimed at eliminating architectural barriers that do not involve the construction of external lifts or objects that alter the shape of the building;

– temporary works for research activities in the subsoil that are geognostic (except for hydrocarbon research activities) in areas outside the town center;

– land movements relevant to the exercise of agricultural activity and agro-forestry-pastoral documents, including interventions on agricultural plumbing;

– seasonal mobile greenhouses, lacking in masonry structures, functional to the carrying out of the agricultural activity;



Then, it is also important to mention the part relating to the energy performance of a building. If you build, renovate, sell or rent a property you will need to let a professional do the A.P.E. (certificate of Energy Performance). It is a document that certifies the energy class of the building, and therefore informs about how efficient the building is in terms of thermal dispersions and how much its heating system is performing.

Moreover, your professional has to hand this document to the Town Council.

italian building documents



Each documentation (except A.E.L. which has no communication required) must be presented to the Town Council “Comune” in which the building is located. The structural documents are part of the “Building Permit” and of the “S.C.I.A.“, when there is the need to intervene on the structural parts. Structural documents must be presented to the Civil Engineers “Genio Civile”, which is headed by the region, and not to the town.

Then, if you work on a building of particular architectural or historical value, it is possible that you should also refer to the “Soprintendenza, “Superintendency”.

Therefore, among the institutions we also find the “Catasto, the “Land Registry”. It is necessary to present documents to the Land Registry every time you change the intended use of a building. Or when you renovate the building by creating new real estate units. In this case, you can divide one building into two separate ones (frazionamento) or vice versa, removing common walls between two adjacent dwellings (accorpamento)). You need to present documents to the Land Registry also when building a new property.

Then there are other bodies.

ASL is the health authority that controls safety at work and to which the preliminary notification of the start of work must be sent. By that, the inspectors know that a site has started in a certain place and can do checks and inspections.

Ispettorato del Lavoro protects the rights of workers on site.

VVF (Firefighters) controls compliance with fire regulations for buildings. But you need a fire prevention plan only for industrial, commercial, or large buildings.


So, these are, broadly speaking, the main entities and building documents that your professional must present to obtain permission for a certain type of work.

Here you are a complete guide on construction and projects law in Italy:


If you need specific information, or you want to know more, we will be happy to help you!

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