Building permits and licenses


How much is a building permit in Italy? Before answering this question let’s have a wider look at the whole scenario. It is not unusual for a foreigner desirous to invest in real estate in Italy to decide to purchase a property that needs to be renovated, partially rebuilt, or restored. Quite often, in fact, one can manage to get a very good deal owing to the fact that the property calls for renovation work. Or, in some instances, restoration is required to make the property suitable for the new owner’s specific needs and requirements.

Whichever the reason for the desired renovation being well aware, and understanding, the laws and rules implied is crucial. Building permits are one of the primary and essential issues to attend to. In addition to the Permesso di Costruire, i.e. Permit to Build – an administrative permit which allows building and/or demolition in compliance with the local municipality’s urbanistic plan – the two kinds of building permits most commonly used in Italy are the SCIA and the CILA. Both are qualifying applications that legitimize a building renovation and are generally adopted for the most “massive” types of building interventions.

Erecting a new building, building an elevation, closing a veranda up, or changing the property’s intended use are good examples of when these permits are required. This is because, as per current Italian and municipal legislation, substantial types of renovation and construction works are subject to permission and authorization before being carried out. In fact granting of the building permit strictly depends on the provisions contained in local regulations (land use plans, structural plans), and must necessarily be carried out in compliance with the standing national, regional and municipal laws and regulations.

building permit in italy

Building permit in Italy: what is the SCIA and the CILA

The SCIA, acronym of the Italian Segnalazione Certificata di Inizio Attività, i.e. Certified Start of Activity Report, is a simplified administrative authorization issued by the municipality in charge. Basically the document acknowledges the right to proceed in the required renovation or restoration work on a property. 

The SCIA is commonly used to allow:

  • substantial maintenance work that involves the building’s structure  
  • restoring and conservative maintenance works that involve the building’s structure  
  • renovation which may imply changes in the volume, height or shape of buildings which are subject to limits

The CILA, acronym of Comunicazione Inizio Lavori Asseverata, meaning Authenticated Communication of the Beginning of the Modifications, is used for minor building and renovating interventions.

Building permits in Italy: the main code and the related laws

According to Art. 10 of the Italian Building Code (Testo Unico dell’Edilizia), the works subject to building permits are:

  • a) new construction works;
  • b) urban restructuring interventions;
  • c) building renovation interventions that lead to creating building spaces totally or partially different from the previous ones, in cases where they also involve changes in the overall volume of the buildings or which, limited to the buildings included in homogeneous zones A, involve changes in the destination of use, as well as interventions that involve changes in the outline or overall volume of buildings or property prospects subject to protection pursuant to the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape referred to in Legislative Decree 22 January 2004, n. 42.

Zone A means the historic center, or in any case, the areas in which the buildings have a historical, artistic or particular environmental value. The area is indicated in the urban planning instruments.

According to art. 14 of the Italian Building Code, the building construction permit, notwithstanding the general urban planning instruments, is issued exclusively for public buildings and facilities or of public interest, following a resolution of the municipal council, in compliance with the provisions contained in the legislative decree of 29 October 1999, n. 490, and other sector regulations affecting the regulation of building activity. The request for a building permit in derogation is also allowed for building renovation interventions, subject to a resolution of the City Council which certifies the public interest, limited to the purposes of urban regeneration, containment of land consumption and social and urban recovery of the settlement, without prejudice, in the case of commercial settlements, to the provisions of article 31, paragraph 2, of the decree-law of 6 December 2011, n. 201, converted, with amendments, by law 22 December 2011, n. 214.

The Building Permit Application comprises the terms of commencement and completion of the building interventions. The deadline for the start of the works cannot be more than one year from the submission of the application. The deadline for completion, i.e. the date within which the work must be completed, cannot exceed three years from the beginning of the works.

Applications are processed in order of submission at the competent Municipality office and, within 60 days of submission, the applicant formulates a “Provision proposal”. Within the same deadline, the Municipality officer may request that the attached documentation be integrated or that the project modified. Any additions must be made within the following 15 days and the deadline for issuing the proposed provision is suspended till then.

The final and definitive measure is issued and notified to the applicant within 30 days from the issue of the “Proposed measure”.

So, do not ask how much is a building permit in Italy. Contact us and give us more detailed information in order to get a price range.

Our Services

Our group of professionals architects, surveyors and specialized technicians proficient in building regulations and local bureaucracy can easily evaluate the best working permit application to be submitted for each specific property, facilitating the procedures and ensuring smooth logistics. 

What we can do for you includes:

  • prepare a Provisional Plan in order to draft a SCIA that can match the request of the rules as stated by the competent Municipality Office;
  • deal with local Public Officers and schedule video-meetings;
  • evaluate the future works on the property in order to verify whether these can be carried out according to, and in compliance with, the applicable Municipality Regulation;
  • draft a project based on your specific needs and submit a budget estimate of the future renovation work;
  • draft a purchase offer, conditioned upon the attainment of the permits to carry out  the changes you wish to make on the property;

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