Mezzanine: do you always need a building permit?


Emma Potter

The question of mezzanines and the need to obtain building permits to achieve them is a theme that frequently recurs in the urban planning and legal debate.

A recent ruling by the Salerno Regional Administrative Court has brought attention to this topic, offering food for thought and important clarifications on which works require specific authorisations, especially in the context of a change of intended use from commercial to residential premises.

There ruling 1681/2023 sheds light on the criteria that determine the need for a building permit, distinguishing between significant structural changes and minor interventions, as in the case of a small mezzanine. This article examines the ruling and its implications for property owners and industry professionals.

The Case in Consideration and the TAR Decisions

The sentence issued by the Salerno Regional Administrative Court specifically concerned the case of a change of intended use with the addition of a small mezzanine, a topic that has attracted interest due to its legal and urban planning ramifications. The context of the debate was a work carried out without a building permit, considered illegal by the municipal authority.

This case stands out for its dual nature: on the one hand, it raises issues relating to the change of intended use, both with and without the construction of works; on the other, it emphasizes the specificity of the mezzanine as a building intervention.

The TAR assessed the legitimacy of the municipal provision in relation to transformation from commercial to residential useidentifying a violation in the failure to obtain the necessary building permit for such a change.

The decision underlined how, based on the Consolidated Building Act and the relevant regional provisions, the change of intended use which involves the transition between functionally autonomous categories requires a building permit, even in the absence of works.

Small mezzanines

The Salerno Regional Administrative Court ruling has important implications for the construction sector, especially in terms of interpretation of the regulations relating to mezzanines and changes of intended use. The distinction made by the TAR between works that require a building permit and interventions considered minor is fundamental to understanding the limits within which owners and designers can operate.

For what concern change of intended use, the ruling reiterates that any variation that involves the transition between functionally different categories requires a building permit. This principle applies regardless of the construction of building works, highlighting the urban planning and contributory relevance of the different intended uses.

This interpretation aims to preserve the urban balance and correct functionality of urban spaces, ensuring that each transformation complies with current regulations.

In relation to mezzaninecentral element of the dispute, the TAR clarified that not all works of this type require a building permit.

The decision highlights that i modest-sized mezzanineswhich do not significantly alter the structure or useful surface area of ​​the property and do not introduce an additional urban planning burden, can be built without specific authorizations.

This opens up the possibility of intervening on internal spaces with greater flexibility, as long as the changes comply with the criteria established by jurisprudence.

This distinction is essential for professionals in the sector, who must carefully evaluate the characteristics of the planned works to determine the need for building permits. The ruling provides clear guidance on how to approach projects that include mezzanines or changes of use, emphasizing the importance of planning in compliance with regulations to avoid fines and legal challenges.

Conclusion: the relevance of the ruling in building and urban planning practice

Ruling 1681/2023 of the Salerno Regional Administrative Court represents an important point of reference in the debate on the regulation of mezzanines and changes of intended use in the construction and urban planning sector. By offering a clear distinction between works that require a building permit and those considered minor, the ruling provides sector operators with valuable legal guidance for the planning and implementation of interventions on properties.

The need to adapt to current regulations, correctly interpreting the cases in which building permission is required, emerges as a fundamental principle to avoid sanctions and disputes. At the same time, the TAR's decision highlights the possibility of making the most of existing spaces through minimal interventions, without incurring excessive bureaucratic obligations, as long as such modifications are in line with the criteria established by jurisprudence.

This ruling also highlights the importance of collaboration between sector professionals, local authorities and property owners to ensure that every intervention contributes positively to the quality of urban space, respecting the functional and contributory needs of the community.