Thursday, 5 March 2015

Inspections and house renovations - winter 2014/2015

When we bought our place we always planned to renovate the houses - there are two. Plus the idea was to rebuild the three little outbuildings and provide holiday accommodation on our little farm.

We have permissions to renovate the first house. The second, larger one requires no structural work - just modernisation. Great! But - we're in Italy and things are never quite that straightforward. In order to become an agriturismo, we have to demonstrate we are a working farm and in order to not have to pay fees to the town hall to renovate our tiny house (coming in at around €10,000 in total) we need a piece of paper to say the same. As ever we turned to our fantastically helpful farming union - CIA (no, not that one!).

The advised us we needed an inspection from the Regione (County) who would issue us with a certificate which we present to the town hall and no fees are due as it will be a farmer's residence. The certificate also comes into play later when we want to apply to be an agriturismo. 

Out comes the chap for the inspection. By the time he arrives it is nearly dark so I'm not sure what he could see but he seemed particularly interested to know which way round the slope on the caterpillar tracks went on our motorised wheelbarrow. I felt I was being tested but as I couldn't remember the answer I knew I was failing in some way but wasn't sure exactly what he was testing me on. I did offer to show him, but he didn't want to see it. All in all it was a bit of a strange experience.

In February the certificate turned up. We were pretty taken aback to see it was a temporary certificate with a re-inspection due in 2 years. Why? Becuase I didn't know which way round the slope went on our caterpillar tracks? Surely not! I contacted the CIA who seemd quite relaxed about it. I mentioned that I was puzzled as I had passed a professional farming exam the year previously which was supposed to be the only requirement for this certificate if you had been farming less than 3 years, which I had. Strange...

So, we just determined to knuckle down and really renovate our farm at full steam. House renovations were put on hold as the inspection became the focus of all our attentions. Nothing else mattered.