Property Organiser is the ultimate one-stop shop for buying an Italian property.
That means we can also help you throughout the process of refurbishing your new home in Italy or taking on a full restoration project, wherever in Italy the property is - be it Tuscany, Liguria, Puglia, Abruzzo, Marches, Sicily or any other region.
Property Organiser team includes architects, geometras and building engineers, allowing us to offer assistance throughout the entire process - from an initial consultation to design, from planning and project management to tendering, building and obtaining all the necessary certificates.
We can assist you whether you have bought your home through us, using our unmatched property-finding service, or whether you have your property already
Because we recognise that the idea of overseeing a renovation from afar - or even a small refurbishment or improvement project - can be an unnerving thought for overseas buyers, the Property Organiser can also take care of this for you. We offering not just a personal point of contact that speaks your language, but local knowledge allied to vast experience in dealing with customers from every corner of the world.
What we can do for you:
* Preliminary consultation either via phone, Skype or face-to-face in our offices to understand your requirements
* Feasibility study
* Preliminary survey
* Advising on necessary applications
* Design and architectural drawings/rendering
* Applying for planning permission
* Preparing a working plan, evaluations, submission of projects to the appropriate authorities
* Ensuring compliance with health, safety and construction rules and obtaining necessary certification
* Construction and accounting supervision
* Project management
* Assistance in English (or another language, if required).
Our fees vary depending on the amount of work required.
We aim to collaborate and to work with local firms and suppliers without adding any extra fees to our clients.
We will also help you keep your costs under control by providing estimates as early as possible and well planned designs. Our architects will work with you at the outset to decide on plans and designs. Please note that changing your mind once building has started can often see costs run out of control.
We would also advise that you put aside a contingency sum to cope with any unforeseen circumstances.
Whether you plan to restore, renovate or refurbish your property in Italy, there is always a local order in which renovation work should be planned.
Preparing a plan is always very useful to estimate costs and a time schedule for your restoration.
A common situation is to complete renovation work including re-plastering and decoration, only to discover that the whole place is riddled with rising damp and in need of an injected damp-proof course, involving removing the new plastering!
What to consider:
1. Assess the Building's Condition
The first stage of any renovation project is to get a detailed assessment of the current condition of the property. If you have not instructed a geometra or technician for a home report valuation/ survey before purchasing your home (or you might have been the owner of the property for already several years), a building report would be required.
The report will reveal the type of construction of the house across different parts of the building - and this is important as it will affect the type and extent of any work that can be made and materials and techniques to be used.
Additionally, the report will assess, not just the works required, but also whether the building is compliant to urban planning or if there are any other aspects to be considered e.g. infestation, subsidence or heave, damp or drainage problems.
2. Apply for permission
At the earliest possible stage, you should identify which part of your proposed renovation project requires an official consent. You need to know whether the work requires:
* planning permission at local authority level, region level or above
* building regulations approval (for the structure, hygiene, access, electrics, fuel, glazing etc.)
* listed building consent
* engineer report
* aerial photographs dating back to 1967 or earlier
Sometimes applications can take several months and this may influence your decision on which works to undertake.
3. Preparing work condition
While all consents are taken care of, it may be necessary to make sure that there is a supply of water - if there was one it may have been disconnected - and electricity for power tools, possibly using a temporary meter box depending upon the condition of any existing wiring.
4. Demolition and Clearance/Waste removal
When it is time to undertake any demolition work that is required and to strip the building back to the part that is to be kept, you should consider to restore, treat or clean the material that can be re-used and therefore store somewhere safe.
If the demolition works are extensive and you do not plan to reuse that material, you may find some companies interested in purchasing them (particularly well maintained terracotta tiles) - this could save time and effort, and potentially raise some cash, too.
5. Humidity issues
Most of the buildings in Italy are more than 80-100 years old so it is likely to have solid walls (as opposed to modern cavity walls). These are either built in brick, stone, oak frame, clay etc. or even tuff rock. Such buildings often suffer from humidity problems, although in many cases the problems are the result of modern changes in the following years.
Although there are no building regulations on damp treatment, it is important to deal with this issue at the earliest as it could require just a simple damp treatment or often the problem can be solved during the restoration work using non-invasive methods such as improving ground drainage around the property, lowering the external ground level, improving ventilation and even just getting the heating back on.
Damp is often caused from condensation within a building. The solution is to improve ventilation, and to ensure that the building can breathe by reinstating lime in place of impermeable cement in plaster, mortar and render.
6. Check Drains/Service Connections
At this stage, it is a good idea to check that the existing drains are in working order.
7. Plan Access/Site Layout
Amalfi coast is known for its many steps (often over 100) to reach the front door, Liguria for its hilly tracks with no car access, and anyway the most beautiful properties may have restricted access. So, it is a good idea to plan ahead, check what percentage or extra costs would need to be considered on top of the renovation costs, and get any large items or machinery in for landscaping, before access is further obstructed by new building work and stored materials.
8. Major Structural Work
Any major building work can now take place as the existing building is stable and there is no danger of concealing problems or having to undo work to get to the original building. All new work must comply with the newest Building Regulations, including anti-seismic construction whether you are or not in a seismic area.
In an older property, it is a good idea to consider rewiring the entire property and to budget for this, as the Building Regulations now require all wiring to meet the current regulations and this is a legal requirement to be able to certify the work.
9. Make your property weathertight
Once the roof structure is complete, the structure should be made weathertight and to secure the building.
Doors and windows can also now be installed or openings should be covered in plastic sheets.
10. Landscaping work
Landscaping work to form the drive, paths, beds and lawns can be undertaken at almost any point in the project, providing it can be protected from damage by the building work. Most people wait until they are ready to move in. Do not lay the final drive finish until all heavy vehicles and skips have finally left site.
11. Internal works
With the building all but completed externally, it is time to focus on work inside. This can start as soon as the roof is covered.
Re-wiring and plumbing work can be undertaken, including soil pipes and drainage connections.
At this stage everything that will later be concealed by plaster needs to be installed, so if interested in alarms, speakers or any other home automation equipment.
After the works, it is expected that some small problems may arise over the ensuing months.
It is important to fix them as they are noticed. If the defects are not the builders' fault, like for instance plaster cracks, tradesmen may ask for payment but if you used a main contractor, they should return and resolved any defects as part of their fees.
Fees charged by architects vary very significantly, fees are commonly quoted as being between 8% and 15%.
However, fees are entirely dependent on the nature of the project, and it will also depend on what is included.
Generally speaking, large new build projects attract much lower percentage fees than small works to existing buildings, commercial work attracts lower fees than private residential work, works to historic or listed buildings attract higher fees still and so on.
Fees will vary based on:
The architect (a 'famous' architect may charge more than an 'unknown').
The type, size and complexity of building required.
The location of the of the project.
The amount of bespoke design required.
The level of service required (from basic planning drawings, through to a full design service, site inspection).
* Building costs
* Utilities connections
* Planning permission
* Local authority's charges (in particular if the property is a conversion of a ruin or agricultural building in to a residential dwelling)
You may also need:
* Geologist report
* Structural calculations by engineer
* Historic aerial imagery
* Other specific reports due to the location or type of building
It is important to shop around and compare fees but attempting to save money by driving fees down can be a mistake.
Fees represent a small part of the whole-life costs of a project, but poor design can have a long lasting and expensive impact