My wife and I are from the US citizens and

01/01/2023 - 10:52

My wife and I are from the US citizens and have recently purchased a property in Piedmont near Moncalvo. We are in the process of engaging a local architect to help us with the restoration and renovation of the property. Would appreciate any insight from anyone here with experience in this area, What should be watching out for when negotiating a contract with this individual; checking references; reviewing his quote etc.?



I'd suggest you use a local Geometra rather than an Architect  - Geometras are less architecturally qualified, but have more "hands on " knowledge. They are also less expensive.  I have found them great on advising the practicalities of building restoration and refurbishment.

Geometras also prepare all drawings and make the submission to the Comune. And they supervise the works.

Choose by recommendation from locals, although your Estate Agent may also be able to give you some names.

Ask to see some of their work - drawings and actual properties.

Whichever you use - it must be local, as they understand how the Comune works, and what they like and what won't be accepted.

Hi Surajit,

I think you are doing the right things – check up, if you can, on the architects past projects, it is ideal if you can contact previous clients and speak to them. Architects by law needs to supply you will a fee offer which is broken down into the various Services that they will carry out on your behalf – from preliminary Design to applying for Permissions to Direzione dei Lavori (site supervision) each with an individual price, which you can discuss with them to understand in detail.

I am also an Architect. I obviously do not agree with Alan h’s suggestion to use a local Geometra – unless you project is quite small. Why invest your time and money on a local Geometra, if your project is important to you. An architect is more qualified – more emphasis on creativity and not necessarily more expensive – obviously if you go to an Architect with a studio of 20 people – they will cost more than one with a small office to maintain. But bear in mind that Architects and Geometras use exactly the same fee structure to calculate their fees (Tariffa Legge 140_2012). It is simply not true that Geometras are cheaper. But by all means ask a Geometra to give you a fee offer, but bear in mind that one of the most important aspects in choosing an Architect or Geometra  is to ensure you have good chemistry, where it feels natural discussing ideas and getting to know the nature and spirit of your project. We always emphasize the generation of ideas with the client – often clients are surprised with the resulting design ideas, not believing the design approach would have been possible prior to the design development.

Also as for what Alan h says that you must use someone local - as they understand how the Comune work etc.  I work in many different areas and Comuni, as long as they are within a 2 hour car drive distance from my base in Milan. I have never had any problem in obtaining Permissions. It really sounds like a medieval situation where you can only use local people who understand the territory. I think Italy is a modern country, even in the smallest Comuni. All the Comuni in Italy must abide by the same general rules, plus since Covid the vast majority are online with submissions via a digital platform making the submission of the many documents easier and introducing a more standardized system. Of course it is obvious that you should meet the Tecnico of the Comune and discuss in detail the project you want to carry out with an understanding of local traditions, construction techniques and rules - but it is equally obvious that the same Tecnico will not throw their hands up in horror when they realize they are dealing with an architect who is not from the local area, on the contrary they are usually happy to deal with new professional as long as correct procedures are followed – which is not difficult as it is not exactly “rocket science”.

By all means consider Architects for you refurbishment project and if it is not too late contact me to discuss your project.

All the Best,