Complete guide to free construction 2024: here are the jobs you can do without asking for permits


Emma Potter

What is meant by free construction? With the term free construction reference is made to all construction interventions for which it is not necessary to request authorizations from the Municipality and/or other qualifications from the relevant bodies in order to carry out such works.

This is what the Consolidated Construction Law (Presidential Decree 380/2001 with subsequent amendments, such as Legislative Decree 222/2016).

This means that the works considered to be free construction are exempt from the obligation to submit the CILA and of SCIA and obtaining the Permission to build.

CILA is the acronym for Asseverated Communication of the Start of Work. This document must be sent to the relevant municipality before starting work.
It concerns extraordinary maintenance interventions that do not imply a structural modification to the building.

The SCIA (Certified Report of Start of Activity) is mandatory when intervening on the structural parts of a building and therefore if the works that will be carried out imply a change at the structural level of the building itself.
In this case the owner of the property must send the SCIA to the SUAP (One-Stop Shop for Productive Activities) of the Municipality and can do so exclusively electronically.

The building permit is essential when the works will generate a variation in the shape and volume of the building, in particular if it involves an increase.
This authorization is issued when the building intervention is considered compliant with current urban planning regulations and the relevant legislation, including primarily those relating to safety in the workplace, as indicated in the Consolidated Law on Security Legislative Decree 81/2008.

What interventions fall within free construction?

These are the interventions that fall within the scope of ordinary maintenancei.e. the repair, renovation and replacement works of building finishes or those necessary for the good maintenance of pre-existing technological systems.

By technological systems we mean heating, air conditioning, water-sanitary, ventilation, electrical, flue or fireplace systems.

Below are the categories into which the 2024 free construction works are divided:

  • ordinary maintenance: the building interventions described above;
  • installation of heat pumps with nominal useful thermal power less than 12 kW;
  • elimination of architectural barriers that do not involve the construction of external elevators or other structures that modify the shape of the building;
  • temporary works for underground research activities provided that they are carried out in areas outside the built-up centre;
  • seasonal mobile greenhouses, therefore without masonry structures, used for agricultural activities;
  • works aimed at satisfying temporary needs and, consequently, intended to be removed within a period not exceeding 90 days and communicated in advance to the municipal administration;
  • installation of solar panelsphotovoltaic, for the benefit of the buildings, in compliance with any architectural or historical constraints.

The main interventions included in free construction 2024

Below we list the main construction works that can be carried out in free construction in 2024, i.e. which do not require a building permit, either from CILA or SCIA.

  • Demolition and reconstruction of floorsplaster or partitions to replace them in the same place as the originals;
  • replacement of internal doors and fixtures;
  • painting of internal and external walls. As regards buildings with architectural constraints, specific authorization must be obtained from the Superintendence in advance;
  • replacement of water heater or radiators;
  • repair of the fence around the building;
  • installation of awnings;
  • repair or replacement of chimney;
  • replacement of sanitary fixtures;
  • maintenance toelectrical, heating or gas system;
  • installation or replacement of intercomsvideo intercoms, antennas, camerascurtains, railings, parapets, gatesfences, gutters, window sills, tiles;
  • repair or replacement of sewer pipesprovided that without making changes to the route or dimensions of the pipes;
  • elimination of architectural barriers (excluding the construction of elevators or other works that change the volume of the building);
  • construction or repair of water collection tanks;
  • maintenance of rusty rebar;
  • installation of solar panels and photovoltaic systemsserving the buildings (excluding those located in zone A or in the historic city centre);
  • installation of antenna/dish or other reception and transmission systems;
  • creation of temporary parking areas;
  • garden furniture (masonry barbecue, fountain, sculpture, planter, masonry bench);
  • repair or replacement of chimney caps or roof terminals of smoke extraction systems;
  • false ceilings;
  • installation/removal of non-masonry vertical dividing elements, including purely ornamental ones;
  • gazebos not firmly fixed to the ground;
  • installation, maintenance or renovation of children's games and play spaces in general, including fencing;
  • installation, repair or energy efficiency of air conditioning systems;
  • gas distribution systems;
  • ordinary maintenance, integration or efficiency improvement of the electrical system;
  • ordinary maintenance, integration or efficiency improvement of fume extraction systems;
  • ordinary maintenance, integration or efficiency improvement of hygiene and sanitary systems;
  • ordinary maintenance, integration or efficiency improvement of external lighting systems;
  • ordinary maintenance, integration or efficiency improvement of fire protection systems;
  • maintenance or renovation of railings or other anti-intrusion systems;
  • construction, new installation or maintenance, as well as implementation and compliance of points of charging for electric vehicles;
  • access ramps (with the aim of eliminating architectural barriers);
  • storage rooms for tools as long as they are items of limited size and are mobile, i.e. not permanently fixed to the ground;
  • installation or repair or improvement of bars, separators, deterrents of various kinds;
  • repair, replacement for renovation (without changing the volume) of stairs internal/external;
  • repair, replacement of retractable ladders and furniture;
  • internal and external windows and doors: maintenance, repair or replacement;
  • among the temporary works (therefore subject to prior notification of the start of work): installation, maintenance, repair and finally removal of portable toilets;
  • construction, repair, maintenance, replacement of stairlifts and similar equipment to eliminate architectural barriers;
  • installation, repair, replacement, renovation of awnings, pergola awnings;
  • construction, repair, ordinary maintenance or modernization of water collection tank.

Requirements for free construction works

Depending on the type of intervention, in some cases it is necessary to prepare and present the document in advance communication of start of work.

With this documentation, the owner of the property subject to the works informs the technical office of the Municipality where the building is located, providing all the information relating to the works that will be carried out.

Regardless of whether or not the Municipality requests the presentation of the Notice of Commencement of Works, it must always be kept in mind that in any case all building interventions must be carried out in full compliance with the provisions of municipal urban planning instruments and what is established by current legislation that regulates this sector.

The fundamental aspects that must be guaranteed during and after the implementation of the aforementioned works are: anti-seismic standards, safety standards in the workplace, fire prevention standards, health and hygiene standards, observation of the parameters established regarding the energy efficiency of buildings, protection from hydrogeological risk, compliance with any constraints established by the cultural heritage and landscape code or architectural or historical limitations.

Free construction works 2024 and tax breaks due

By accessing the following link from the Revenue Agency it is possible to find complete and detailed information regarding the tax breaks currently in force from which the taxpayer can benefit based on the type of interventions carried out.

Generally speaking, taxpayers can deduct Irpef in their annual tax return to the extent of 50% of the expenses incurred. This measure is in force and concerns expenses incurred up to December 31, 2024.

The maximum spending limit established for each property is equal to 96 thousand euros.

Attention: the percentage of Irpef allowed as a deduction will change to 30% starting from 2028 and until 2033. Furthermore, the next budget law will most likely not extend the current percentage of 50%, on the contrary, the original one, which was 36%, will be restored. This with effect starting from 1 January 2025.

The other major variable is the maximum deductible expense limits. The current limit for each property is set at 96 thousand euros but unfortunately this sum will be practically halved starting from 1 January 2025.

From that date, in fact, the new maximum spending limit for each building will drop to 48 thousand euros.

However, as regards the works carried out for the implementation of interventions aimed at enhancing the seismic resilience of properties, the portion of Irpef deducted is higher: 85% and it is currently possible to benefit from it until 31 December 2024.

These measures are summarized in the so-called Bonus earthquake.