Hi All,This is my first post but I'

Alex T Image
03/21/2018 - 07:19

Hi All,This is my first post but I've been following the site and forums for about 18 months and already discovered a wealth of information, so thanks..!We've recently purchased a small log cabin near Fivizanno in northern Tuscany, after 18 months of planning and looking. We want to fully re-wire the house and install a pellet boiler with 8 radiators (100m2 across 2 floors). We've so far been quoted an absolutely crazy figure of 22k euros to complete the work,which involves zero chasing out of the walls as the house is a log cabin - all wiring and pipework will be fixed to the existing wall and then covered by insulated board so the job is very simple. So the first question is, does anyone know of (preferably english speaking) an electrician and plumber in the Aulla/La Spezia kind of area?The second question is around plumbing. I'm a competant DIYer and have fitted many bathrooms, kitchens etc over the last 20 years so intend on completing as much of the work as I legally can. I'm contemplating taking most of the pipework and fittings from the UK (as I already have most of what I need) to save on cost but appreciate the change in pipework size may have an impact. Has anyone plumped an entire house with UK pipework (ie 22mm & 15mm for copper and 32/40mm for waste) and then just used an adapter at the cold water feed to the house? I also understand that the supply pressure is generally higher in Italy, but I don't see this having a major impact considering the small change in pipe diameter.If anyone has any suggestions or can help with local tradesmen I'd really appreciate it.Many thanks in advance.Alex 



Hi Alex,

Congrats on your purchase.

The below is based on my experiences in the south, assuming its the same up your way.

Yes 22k seems high. But without knowing all the details can't be certain what they've quoted on. If you are engaging a builder then there are all the beurocratic elements added in.

I would advise against bringing the pipework from UK. You will just end up having compatability issues. Your local builders merchants will stock all you need so go down and have a look. In Italy Plumbers tend to use manifolds to avoid doing any T's or soldering. Its a much better system and avoids unseen risks. So for the rads on 2 floors they would 'probably use 2 manifolds. 1 on each floor. Therefore main hot and cold go to manifold then branch out to each rad. Same for bathroom -main pipes go to manifold, then from manifold distribute to bidet, basin, W.C, shower, bath etc. In future if you have a problem with any of the fittings you just go to manifold and shut off the individual fitting. The copper and PEX comes in rolls and is quite flexible.

Electrics- where in UK your 2 and 3 core cabling runs all back to the main board, In italy they tend to use single core cable instead which run from various junction boxes (a bit like the manifold scenario). Therefore before any cables are run they will install conduit of various size throughout all linked back to the junction boxes and then later on feed through the single core cables into the conduit. Switching, sockets etc are much different to UK. ENEL will give you 3KW. You can pay extra if you want more. Eg. If you wanted to run a washing load and do some hoovering with your UK dyson forget it. The power will trip.

I would love to help you but I'm at the other end of Italy, so as HUGO has suggested please engage a Geometra and get works completed officially and through the correct channels. They are much more vigilant in Italy with building work and if you step out of line they will come down on you ' hard'.

I've been doing my place up for last 5 years and it has been a rollercoaster ride. I spent almost 20 years in UK in construction, so I can make direct comparisons.

Its been worth it for me and hope you settle in and enjoy it as well!

In reply to by italyprogetti

Hi, thanks so much for your post and also for correcting me on Hugo's name (apologies Hugo). The above all makes sense, I originally qualified as an elctrical engineer some 20+ years ago so have a reasonable understanding of the electrical side although it's (as you say) very different to the UK way of wiring. Thanks also for all the information on the plumbing side, the original quote we received did indeed include manifolds for both floors so that makes more sense now. I already have all the radiators from another build we did here in the UK so I'll take those over but leave the pipework and valves etc so as not to cause any compatability issues. From my research I believe the Italian radiator valves are also 1/2 inch (or metric equivalent) to 16mm so I presume the rads will be ok to use - do you know if this is correct?I want to buy as much of the parts and the labour from Italy as we want to support the local community as we intend on moving over completely in September this year, so the above is really helpful.Thanks again.! 

Hi Alex,

Sorry think it is 'UGO'. My phone auto corrected because I have friend called Hugo.

Rads should be OK, may need different valves depending on what pipework they use, but plumbers in Italy prefer to plumb in all on one side (low and high) rather than either side (ie low, low). So best to speak to the tradesman prior to commiting to bringing them over, but assume would be OK.

Good Luck. If you need further assistance send me an email on italyprogetti@gmail.com.

Hi Alex, my name is Johnny I live in Fivizzano, I am an English speaker and I work in the area as a Builder/Geometra, having several connections with plumbers and electricians who work with me.If you want me to come along and have a look at the work just contact me atlunigianabuilders@gmail.comyou will find my contacts and  more about what I do on my website:lunigianabuilders.com  https://www.lunigianabuilders.com/hope to be helpfulBest RegardsJohnny

Hi Johnny,That's great that you’re so close, our house is about 5 to 10 minutes past Fivizanno in Vendaso. I'm driving over next week and should arrive late Friday night, we'll be there for 1 week so if you're available it would be great if you could come over and have a look at some point during the week?Many thanksAlex