Italian Construction Work: Contractor’s Responsibilities

Italian construction evokes associations of architectural beauty and precision. However, like any construction project, construction in Italy is not immune to defects or variations that may arise during the process. It is therefore crucial to understand the responsibility of the contractor in ensuring the quality and timely completion of the project. This blog post aims to illuminate the contractor’s obligations, explore the implications of defects and variations, and provide effective strategies for addressing them within the context of Italian law.

The Importance of a Professional Contract for Italian Construction Work

Before entering into a contract with an Italian construction or renovation company, it is essential to consult a legal advisor and draft a professionally written contract in both English and Italian. By having a contract in place, you can effectively protect yourself in case of any issues that may arise. Additionally, a well-drafted contract serves as a vital safeguard, preventing problems, minimizing stress, and potentially saving you considerable costs in the long run.

The Contractor’s Responsibility for Defects and Unauthorized Variations

According to Italian legislation, the contractor is responsible for defects and unauthorized variations in construction works. The client should not accept visible defects, as doing so may waive their right to claim on the guarantee. To formally contest construction works, the client should engage their legal advisor to send a formal letter of default to the contractor. However, if the contractor maliciously omits defects and variations, the client may still be able to trigger the guarantee.

Dealing with Hidden Defects in Italian Construction Work

Hidden defects in Italian construction work can be contested once they are discovered. To make a claim on the guarantee, the client must report the hidden defects within 60 days of discovery and take legal action within 2 years from the end of the works. Failure to comply with these obligations may result in the loss of guarantee cover. If the contractor intentionally hides defects, it extends the time limit for legal action to 5 years.

Establishing Fault and Seeking Remedies

Once defects or unauthorized variations are proven, the fault rests with the contractor, who must demonstrate the absence of negligence. According to Article 1668 of the Italian civil code, the client has several legal courses of action, including requesting the correction of defects and variations at the contractor’s expense, seeking a reduction in price, requesting the dissolution of the contract for serious variations or defaults, and pursuing compensation for damages.

Responsibility for New Buildings and Renovations

For new builds in Italy, contractors bear liability for collapse, evident danger of collapse, or serious defects in the construction for a period of 10 years from the date of completion. This responsibility also extends to durable renovation works, such as paving and waterproofing on a roof. Clients should formally contest any defective work within 1 year of discovering the defect.

Inspection of Italian Construction Work

Article 1665 of the Italian civil code grants clients the right to inspect works before signing off on them. To ensure the quality and compliance of the construction work, I would highly recommend involving a legal advisor and an independent surveyor in the process. Accepting the works without inspection or formal objection may lead to the loss of guarantee cover for visible defects or unauthorized variations.


Understanding the contractor’s responsibility for defects and variations in Italian construction work is crucial for clients embarking on construction projects. By having a professionally drafted contract, promptly addressing defects and variations, and knowing their legal rights, clients can protect themselves and ensure the successful completion of their construction projects. If you have experienced issues with construction

works in Italy, we encourage you to seek legal assistance and share your experiences and challenges in the comments section below.

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