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dangers of English Plumbing/electrics

Posted by moscowgaff-781202 - Created: 14 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by Anna-781357 - 14 years ago

Thanks Bob for the useful advise!!

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Posted by bob-780838 - 14 years ago

Anna,

For English speaking Architects see here, and for registered builders see here - Both from The AngloFILE, for which you can find an A-Z here

If anyone is considering paying anyone to do some work for them in France it is worth noting that the authorities here expect you to check their legality first, and you are liable should the worker turn out not to be (and heaven help you if they are injured while doing it).

Whether they are "non profit making", have a uk ltd company, are a "granny", "part time", currently registering etc etc (and believe me, as AngloINFO we hear every excuse going) you should ask for and check their siret/siren number in one of the places available on the net such as here. you input the first nine numbers with no gaps in the box marked :

Numéro Siren

this will then confirm the persons name and what they are registered to do

If they arent too forthcoming with the number (or you dont want to ask) just put their surname in the box marked:

Nom du dirigeant

and the department number where they live or work.

If nothing at all comes up, or your estate agent does come up as a hotelier, your builder as a secretary and you dont ask them to prove their credentials, then, well, you have no-one to blame but yourselves if it all goes horribly wrong!

Bear in mind though that this doesnt guarantee that they are any good, so ask for and follow up references, someone who is good wont mind . . . . . .

 

Regards,

Bob

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Posted by pj-781415 - 14 years ago

We have been living and working in France for over 4yrs and have our own fully registered and insured Renovations and Building company.  I do not think it is fair to tar all Brit "tradesmen" with the same brush, as many are indeed in the French system (which is in it's self an achievement to acomplish).  Basically, you get what you pay for!  We have been aproached numerous times over the years by Brits looking for work, all claiming to be "builders".  However, if you were a teacher, mechanic, factory worker etc......in the UK you do not "transform" into a builder the minute you hit French soil! 

 

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Posted by Anna-781357 - 14 years ago

Thanks all for interesting reading. Myself and my husband are about to move to the Neufchatel en Bray area and are looking for good arcitects and builders to undertake a barn conversion. Anyone who can recommed where to turn for a professional quote?

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Posted by allan-781249 - 14 years ago

Rossey,

I too did not intend to give the impression that I was having a go at you, or questioning your competence. Moving to a new country is difficult, stressful and confusing, especially in a country where the regulations tend to confuse the bureaucrats applying them!

 All that I can add to Andrew's comments is that sadly, there are an increasing minority of British bringing Britain with them.

These parasites are playing on the theme of "we're British, therefore you should employ us before the French". They have no knowledge, nor respect, of the regulations applying to building nor anything else French, including the language, indeed, most of them would have no knowledge of the British regulations.

All they care about is exploiting a situation for the maximum profit, in this case, newly arrived immigrants who need to get the job done.

Have you spoken to the people that recommended these "artisans" to you? I wonder what their reaction would be to be let down in such a way by someone that they apparently trust?

To be fair, it is not just the British profiting from the enormous amount of work available, but some French as well. I have recently heard of French artisans working on day rates, previously unheard of, and demanding €1500 per week - that is about a months wages for an employee in the building industry here.

All I can suggest is, to anyone looking for builders etc, ask for the names and addresses of previous clients. Contact these clients to see whether or not you get a consistent report on the quality of the work, time keeping etc. If these names are not forthcoming, look for someone else.

allan

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Posted by Andrew Booth-781179 - 14 years ago

Rossey

I was not blaming the likes of you, and I agree it is difficult when you arrive in a country to know what is truth and what is fiction and you do rely on people and you put your faith and trust in them and the infomation they provide.

I contribute and have written technical articles for this web site because finding the correct infomation is difficult.  Building work is expensive and you rely on the people you employ.  All i was attempting to illustrate was that the French construction industry is controlled via insurance in a way that is culurally different to the U.K. 

French building Regs are difficult to find in publications, but that is because all French builders have a duty to know the regulations for the work that they undertake.  That is why there are so few general builders.    

Andrew

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Posted by marilyn ross-781101 - 14 years ago

As for me these people came recommended. As I am widowed and have to fend for myself I have a hard enough time to manage to day to day jobs, being 60. However, when you are new to the country it takes time to find you way around. And being riped off soon puts you on your metal.The plaster I mentioned told me I had to get a special cheque book on request from the bank,which is a scheme run by the social services here. I whent though the system which I thought was right. When I found what a rotten workman this person was I sacked him. I could have taken it to the social services as he was not playing by the rules, which I did check up on. So don't blame the likes of me for these people, even the so called registered professionals can be expensive rubbish.

rossey

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Posted by Andrew Booth-781179 - 14 years ago

I could not agree more with Allan, that english building regulations are different does not mean they are better, in some areas like electricity they maybe, however, one area of the construction industry that is better in France than the UK is insurance (and this was the opinion of Sir Micheal Latham in his report on the UK construction industry Re-thinking construction). 

All French contractors and those English registered ones have professional insurance for the trade or trades they undertake and as an architect it is my duty to the client to ensure that each contractor is fully insured for the work they are about to undertake.  This stops cowboy builders because insurance is expensive when you do not have any claims, Iwould hate to see the premiums if you did. 

In France they recognise that it is the people who construct the work that should be relied upon to ensure quality and the insurance system in place does this and it is being adopted by other countries including Australia.

The UK construction industry prefers a system of confrontation, however UK building regs have changed recently to put more ephasis on testing, in France quality is controlled by insurance, everybody including the clients pays and work that is substandard is made good immediatly.  It is recognised as a good system and those who employ people on the black have only themselves to blame if it goes wrong. 

 

Andrew Booth Architect RIBA DUAOB

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Posted by allan-781249 - 14 years ago

When looking for people to carry out work on your property, ALWAYS ask to see their registration and even then, due to a growing trade among the British in false registrations, check with the Chambre de Metiers before signing anything. If they cannot produce a valid registration, throw them out of the gate.

There is an increasing incidence of " botch it and scarper" cowboys in Normandy and Brittany demanding enormous daily rates that are totally unjustified.

Sadly, these characters are starting to cause those of us who have gone to the trouble and expense of registering legally here to be tarred with the same reputation.

If you come across someone operating on the black, do the decent thing and report them. You will be doing all who are trying to trade legally a great service!

Don't look the other way, show that not all British immigrants are crooks!

allan

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Posted by marilyn ross-781101 - 14 years ago

Hi John,

Since coming to live in a part of France where there a lot English people, who claim to be builders and general handy men all working on the black market it is no wonder the insurance companies are getting a bit hard on paying out. In the 7 months I have lived here I have employed a plaster who put the plaster board on back to front. Been charged for a full days works when the men only worked for two hours, then expected to be fed lunch. Plumping left leaking which I had to fix myself otherwise  my floor would have been damaged.I could go on. Not to mention the Estate Agent who introduced these people as craftsman and then took 10% for himself.

Yes indeed beware Englishman at work, more like co-Men

Rossey 

 

rossey