We still don’t have the final permission to construct the house, as the approval process has been lengthened by the October earthquakes. But we’ve still been able to work on the road and start excavation.
I’ll let Kevin explain where we stand:
The only ‘issue’ at the moment is that the town offices continue to delay release of the permission to construct which was due in our hands [two weeks ago]. This is due to the earthquakes and has nothing to do with our particular project, but is a general slowdown across all non-emergency projects. We did advise them that we were proceeding with the road and the excavations. They had no issue with this. On Monday they issued a special order for all projects presented in the last 120 days, asking for additional structural and geological calculations and analyses. We have the structural piece done and immediately available as part of the original work. The geologist is preparing the additional info required and that will be in Jimmy’s [the geometra] hands tomorrow for immediate submission. With the final paper in hand we can begin executing a contract. In the interim we continue to work on the road and excavations.
So, for now, merrily we roll along.
We received the final, formal Permesso di Costruire today. So now all we need is a final budget with all the details (the computo metrico) and we can sign the construction contracts.
The earthmoving equipment is doing its job. Let’s get an update and look at some pictures.
Kevin reports: “The road is MUCH improved in terms of grade, width, and overall ease of transit. Various vehicles have had no problem getting to the site.”
Now that there is easier access to the site, work has begun excavating for the base of the foundation. A lot of earth needs to be moved, since the plot is on a downhill slope. Some of what’s dug out is moved down the hill, creating a series of levels on the property.
Here are some photos of the road and excavation. (You can click on an image to enlarge it.)
In the original rough floor plan, we had a laundry and utility room adjoining the stairway on the ground floor. This left a nice-sized closet underneath the stairs.
Kevin asked the geometra to do a more precise layout of the laundry/utility to include the needed utilities and mechanicals. Besides the water heater, these include some of the elements related to the underfloor heating and the renewable energy system.
The first layout he drew included all the key elements, those above, plus a washer, dryer, and space for counters and storage cabinets. The problem, as I saw it, was that we had lost the closet under the stairs to some of the technical apparatus.
As I looked at the plan, I noticed that the space under the bottom part of the stairway wasn’t being used. While this is a triangular space that only gets about 5 feet high at maximum under the landing, I thought maybe something could go there. So I asked Kevin to look into it.
He returned from the geometra with a much-improved plan. It restored at least a coat-closet-sized space and gave us some extra storage space. And he did it by using that space under the stairs for the photovoltaic converter and for some elements of the underfloor heating system.
Giovanna and I had a Skype call this morning to discuss the construction contract. I had sent her Kevin’s draft and all the relevant materials I had: the floor plan, the site plan, and the budget. In Kevin’s draft, it referred to a Directory of Works, but I wasn’t sure just what that means in Italy, Was there more than what we had received? Whatever the practice is in Italy, I was going to require more details before starting a project that will cost about 500,000€.
Her advice was just what I wanted to hear: we need more detailed specifications before we can sign the contract. So if I needed support for my position, I had it.
She said there are two types of building contracts in use: Chiave in mano, what we would call “turnkey”, or a looser arrangement based on a cost-plus method. We clearly want the first.
In this arrangement, we get a detailed budget and a final price for each contractor or supplier, accompanied by a detailed description of the work to be done, called a computo metrico.
We have been working intensively with Kevin over the last two weeks to work out the details of the overall construction, the pool, and the windows. We’re pretty much set on what we’d like to have.
The next step is for Kevin to give us the budget and computo metrico. I’m sure that will lead to some changes, as we work to keep the budget under control.