The difference between "geometra, architetto and ingegnere"
With the start of a new renovation project my non Italian clients almost always ask me what is the exact role of the "geometra"? I must admit that there is a lot of misunderstanding about this term. The reason is that in most countries doesn’t exist such a profession as a "geometra". Most clients think that a geometra can do almost everything, starting from the building permission, over the architectural project and finishing with the structural project. And in fact not so long ago this was almost true.
With the always more restricting "legge antisismica" (anti seismic law) the role of "geometra", "architetto" and "ingegnere" has become more clear.
The role of the "geometra" mostly starts with the visit to the commune (local council) registry offices and the regional land registry offices (catasto) to obtain the necessary documents required prior to the sale or prior to the renovation works.
A "geometra" can also be asked to realise small renovation projects. In this case there’s no difference between "geometra" and "architetto". The Italian law allows both to make the project.
However when for these small interventions a structural project is needed (for example realizing a new opening for an extra window) the signature of a civil engineer is necessary!
The fact is that in Italy with the "legge antisismica" (anti seismic law) the whole territory has become seismic and almost every renovation needs a structural project, the role of the civil engineer is very important.
In theory we could say that a "geometra" can take over the job of an architect in part but the "ingegnere" can take over the job of architect and "geometra".
The reality is that for medium and big renovations and new building projects, the role of the "geometra" exists in the survey, the visit to the "commune" and the "catasto" and eventually the follow up of the work in progress.
The architect is responsible for the architectural project and the civil engineer is responsible for the structural project.
Other limits for the "geometra" is that he can’t be responsible for new building projects in reinforced concrete and that he can’t be responsible for the "collaudo" (approval of the structures when the building process is finished). This can only be approved by architect or engineer.
Also different to many other european countries but very important is that the "geometra", "architetto" and "ingegnere" can only put their signature on the projects by them realized and thus take the responsibility for it after being registered in the "Albo o Ordine". The registration can only after having passed the "esame di stato", this is an examination after having finished the studies of geometra, architect or engineer.
By Ing. Gunther Desaever