Building Regulations

fulton Image
06/04/2010 - 07:19

I have purchased a 'fabbricato' which is quite small, roofed and still generally intact. It is designated as a house. It currently has no kitchen or bathroom and has 3 levels - 2 rooms, a cucina at ground floor, una stanza at first floor and cantina on the lowest floor level. The room sizes are approx 3.5x4.0m including a stair. Can anyone tell me what the Buildings Regulations are for houses in regards to - Minimum size of rooms - kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Heights of rooms - I understand rooms should be 2.7m and bathrooms can be less. Insulation levels - what are current insulation standards? Drainage - I understand the drainage outwith and beside my house is private so can I connect without any consents? Thanks in anticipation David Fulton



There aren't building regs in the same way as the UK. There are various rules and regs - some national, some regional and some unique to each comune. It will depend very much on what you want to do with the property. For example, some older properties can have a head height lower than 2.7m but that depends on where you are and there are special rules for tourist accommodation or farm buildings. It also depends on what classification of property you have bought. You refer to it as a "fabbricato" but say it is registered as a house. If it is registered as a house then it will have a classification such as A3 or A1 etc. or does it say "fabbricato rurale" on the "visura"? It wil also say on the visura how many rooms this equates to. If you want to use the other two floors and they are not registered as habitation then you will need to get permission to turn them into habitable space which may or may not be granted depending on where you live and the specific rules there. If it has been registered as a house then there will be a cadastral map showing which bits are registered as habitable. You should have this from the purchase. The best way to find out what is permitted in your particular area is to either have a chat with the comune technico (assuming he is the approachable type) or speak to a local, recommended geometra. You say the drainage outside is private but then someone must have installed it. You may have to pay to join their "consortium" to connect to it. It could be a private drainage system for a few houses or just your neighbour. As to whether you need permission (other than from the owners) to connect, that would depend on if you have to cross any public roads/land. If you need to install your own septic tank then you will need a geologists report and the location of the septic tank goes on a register but again, the comune technico or a local geometra can advise. It is very difficult for someone to comment generally as so much is controlled locally.

In reply to by Penny

Penny, thanks for your reply. As far as I can see it is described as 'un fabbricato di civile abitazione' and the classification seems to be 'catagoria A/5, classe 3.' I have a 'catasto edilizio urbano' with floor plans showing the cucina at ground floor level, cantina at lower ground floor and room at the fist floor level. Don't know if that makes things clearer.    David Fulton 

Good luck with it - it is clearly just a 'pied a terre'. It sounds to me as if you have 'habitable space', catastally, on the first and second floors - but a cantina isn't regarded as 'habitable'. That does not mean it cannot be made 'habitable' - (but you are going to have to make the ceiling height 2.7m, as a minimum requirement, which depending on the rock below could be a little bit costly). You will also have to pay a tax (commonly referred to as Bucalossi or Legge 11) to the comune to get it classified as 'habitable' - I'd guess at €2000. Drains - if you are (I'm speaking about my Provincia here, yours might differ) within 200m of a 'mains drain' then your septic tank is obliged to discharge into it. If you are further away then either you do your own dispersion, or share with your neighbours. You need a geometra!

In reply to by Fillide

Thanks Fillide Are you local to the area? Are you involved in building or is your training in this area? Would the commune relax the regulation re ceiling height given that it is part of an existing building? Do you think I could install a small bath/shower room in either of the habitable spaces? Is there a minimum room size? Sorry for all the questions but not being able to speak much in Italian means it's difficult to understand in any depth the 'ins and outs' of the system.   Thanks

We're in the process of buying an old farmhouse in Liguria (not that far from you) and the head height only needs to be 2.3m in the rooms for it as it i below a certain sqm. Also the comune will grant permission to extend the property to put stairs or a bathroom or kitchen in (within certain limits). I know there is a minimum bathroom size of 3sqm if you are planning to let a room. No idea if it is a private house, however, sorry. It is so absolutely comune specific though and your comune could well be different. Could you find someone to translate for you locally and then go to the comune/geometra and ask? That would be my recommendation as unless someone on this forum has a house in the same comune, their advice may not apply to your property, unfortunately.

