VEPA and checks: no indication in the Salva-Casa


Emma Potter

VEPA: the three levels of verification

These checks must concern three levelsThe first of which it is the installation location in the building, i.e. overhanging balconies, loggias and porticos within the building; moreover, the reference to the need to guarantee “the healthiness of domestic interior spaces”, contained in the standard, means that the panoramic windows concern only residential buildings and the its installation cannot take place in buildings with a different purpose.

The second level must concern the structural characteristics required by the cited standard; we remember, in fact, that:

  • the material must be transparent: therefore, not only the classic glass but also appropriately treated plastic materials (for example, plexiglass) to allow clear vision from and to the outside; this means, obviously, it will not be possible to use opaque, satin or “mirror” glass (that is, which allows you to see outwards but not vice versa);
  • the windows must be removable, i.e. they must slide on guides and tracks that allow them to easily “return” towards the external wall or towards the ceiling; or, they must be simply detachable from pre-established support points or structured with a “package” opening;
  • a new, permanently closed environment must not be created following the installation of removable windows, resulting in a new volume and new surface, nor can a new useful surface be created from an accessory surface;
  • natural micro-aeration must take place which allows the circulation of a constant flow of ventilation to guarantee the healthiness of the domestic internal spaces: this means that it will be necessary to provide holes, mini-grills or slots useful for this purpose;
  • a reduction in visual impact and apparent bulk must be encouragedwithout modifying the pre-existing architectural lines (this last requirement could also explain the need for the windows to be totally transparent): consequently, there cannot be a particularly invasive support structure.

It is clear that this last aspect could well lend itself to subjective evaluationsoften a harbinger of divergences between interested parties (think, for example, of the classic example of a condominium).

In third level must concern compliance with the purposes of panoramic windows, indicated by the standard:

  • perform temporary functions of protection from atmospheric agents,
  • contribute to improvement of acoustic and energy performancewith reduction of heat losses,
  • make one possible partial waterproofing from rainwater from balconies projecting from the body of the building or from loggias/porticos within the building.

Since this is a free building activity, the installation of panoramic windows does not require a qualification: this means that, normally, there is neither the presentation of a CILA or a SCIA and, therefore, the certification is not foreseen.

Nonetheless, the installation must comply with all relevant building/urban planning regulations and, primarilythe provisions contained in urban planning instruments and building regulations: think, for example, of the classic hypothesis in which the PRG provides for a ban on installation in certain areas of the territory (typically, the historic centre) or the need to acquire a landscape title .

Even in the case of free building activity, however, the general rule applies according to which the owner, in exercising his jus aedificandimust comply with all relevant regulations, bearing the negative consequences of any illegitimate behavior (financial sanctions and demolitions).

The tests: the two possible hypotheses

Consider carrying out checks as part of the general verification activity of the territory ex art. 27 of the Consolidated Construction Law it's a difficult solution to implementbecause of objective operational difficulties; suffice it to say that some windows may not be noticed when installed in the loggias inside the building and that the lack of personnel does not allow effective control.

Without mentioning that the evaluation of the characteristics would impose a inspection and technical checks.

A second hypothesis could be that of operate at a regulatory levelproviding, for example, that the installation must be preceded by some fulfillmentwhat is the communication and/or filing of documentation from which the technical characteristics of the windows can be deduced (documentation, obviously, to be provided by the installer) and/or the filing of an appraisal by a qualified technician (think, for example, of the aspect of improving acoustic and energy performance) or atechnical certification: in this way, there would be a first documentary element of evaluation from which to plan subsequent checks by the technical office.

It is true that the installation of VE.PA. is considered free but, since theart. 6 imposes the compliance with building regulationsa regulatory provision must be considered permitted which provides for proportionate obligations and which can facilitate the activities of the office, including verification ones.


(1) According to the aforementioned uniform definitions, the portico is a “covered building element on the ground floor of the buildings, interspersed with columns or pillars open on one or more sides towards the external fronts of the building” (n. 39).
(2) According to the uniform definitions approved in the Agreement of 20 October 2016 between the Government, Regions and Municipalities concerning the adoption of the standard building regulation, the balcony is a “practicable building element open on at least two sides, with a horizontal overhang, equipped with a railing or parapet and directly accessible from one or more internal rooms” (n. 35).
(3) According to the uniform definitions set out in note 1, the lodge is a “practicable covered building element, not projecting, open on at least one front, equipped with railing or parapet, directly accessible from one or more internal rooms” (n. 37).
(4) 1. Without prejudice to the provisions of the municipal planning instruments, and in any case in compliance with other sector regulations having an impact on the regulation of construction activity and, in particular, the anti-seismic, safety, fire prevention, hygiene-sanitary regulations, those relating to energy efficiency, protection from hydrogeological risk, as well as the provisions contained in the code of cultural heritage and landscape, referred to in legislative decree 22 January 2004, n. 42, the following interventions are carried out without any qualification:
b-bis) the construction and installation of removable and totally transparent panoramic windows, so-called VEPA, aimed at performing temporary functions of protection from atmospheric agents, improvement of acoustic and energy performance, reduction of heat loss, partial waterproofing from rainwater of balconies projecting from the body of the building or of loggias returning inside the building, provided that these elements do not constitute stably closed spaces with consequent variation of volumes and surfaces, as defined by the standard building regulation, which could generate new volumes or result in a change in the intended use of the property, including from an accessory surface area to a useful surface area. These structures must promote natural micro-aeration which allows the circulation of a constant flow of ventilation to guarantee the healthiness of the domestic internal spaces and have technical-constructive characteristics and aesthetic profile such as to reduce the visual impact and apparent bulk to a minimum and to do not modify the pre-existing architectural lines;