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Italian tax breaks, the race to renovate is on

reading time: 6 minutes

Italian tax breaks, the race to renovate is on

interview with Giovanni Danna

Is an executive with Confindustria Ceramica, where he deals mainly with issues regarding environmental building standards (environmental code, IPPC, Emissions Trading, etc.), product sustainability (LCA, Ecolabel, EPD, Minimal Environmental Criteria), energy management (quotations, interruptibility, white certificates, etc.) and building energy efficiency. He is operations manager of Gas Intensive S.c. a r.l., sits on the Boards of Ceramica Interrompibilità consortium and ICMQ S.p.A., is a member of the Executive Council of ICMQ and participates in the Executive Council of Federcostruzioni. From 2002 to 2019 he was Technical Manager of the Brick Products Industry body Associazione Nazionale degli Industriali dei Laterizi (now incorporated in Confindustria Ceramica). In the early 2000s he worked for ISPRA – then ANPA, National Environmental Protection Agency – focusing on the Ecolabel and EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), and before that (1994-2000) he was employed by Fiat Group companies (FISIA Italimpianti and FENICE) on research projects into energy recovery from industrial waste, and environmental audits.

Primary and secondary renovation works, grant and tax credit transfer schemes: it has got off to a slow start, but Italy’s “Superbonus” is expected to give a strong boost to the housing market. And materials, as well as technologies, are all-important. We talked to Giovanni Danni, a building regulations expert with Confindustria Ceramica.

The “Superbonus” scheme is calculated to be worth 8,069 million Euro, , 1,614 in 2021 and 6,455 in 2022. These are the forecasts provided by the report produced by Cresme in association with the Lower House of the Italian Parliament, published in December of last year. The Report talks about housing stock consisting of 6 million buildings, comprising 19 million homes.

 

This slow start was due to an initial lack of clarity. The types of grant also vary…

At the moment, a large number of types of bonus are available simultaneously: the first was launched years ago and is a 50% write-off of renovation costs against tax, then there are the 65% energy saving upgrade grant, the building facade restoration grant of 90%, and now the 110% “Superbonus” as well. All these programmes have different goals, from energy efficiency to making buildings safe, and they continue to be available, for different sorts of works. The “Superbonus” has given them all a strong shot in the arm, since the option of transferring the tax credit and of receiving a discount at the time of payment for works now applies to all the schemes. Someone simply renovating their home, redoing the bathroom and kitchen, for example, can benefit from the 50% renovation bonus with transfer of the tax credit. The Water Bonus is a new feature introduced by the national Budget at the end of last year, which is awaiting implementation by a ministerial decree, with approval pending. It introduces a 1000 Euro grant per taxpayer for the replacement of sanitary fixtures and bathroom and kitchen taps with new, water-saving items. This bonus is not combined with the other schemes and can be applied for on its own. For example, even if you do not renovate your whole bathroom or kitchen, but simply replace your sanitary fixtures, taps or shower.

 

I imagine that the forecast building boom is also expected to boost the market for ceramics and brick construction materials.

Upgrades to building envelopes are crucial for qualifying for the “Superbonus” and for restoring the efficiency of existing buildings. In fact, the primary works considered by the legislation are the thermal insulation of walls and the replacement of existing heating systems.

Brick and related materials are fundamental for the improvement of outside walls and also for ventilated roofs finished with terracotta tiles. The upgrading of building facades with ventilated and insulating systems is also a big opportunity for ceramic slabs and tiles. Ceramics are widely used in the renovation of the communal parts of apartment blocks and qualify for grants if radiant underfloor heating systems are installed; in this case, the demolition and reconstruction of the flooring and its finishings all qualify for funding. In case of projects to improve buildings’ earthquake safety, on the other hand, all the work done, including the finishings, is eligible for the grant.

When it comes to the “Superbonus”, the installation of new ceramic surfaces is classified as secondary work, arising from the primary works undertaken.

This type of work is also covered by the grants scheme for renovation projects, with transfer of the tax credit or a 50% deduction, and is certain to appeal to private customers. To ensure our various audiences of final customers and architects are properly informed, Confindustria Ceramica has launched a social media campaign on the use of ceramic and brick materials in renovation projects.

 

Will the “Superbonus” also revitalise the other bonus schemes?

All the current bonuses have supported the market in recent years, but the tax credit transfer option is creating a wonderful new opportunity. Until this measure was introduced, customers had to advance the whole price of the works, which would then be deducted from their income tax over the following ten years. Now the subsidy is immediately available in the form of a 50% deduction, or in some cases no payment at all for the works: an amazing measure. This also a great opportunity for urban regeneration strategies, since these processes will receive a strong boost from the system of tax breaks.