Ha ha - not sure if it's anywhere exciting but the property is a few km east of Apricale. It's a slow complicated purchase as so far 2 of the owners have died and one is seriously ill. But to be honest, it can take as long as it likes. We're not in a rush and with a baby due next month we're quite happy to not have to think about it for a few months while they sort out the inheritance. We're planning to move over to Bordighera (we currently live in Marche) in the autumn and rent for 2-3 years while re renovate. Piano piano as they say smiley

  That’s great…we’ll be ‘neighbours’ when we are there smiley We have a small apartment in Pigna.  Gosh, yes a baby on the way and a potential move don’t go well together!  Enjoy your last month…get lots of sleep while you can…wink

HI there - we've just bought in Liguria too - on the hill above Dolceacqua.  We're building from scratch on our land!!!  We've also got an old rustico which we were going to renovate as well and let out - it worked out very expensive for not a lot so we're just focussing on the new build - first draft of plans came through from our architect last night - very exciting.  Previous posters have mentioned the local planning laws - and I agree they are very specific to the location and in our case very very strict!  I would recommend finding a great architect/geometra who can work with you.  Ours is based in Dolceacqua and came highly recommended from a number of people- he speaks good english and is married to an architect who is fluent in english - perfecto - as our italian is very limited at the moment. Our plan is to put in for our permission as soon as the plans are agreed by us - with a view to starting the build early in the new Year - we can only go so far and then will not to stop as we will need to sell the family home in order to finish which will be after June (have a daughter who wil be completing final year of sixth form) we will then sell up here in the UK - finish the house and move in lock stock and barrel around Easter 2012. We're over in a just over a few weeks - and intend to view properties that the builders who we will be inviting to tender have built - sooo many things to think about as you'll be experiencing too!!!  

Hi La Dolcevita!

What is your geometra´s name please? As ours seemed to be good an honest, but sooo very slow! Nothing has been happening for few years! We´re trying to renovate and register our rustico to piano casa, based in Sasso di Bordighera.






Thanks Casa Monal - lots going on at the moment! Hi La Dolcevita - that sounds exciting. By reputation the local tecnico is supposed to be very strict and difficult in Apricale so the planning stage could be slow for us. We're renovating but very slowly. That's the one thing we've learnt in the last 6 years here is don't rush. Things always end up costing more money when you rush (for lots of different reasons!). The great thing about building from scratch is you should be able to get a fixed price whereas it is so much harder with a renovation project. We're fortunate that my husband comes from a long line of builders so we hope to do a lot ourselves. Enjoy your trip!

I'm also a Penny too!!!!!  My husband intends to do a lot of the internal stuff - he's a cabinet maker but probably won't be making anything for this house - unlike our current house where he's made everything which is beautiful - it just takes sooo much time - we've been living in and renovating our current house for 8 years - it will be finished next year when we sell.  He will however fit everything - doors/windows/kitchen etc and probably do the tiling for this new house.  Our architect is working hard to give us what we want within the parameters of the local laws - like Apricale they're really strict.  we're not only governed by Dolceacqua but the ministry of the Environment as well - so a double whammy - very restricitive but then stunningly beautiful all around - we're just on the edge of the Alta Via on the Terre Bianche - still can't quite believe it's ours - we've been looking for 5/6 years......We'll be off into Bordighera next weekend - love it there......

What a coincidence - not many of us around! That sounds fantastic. We're going to rent in Bordighera for the next 2-3 years while we potter away at the house. We're going flat hunting in October for a month once our baby is a couple of months old. Send me a message with your contact details and maybe we can meet up? Have fun in Bordighera - it's lovely isn't it?

Hi Fulton, no we are under Apricale. Not sure he's "our" geometra yet. We're going to try him out on the "accadastamento" and see how we go. He doesn't speak English. I believe La DolceVita's architect does speak English.