Off-Plan Properties in Italy: Delivery Delays

Building A House in Italy: A Brief Guide

Purchasing the right plot of land when building a house in Italy is crucial

Self building, or having a house built, in your own country can be daunting enough. However, when it comes to building a house in Italy things can get really tricky.

If you decide to build a house in Italy, you will be subject to stringent building approvals and regulations.

Building work carried out in breach of approvals or that do not comply with regulations, expose you to criminal charges and prosecution. Court cases in Italy are protracted and costly procedures.

Non-compliances will also impact the future saleability of the property and, in a worst-case scenario may even lead to a demolition order.

You will need to deal with many professionals and legal restrictions. Building a house in Italy requires a deep knowledge of Italian law, technical aspects and working with building companies and contractors.

There can be many pitfalls along the way and we strongly advise you to seek legal advice before you even start looking for a building plot.

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Get your team in place

Involve professionals from the get go. This will make the whole procedure easier.

In addition to an architect and builder, engage a lawyer. This will give you more confidence in the building procedure since your team will guide you through what is a very complex project.

What are the steps to building a house in Italy?

Firstly, check before you buy. Can actually build on a specific plot of land and if so what size property can you build? You can ascertain this information from the land registry, certificates of intended use and, by investigating the presence of any restrictions related to zoning and urban planning.

Secondly, get your architect, surveyor, engineer to design the property. This should take into account current legislation regarding energy efficiency and any incentives available.

During this phase, we would recommend you define, in detail, a list of materials and finishes. You should then start getting estimates from construction companies or builders.

Thirdly, you will have to apply for planning and building permits and/or appropriate authorisations. The application needs to go through your local municipality. Depending on the municipality, permission can take several months.

How can a lawyer help with building a house in Italy?

Essentially a lawyer will safeguard you, your project and finances by ensuring that everything complies with Italian legislation.

In the first instance your lawyer can run checks and searches for you.

For example, so as to eliminate the risk of choosing a company that may become bankrupt during your building project, a solvency check on potential building companies is vital.

In order to have genuine benchmarks, your lawyer can request quotations from a number of building companies. Usually, for new construction, there are at least four different types of companies involved, (excavation, construction, electrician, plumber), but for easier management, it is advisable to contract the works to one company that will sub-contract the work. This is important in order to have only one point of contact on-site.

It is mandatory to check the building company you engage is tax compliant. Your lawyer can check DURC (Documento Unico di Regolarità Contributiva). This shows whether the company is in compliance with employees’ social security contributions.

Your lawyer can provide project management services. In order to avoid any conflicts of interest, you should avoid nominating a project manager related to the building company.

It is essential to have a legally drafted building contract. This is critical as it ensures you have all the legal guarantees and protections throughout your build and beyond. Again, your lawyer can manage this for you.

What needs to be in place before building can start?

Building works can only commence once you have nominated a project manager and building company and you have received all the relevant permits and documentation from the Municipal Technical Office.

A Safety and Coordination Plan (Piano di Sicurezza e Coordinamento) must also be in place, pursuant to Legislative decree 81/08.

A Safety Coordinator (Coordinatore della Sicurezza in fase di Esecuzione) must oversee the building phase. All the companies involved in the building phase must comply with the provisions of health and safety regulations. In addition they must prepare their own Operational Safety Plan (Piano Operativo di Sicurezza, POS).

Waste management produced on the construction site is particularly important. All materials must be disposed of in accordance with local regulations.

Finally …

As you can see, building a new house in Italy is not a straightforward process. Relying on our legal expertise and knowledge of Italian building laws and regulations will give you certainty and peace of mind.

Should you need further information concerning the process of building a new house, please feel free to contact De Tullio Law Firm at the following email address:


You may also be interested in Insurance Policy for Off-Plan Properties.

You may also like to watch our info videos about Italian property, succession and family law.

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