Congratulations! You have successfully completed your land purchase in Italy, which means you have passed your first set of bureaucratic testing. So, now that it is time to build, what are the next steps? Keeping your acquisition process in mind, resign yourself to more red-tape and an Italian pace of doing business that may be at-odds with your experiences elsewhere.

Italy does not have national building codes so much as it has a hierarchy that stems from local and regional building regulations and planning statutes. Your best resources for your construction project will be local trades people and companies who are familiar your new surroundings.

Accessing these local resources is most effectively accomplished by engaging the services of a qualified “geometra.

Photo from archer10(Dennis)

Your real estate agency will be able to help you choose the right geometra for your project. The geometra wears many hats: architect, translator, engineer, construction foreman, surveyor, and liaison with authorities regarding all necessary “permessi” (permits). He is your go-to source for advice on all regulations that pertain to building size and materials, earthquake resistance specifications, “green” energy, and water supply. He will know how to word all applications (read: “inside tricks”) that will be presented to the local planning office (“ufficio tecnico”).

Although exact timetables are almost impossible to even “guess-timate”, you will need to pay attention to the order-of-operations when it comes to building. For example, you will have to choose your builder before you can get a building permit. Depending on your mortgage structure you may run into time-limits that affect when you must begin construction and when you must have the construction completed.

No matter where you build in Italy, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to build any kind of “McMansion”, since local and regional planning codes are expressly designed to maintain the integrity and natural beauty of the landscape. But, 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.

Geometras do not all charge the same amount for their services. Rates will vary with locale, experience, and extent of work to be provided. Again, your real estate agency can be a big help finding you the right geometra. Some are better at handling bureaucratic matters, while others are savvier when hiring and overseeing contractors and trades people.

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.