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Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creuse?
by blaudeix • Thu 29 Nov 2007 19:55

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on my projects (I've been assured that it's not the missus with a torch bringing new work :lol: ) and I know that I will eventually go nuts if I don't keep my hands busy (no rude thoughts thank you :roll: )

So is there a need for registered artisans in the Creuse despite all these people working on the black? Can a legitimately registered Artisan find enough work to pay le secu? Are these people that employ workers on the black aware of the consequences?

Should I just take up stamp collecting and leave the building work to those that read a book on the ferry?

Minimum size for a septic tank (fosse septique) is 3000 litres. All installations must conform to DTU64.1 The S.P.A.N.C. technician will verify this. A principle piece is a room without water larger than 7 metres square.
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blaudeix
163
Nov 2006
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by amandaandclint • Thu 29 Nov 2007 20:43

Go for it & register.

There are loads of people out there constantly looking for a good trustworthy builder.

I've seen your craftmanship & you shouldn't be disheartened as there's always room for a builder that has experience rather than - as you say - ones that have read it in a book type thing.

When we first bought our house we went through 4 builders before we found one that didn't leave work half done or the work fell apart a few days after they left.

We still have a wall now that was rendered over the hinges so that the windows cant open... and when I bump into the builder responsible he still expects more work 8O

I think, if you are honest, tell it how it is, do only what you know how to do, and (most importantly) return telephone calls and emails then there is definately work out there.

I mention the calls bit as we had 6 quotes from digger men to do our driveway some time back. the one who got the job was the most expensive but... he called me back when he said he would... and he turned up at the house when he said he would.

I say 'Go for it' and 'good luck'

amandaandclint
117
Feb 2007
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by blaudeix • Thu 29 Nov 2007 21:00

:roll: If I'd known about the minidigger work I'd have registered last year! My cat had had more use out of the digger this year than me!

I know that the technology of a telephone is a bit daunting but I've had training from my daughter who is fully qualified :D (I have the training bills :roll: )

So those bits that fell off - do you need a builder? :wink:

Minimum size for a septic tank (fosse septique) is 3000 litres. All installations must conform to DTU64.1 The S.P.A.N.C. technician will verify this. A principle piece is a room without water larger than 7 metres square.
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blaudeix
163
Nov 2006
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by rayh • Thu 29 Nov 2007 21:04

I agree with A & C

We will have work to do on our house next year and as a builder, I make a very good accountant :lol: .

so go for it

If you are honest, reliable, there are still those of us that would pay for a good job (not too much though! :lol: )

Ray

rayh
168
May 2007
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by alldown • Thu 29 Nov 2007 22:19

How interesting

We are about 2 years away from being able to move to La Creuse lock stock and barrel. As Bone Fide building contractors, employers and tax payers who have been in the British system and have been registered for VAT, Tax and every other charge that the UK can think of for the last 15 years and having still managed to maintain(I have to say) a brilliant reputation, we have been led to believe that "you will never earn a living in France" "Too many English builders"

Is there a chance for us to earn a living doing the same as we do here in La Creuse?

Gill

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alldown
253
Sep 2005
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by james419 • Fri 30 Nov 2007 05:50

Gill - there are too many Brit builders - the problem is that many are much more unreliable than the French, they also prey on new arrivals that have poor command of the language and promise to take care of them, disappointing I know but we know of a number of people who have been ripped off in this way - one friend had the have all their wiring re-done as non of it met code, badly earthed and therefore dangerous. The initial craftsman!!! was forced to pay for the work by his (Trade group) he was threatened with being reported for fraud and falsifying devi's - we gather he is now trying to sell up and move to Bulgaria - should be entertaining - he knew virtually no French after 4 years here,
If you do "what it says on the tin" there is lots of work for both expats and French - so go for it - good news travels more slowly than bad news but you have a lifetime ahead here

Good luck

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james419
135
Sep 2005
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by Annik • Sat 01 Dec 2007 00:31

Gill

I have always wanted to do a column about these appalling British so-called "builders", "electricians" and "plumbers" who prey on innocent people who can't speak French and hesitate to go to French tradesmen, but I am afraid that the subject makes me so angry that I would either be sued for libel or Dave would censor the expletives.

