Reconstruction with and without demolition

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09/03/2012 - 19:38

I know there are some experts out there so grateful for views on the following. My Geometra tells me that building regs require a structural engineer's report and a gelogist's report for a reconstruction which involves partial demolition. However, he also tells me that as he knows the relevant professionals he can dispense with these formal reports - of course there is a fee payable to him in lieu of what I would have paid to the geologist and structural engineer and apparently I avoid paying construction fees to the Comune. My question is whether this suggested course leaves me exposed to fines or pena;lties from the Comune and, in a more worrying situation, without recourse to professionals who should have assured the quality and appropriateness of the structure? I understand that the law can be fluid but this is something for which I want to understand the longer-term risks as well as the suggested short-term saving on multiple professional fees. We are in Le Mrche, Fermo Province.Thanks for views based on technical experience/knowledge.



Perhaps there is a misunderstanding and he is subcontracting those reports himself? If they are a formal requirement, a geometra cannot replace a geologist or an structural engineer. A nurse cannot sign a medical certificate. As simple as that.

Sounds very dodgy to me too, Marche is very strict on building regs, and the commune will                          notice that works are being carried out without a formal agreement and the relevant paperwork being submitted....perhaps it is a misunderstanding?

If your partial reconstruction involves foundations, higher building than previoulsy etc, you will need a geologist report to comply with the new antiseismic laws.  WIthout this you will not get abitabilità nor collaudo.   I agree - ask him to put it all in writing, and see how quick he scarpers. 

Firstly, it may be fishy, but it may equally be a relatively risk-free way to save you money. You do need a geologist's report and a full structural report if you are going to demolish and rebuild a part of your building - that's clear. But, if you are going to rebuild exactly the same as you have now, who is going to know it is a full rebuild rather than a tart-up? For certain levels of permission you do not require the reports, and if your geometra thinks he can do the work on a cheaper permission he could be giving you money saving advice on the following basis. There are no such animals as building inspectors (in the UK sense, people with your drawings who come and poke their noses in while you are buiilding), and there is little liaison between ASL or the Vigili who might stop by to check on site safety and the technical office of the comune who have seen the drawings. Your major risk lies in a neighbour spotting that you've demolished some of the house, checking with the comune that you have the correct level of permission to do this, finding you haven't and blowing the whistle. (Believe me, this happens very frequently, and not only to 'foreigners') Basically, although the risk is slight, I'd tell the geometra that you'd rather pay up and be totally above board about it all. (Some geometras have the qualification and authority to prepare the reports themselves, but it isn't common). Secondly, I'm really concerned that you think that by having these reports you'll have anything useful as a guarantee that the building will stand up! It probably will, but in the unlikely event of something going wrong you'll find it almost impossible and almost certainly too expensive to get any redress.

Thanks for your replies which tend to confirm my initial thoughts. And indeed, in the ongoing email conversation between the geometra and me, he has confirmed that my circumstances definitely require the reports. As I write an email has popped in from him confirming that his 'solution' was designed to save me money but is not legal. Has avoided answering my questions on whom is responsible for fines etc in the event that the Comune uncover his plan after the event. I understand that the combined professional costs are iro €2500 and geometra suggests needing to pay the comune for oneri di costruzione - no idea how much these are. Anyone know if it's cents, hundreds, thousands? Thanks again.

I agree with the posters above, it is not worth cutting corners. When we unfortunately found ourselves subject of a denuncia, one of the first things we had to produce was the documentation for the house and everything was gone over with a fine toothed comb. We were very glad then that our geometra had taken all the steps properly, up to and including abitabilità and registering the house with the correct castastral values. We were absolved, and our neighbour (after a further appeal) had to pay all costs. It was in the tens of thousands of euros. "oneri di costruzione" translates as "costs of construction" - would on the face of it be strange to pay to the comune. There are costs for the permissions and change of use (payable to the comune), maybe that's what he means? We found our Chief Technical Officer at the comune very approachable, we could go there and discuss our plans, options available and he was very open to our reconstruction. Additionally,  in the future,  you may be in the position of selling the house. Then you can be sure you will be glad you did all the steps correctly. Good luck with your project, it is all worth it in the end.

Thanks for earlier posts and comments. The broad consensus validated our thoughts and indeed said Geom has openly admitted that his recommendation was not correct. We have relevant professionals waiting in the wings but ... does €3k for structural calcs (ex IVA) plus a further quote expected from a second structural engineer for final testing (guessing at €2-3K) read as within normal expectations. Building in question is an old (i.e. not compliant with current regs) domestic single storey 14m x 3m unit to be demolished and rebuilt, sited on a low lying flat plain. Minor drainage issues from run-off which will be resolved with culverts. Appreciate posters can't be precise but wondered whether €5-6k reads as high? Thanks folks.

I don't know how good your Italian is but I think a visit to the Chief Planning Officer, the "Tecnico", as you've been advised above, is a very good idea. I visited ours before we bought our place, just to make sure what developements I had in mind would gain approval. It's a good thing to do in the UK too & you can get lots of good advice that they would not be prepared to commit to paper. Mention names & watch the body language. So often in Italy everyone is in each others pockets but, because the Tecnico is not part of the political appointments, the risk of being given biased advice is low. Ours always gave me really down to earth & friendly advice, would occasionally drop in with a colleague to admire the view & have a coffee, became one of the mates in the local bars, even dancing with my wife at a local Festa. If your Italian isn't so good, or if you lack the confidence, try & enlist the help of a neighbour or another local & take him along with you. Take him out for lunch after. Furbezza rules in Italy, not least among Geometras who can be the scum of the earth & are famously known for viewing Britts as "chickens ripe for plucking". Watch your step. Pilch