Earthquakes in Italy: What to do if you own a holiday home or are a potential buyer

earthquake retrofit Italy

Is it still safe to buy or own a property in Italy?

This is the question that probably potential buyers and holiday home owners ask themselves after the recent earthquakes that stroke the country.

The answer is yes, but it needs to be done wisely

Most properties in Italy are made of bricks and stones. Experts estimate that around 70 percent of the buildings are not in compliance to current anti-seismic laws (except for new builds), as until now it is not mandatory to make any interventions to make homes resistant to natural catastrophes such as earthquakes or floods, unless they are in need of significant structural renovation. Also, Italy’s constructions are hundreds of years old and it is very difficult to retrofit them.

So, the question is: what can be made to improve the resistance of a house in Italy?

Although proposals are made by the government, they often sink in the bureaucracy jungle. Nevertheless, it is possible to make properties safe by doing a seismic analysis of the house to be made by a professional. This to detect the safety level and the potential works to be carried out in order to reach a seismic improvement. Analysis include a check of the territory where the property is located, property building year, building techniques used when the house was constructed, works made on the house in the past, layout of the home and foundations, materials used for construction and presence of any structural damages. After this initial study, a project to reinforce the structure can be prepared according to the results of the report above. Generally, improvements include the connections of structural features, fixing of existing damages and vulnerability components.

What about the costs involved?

Well, it is difficult to determine exact earthquake retrofit costs as these depend on the structural interventions to be made after the analysis and also on location. Bear in mind that generally, building costs are cheaper in the south part of Italy compared to the central and northern part of the country.

Lastly, are earthquakes in Italy usual?

Unfortunately, Italy is a seismic country with a long history of severe earthquakes from North to South.

“These (recent) earthquakes are related to one another, so part of an ongoing sequence in a region that has a high seismic hazard,” United States Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Gavin Hayes told CNN.

Although no one can predict them, it is very possible that there will be more, especially aftershocks over the coming weeks.

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