Luckily we have no personal experience of it. The one time we needed a builder, to put in a new window and repoint the back of the house, we felt morally obliged to go to the Dutch son-in-law of our very dear French neighbour. He did a good job but his health and safety awarness was so minimal that we daren't actually watch the work in progress. He was properly registered and everything was above-board.

We have however got friends in various parts of the country who have been ripped off by fellow Brits who made a big play of making friends with them, thus making it embarrassing and difficult to take action over poor workmanship and downright dodgy practices. One trap for the unwary is when a "builder" says he needs several thousand pounds up front to buy the materials for a job he will do for you while you are in England over the next six months. When you arrive back in France, expecting to move into your new accommodation, you find it just as you left it but it full of materials which were probably bought the week before: the guy has had free use of your money for six months. He then spins you a line about how he bought the stuff a couple of days after you left but "fell off a ladder" or some other sob story, which stopped him doing the work.

I could go on and on, but I won't...

All I can say is, the Creuse needs good, reliable, qualified builders who aren't booked up for years to come like the best French ones (a French friend has been waiting three years for a loft conversion). Go for it, but jump through all the bureaucratic hoops and mix with the French artisans, so that you earn their respect too.

Good luck,

Annik

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Annik
1246
Jun 2007
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by alldown • Sat 01 Dec 2007 00:54

Annik

Please do a column regarding rip off builders. As I said before we have a pretty good reputation here but have very little idea how our reputation translates in France.

Our bread and butter for many years has been working in the English Social Housing field. Give us hoops and we can now jump through them twice, and still turn out work that will delight the tenant

Any chance of doing the same thing in France??

Gill

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alldown
253
Sep 2005
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by blaudeix • Sat 01 Dec 2007 08:56

Please do a column regarding rip off builders. As I said before we have a pretty good reputation here but have very little idea how our reputation translates in France.
Any column written about "rip off builders" could only be based on folklore unless a watchdog style approach is taken and as we know folklore gets stretched & twisted to make it more interesting for the listener. That said I still love to read them though doubt their authenticity.

Isn't any artisan going to say he's got a good reputation?
Frankly I be more wary of an artisan that went around trumpeting that.
Put the shoe on the other foot - you have an artisan from Poland/France/Bulgaria/wherever do some work for you who says he has a good reputation how are you going to satisfy yourself that he is good?

Reputation outside your patch counts for jack sh*t you're building up a new reputation & client base


I see the common thread seems to be the communications paradigm. Answering emails/phone calls, appear as agreed.. I dunno, perhaps I'm superhuman or something but that is just too obvious and I know how p*ssed off I get with companies that don't reply. It goes with being competent, prerequistes for any entreprise. It's the foundation stone of your reputation.

Minimum size for a septic tank (fosse septique) is 3000 litres. All installations must conform to DTU64.1 The S.P.A.N.C. technician will verify this. A principle piece is a room without water larger than 7 metres square.
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blaudeix
163
Nov 2006
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by The_Melting_Snowman • Thu 05 May 2011 13:56

Impossible to tell until you've tested the water. You have got to try and generate French customers to create stability in your income.

We've come across a number of UK builders over the last 20 years and we only employ French trades now having nearly had our fingers burned twice. This is of course unfair on the honest UK builders who are probably the majority but we aren't taking anymore risks now and in any case we only have very small jobs left to do.

Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by Dave • Fri 27 Jan 2012 10:53

Sadly there has recently been a bunch of English builders and tradespeople de-registering in the Creuse over the last couple of months, including some large well-established firms. The downturn and the on-going taxes and insurances you must continue to pay has started to take it's toll.

