Notice of Commencement of Work (DIA)

In recent years, the Italian government has taken significant steps to simplify the often cumbersome paperwork necessary for renovation and building work. As part of these efforts, they introduced new legislation in 2014, which included the Notice of Commencement of Work – Dichiarazione Inizio Attività or DIA. This groundbreaking legislation enables homeowners in Italy to undertake certain work on their properties without the need for traditional planning and building permits. This groundbreaking provision enables homeowners in Italy to undertake certain work on their properties without the need for traditional planning and building permits.

The Impact of the Notice of Commencement of Work (DIA)

Indeed, the DIA has revolutionized the building permit process in Italy, streamlining construction procedures and reducing bureaucratic hurdles for homeowners. Previously, obtaining planning and building permits was a complex and time-consuming process. However, since 2014, any building work involving the removal or relocation of internal dividing walls to create a different layout of internal space no longer requires such permits. Consequently, homeowners can proceed with their projects using the simplified DIA process as long as the changes do not substantially alter the property’s use or increase its size.

Legal Precedent

To shed light on the practical implications of the DIA, let’s delve into a landmark court case in Lazio. Specifically, this case involved a homeowner who desired to modernize their apartment by removing internal walls to create an open-plan kitchen and living space. After filing a DIA with the Comune and not receiving any response within the specified timeframe, the homeowner took the initiative to proceed with the renovations.

The Municipal Police paid a visit to the apartment shortly after and alleged that the homeowners had carried out the renovations without the necessary planning and building permits. Subsequently, the homeowner received an order from the Comune to revert the apartment to its original state. Naturally, seeking legal advice, the homeowner decided to challenge the order in court.

In a significant legal development, the court ruling in Lazio set an important precedent. Specifically, the Regional Administrative Court ruled in favor of the homeowner, stressing that the lack of response from the Comune within the specified timeframe constituted tacit approval of the proposed work. Additionally, the court emphasized that since the renovations did not substantially change the use or increase the size of the apartment, building permission was not required.

Benefits of the DIA Process

It is worth noting the manifold benefits offered by the Notice of Commencement of Work (DIA) process. Firstly, the DIA process eliminates the need for extensive paperwork and expedites the approval timeline, significantly reducing administrative burdens and enabling homeowners to commence their projects more promptly. Secondly, the bypassing of traditional planning and building permits results in substantial cost savings for homeowners, who can allocate their resources more efficiently toward the actual construction or renovation work. Lastly, the DIA process provides homeowners with unparalleled flexibility and convenience, allowing them to adapt their properties to their evolving needs and preferences without being encumbered by lengthy permit applications.

Steps to Obtaining a Notice of Commencement of Work (DIA)

To capitalize on the DIA process, homeowners should diligently follow a series of steps. Firstly, research and familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and requirements of your local Comune regarding the DIA process. This will enable you to grasp any limitations or conditions that may apply to your construction project. Secondly, gather the necessary documentation and meticulously complete the DIA application form, ensuring accuracy in detailing project specifics, architectural plans, and timelines. Next, submit the completed DIA application and supporting documents to your local Comune. Fortunately, many municipalities offer online submission options, rendering the process even more seamless. Lastly, await approval from the Comune. If no response is received within the specified timeframe, which is usually 30 days, homeowners can reasonably assume tacit approval and proceed with their construction work.


In summary, the Notice of Commencement of Work (DIA) has truly revolutionized the building permit process in Italy, significantly simplifying procedures and reducing administrative burdens for homeowners. The landmark court case in Lazio stands as a legal precedent, solidifying the efficacy of the DIA process and firmly establishing the rights of homeowners. By acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the DIA process, regional variations, and the myriad benefits it offers, homeowners can adeptly navigate the system, ultimately experiencing a seamless and successful construction journey.

Should you have any questions or require guidance pertaining to your specific situation, I am here to provide assistance. Get in touch for a chat. Your construction or renovation project matters, and I am committed to supporting you throughout the process. Share your experiences with the DIA process in Italy. Have you utilized the DIA for your construction or renovation project? How has it simplified the permit process for you? Join the conversation in the comments below.

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