house build

silvs Image
01/30/2011 - 08:25

hi i was looking for some advice regarding a house buld that has went wrong as after it was bulit 3years ago defects started to appear like blocked drainage dampness flaking paint blocked guters etc after chasing builder and archectect, who did nothing ,i have been advised from mym lawyer to take it to a trinbunal wher a judge appoints an indepenedt enginner who decides who and what is to blame my question is that if they decide in my favour and the builder and archectect do not want to fix or pay to get it fixed and i have to go to court can i freeze there assets till it goes to court



As one who has been there, can I advise you that you are completely wasting your time in the Italian courts system which is totally disfunctional and chaotic. Unless your claim is for a large amount (like Eur 50,000) you are wasting your time.The whole legal system is a game in Italy which earns Lawyers fee income and gets you nowhere. If the other side is half decent they can get cases delayed and you will be still litigating in 5 years and will have spent Euro 5,000 on legal fees.Just spend that Euro 5,000 on fixing the house. Most Italian houses are built to fairly shoddy standards so 3 years for a few faults to raise their head is not bad - most have the render falling off by then due to inadequate cover on the steel!!That's my advice - Sicily Chap

hi thanks for your reply but yes  i think it will cost 50,000 to fix all the defects and they started not lomg after it was built, after some time they did come out and try to fix some of the defects but what they did made no difference, mind you i think from what i can make out the fact they tried to fix it goes in my favour as it means they accepeted there was a problem, but i was wondering if we go to court can i freeze there assets

I agree with sillychap the legal system is a complete waste of time and money. If the defects are hidden you need to notify the builder or geometra in writing of the discovery in I believe 60 days, this requires a solicitors letter which will cost you, and they will acknowledge delay for for two years stick two fingers up, promise to pay or fix, stick two more fingers up and that is the last you will hear from them. However on the up side you may just scare the s*** out of them and they may fix it. but I wouldnt hold my breath. After all this is Italy the home of C******. Dont let the ba*****s grind you down

You say your house was finished three years ago. Now it is possible that the permission to build the house was granted rather earlier, in which case you maybe do not have the 'guarantee' which was implemented by Italian law (I'm sorry I can't remember the date) - but it was effectively a national 'NHBC' assurance, backed by the developer/builder paying into a collective insurance scheme. The thinking behind this was about selling 'off plan', but it (if your house is covered, because of when it was built and when the permission was granted) you should find some mention of it in your compromesso, and (I would imagine) in your act of compravendita. I hear Alanh's rational advice to 'leave it to your solicitor' - but the solicitor is wanting to earn a buck so maybe isn't bringing this to your attention. Good luck, but do check whether you have any 'statutory rights' first off.

If your house was built by a building contractor and you bought new - as I suspect you did, you should have a 10 year guarantee on defects resulting from shoddy building.  This is enforceable, despite the labyrinthine workings of Italian law.  it is one of the few new laws that seems to work.  A judge will - if the problems are a direct result of a builder cutting costs or being useless - immediately instruct him to put matters right.  Unfortunately you cant bring in another builder until the original builder fails in his attempts.  But I would say it is worth getting a lawyer on to it, if, as Adriatica says, you are covered by the law.  It should say in your docuemntation - and the builder should have left a bond when the house was built.  

i also got surprised by my name.. as i had stayed out of this thread...some of the comments regarding Italian builders making me see a slight shade of red.. because to my mind they are no worse than anywhere.. in fact historically much better than most.. what lets down the actual builders are the rules and the mindsets of various people involved in the planning and checking.. and the system that means you are often dependent on an idiot to run the project.. however a contract should stipulate if you have a dispute where you can go to resolve it..  its usually a less formal court to arbitrate a dispute with less fees and people involved... anyway it should be there in your contract and also  as has been said the fact that buildings are guaranteed .. you should also have been asked to sign off on the work being concluded in a satisfactory way.. obviously not.. but did you make any points of concern when you signed off on the works.. this good be a good point if you did..   also did you get details of the builder and his registration and his insurance coverage.. this should have been in your contract too... further to that an important question is are you bi-lingual in the sense you understand italian.. if not the contract if not signed twice by you as a proof that you accepted it without understanding it is not legal either.. even signing twice .. a sort of strategy used by less scrupulous people working with foreigners should still leave you with a reasonable argument if you did or do not understand Italian as all contracts have to be in a language that you understand and if it needs translation the translator has a role to play in any dispute too..   the other very important part is you should have a final list of works, the costs, the tech specs of what was used in the build and this is basically the final account of your build.. in fact you should be approaching your project manager as he is in charge of checking works.. including quality problems your original posting was quite limited in info.. and its a lot more complicated if you are about to head down a legal path and you would have to explain an awful lot more about what and how the project came about... hopefully you were not tempted to reduce costs by paying anything that was not accounted for...

back to the story of the house build which has went terribly wrong, last time i wrote was to tell you all that it was in the hands of the judge at the tribunal, who appointed a consulate to come to the house and report what he thinks is write or wrong in the house build, he apparently has 60 days in which to report back his findings to the judge, well he asked for an extension on these 60days(i don't know for how long)  which have now become 120 days, my lawyer phone him a couple of weeks ago(which my lawyer says he should really be phoning him) and he said it would be at the tribunal in the next few days but my lawyer went to the tribunal on Fri but the report was still not in, i phoned the lawyer and he says its not down to him and all we can do is wait unless we ask the judge to appoint someone else to do the report but that means more money and more time surly if the judge appoints someone they should report back within a reasonable time or else we could still be here at this same point next year any feedback would really be appreciated