I expect that locally, builders don't have so much work. Perhaps the Creuse isn't so in-vogue with the English as it once was and the knock on effect is that builders move on to more popular areas.

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Dave
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Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by Jeanne • Fri 27 Jan 2012 17:35

It depends on what you call a "builder". There are lots of people who do interior work, some to a good standard, others even as an amateur you could do better. This doesn't just apply to Brits, it also applies to French and other nationalities.

SO, yes, a real builder there is a need for, one that can do structural work, but forget what you might earn per hour in the UK, reduce it by a quarter, and that is what you will get roughly for the same work after social charges. The only one we recommended now has too much work.

I honestly don't know of any easy way to identify "good artisans". I think it is a gamble for people here (as it can be in UK, its just that not so many of us use them there).

We could write a book too on the work my husband has had to go and put right after someone claiming to be qualified has messed up totally, sometimes dangerously.

Another thing is that a lot of Brits return after 3 or 4 years because of the high cotisation cost. Not too bad if you are autoentrepreneur, which some trades realistically cannot be, but if you are REEL, SARL etc, Mr Sarkozy doesn't like you earning a fair wage.

Also, if an artisan doesn't speak French or have French clients, in the current economic climate, he will struggle to survive.

Jeanne
232
Jun 2010
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by cmchsmjm • Fri 27 Jan 2012 17:44

When we bought our house near Chatelus-Malvaleix we were lucky enough to be put in touch with Steve at La Coterie (blaudeix).

Still trying to get to grips with the language it was comforting knowing that we could talk the same language.
Lame excuse I know but we hadn't planned to buy our house when we did (long story) but we still had to have work done fairly rapidly.

He and his son Paul do fantastic work and always have practical suggestions for the job at hand.

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing and it is especially important when you are not around to oversee the work.

Using an un-registered tradesman may be tempting and may even save you a few €'s but if anything goes wrong with the work then it could be difficult or impossible to get you money back.

We have also used a chap called Mike Day at Daydezigns, a qualified architect who has just helped us with the planning consent for all the (long term) renovation work we are planning to do on the house. Again, very effiecient and thourough work. If the process of submitting a planning applications seems daunting, get in touch with Mike

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cmchsmjm
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Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by Jeanne • Sat 28 Jan 2012 11:59

I am confused. La Coterie are already a registered enterprise doing septic tanks, plumbing and lots of other types of renovation so what is the relevance of this post or am I missing the point?

I read the post as someone who wanted to work here as a builder but that can't be it as they are already here working ...

Jeanne
232
Jun 2010
Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by Creusebear • Sat 28 Jan 2012 13:19

The OP was posted in 2007 which may explain the confusion.


Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing and it is especially important when you are not around to oversee the work.
Said cmchsmjm
I agree but it is always difficult at the beginning before you know where to find good recommendations. I remember being very nervous in choosing a builder after hearing some horror stories of people who had seemed to have taken sensible precautions but were still let down by the inept, the unscrupulous or the downright criminal.

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Creusebear
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Re: Is there still a need for registered builders in La Creu
by blaudeix • Sat 28 Jan 2012 13:46

I was surprised to get an email notifying me of a response to this subject being that it was so old. 8O

As Dave mentions there are artisans de-registering, who knows for what reasons, but given the economic climate the down turn in business generally is likely to be major factor. That's how we came to employ a French electrician, unfortunately the French company he worked for closed down. I knew that the guy was genuine & decided to give it a shot, coming on for a year later and he's still working for us and doing an excellent job. Lets hope the electrical work keeps coming in & we don't have to loose him.

Thanks to cmchsmjm for the kind words.

Minimum size for a septic tank (fosse septique) is 3000 litres. All installations must conform to DTU64.1 The S.P.A.N.C. technician will verify this. A principle piece is a room without water larger than 7 metres square.
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blaudeix
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Nov 2006
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