<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

3 things to do before starting a renovation in France

PUBLISHED: 09:37 14 November 2015

Renovating a property © Dreamstime

Renovating a property © Dreamstime

(c) Riekefoto | Dreamstime.com

About to embark on a renovation project in France? Expert Matthew Chalk reveals three things to think about before your start work with the hammer!

1. Obtain planning permission

As in the UK, you’ll need to obtain planning permission. Once granted, it needs to be displayed on site and at the mairie for two months, so that affected parties have the opportunity to challenge it. There is a period of three months when local authorities can withdraw planning permission. Do not be tempted to start work before the deadline expires. If you start work and the local authority decided to withdraw authorisation, you have to stop work immediately and restore the property to its original state.

2. Involve the locals

Involve your neighbours from the start and you are more likely to keep them on side. If you are extending a property, note that a minimum distance should be observed with adjacent buildings. Local rules apply (the mairie will advise) but the minimum distance to the boundary should be 1.5 metres if not specified otherwise.

3. Research your tradesmen

In France there is a separate trade, and therefore a separate artisan, for each task on a building project. Before choosing them you should:

• Get at least three comprehensive quotes including completion deadlines for each stage of the work and the final project, with financial penalties for late completion of each stage. Be wary if you receive a quote which is inexplicably cheaper than the rest.

• Ask for references and follow them up and ask to see an artisan’s insurance (assurance décennale) certificate, which allows their work to be guaranteed for up to 10 years.

• Ask to see the tradesman’s SIRET number, which proves they are registered to work in France. You can also check with the Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat to see if their company is listed.

• They may also be a member of a professional body. Architects, for example, should be a member of the Ordre des Architectes.

• Once you’re satisfied and have decided to go ahead, draw up and sign a legally binding contract such as contrat d’entreprise or contrat de construction, which gives you more legal protection than a devis descriptif.

For more information see: How to find a builder in France

Click here for more advice on renovating in France

Matthew Chalk is a British expat who runs MC Rénovation, specialising in Morbihan and Côtes-d’Armor in Brittany.

Article by Living France Living France

More from Complete France

Enter our competition to win a copy of Destination Architecture, an unusual travel guide for those who love to find unique architectural sites

Read more
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Enter our competition for your chance to win a copy of the book Savages: The Wedding

Read more
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The February 2018 issue of FRANCE Magazine is now on sale! Here are 11 reasons why you should buy your copy now...

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It’s been a busy year in France. The French presedential election dominated headlines but were you paying attention to the other French news stories? Take our quiz to find out how much you can remember about 2017 in France

Read more
Apester quiz/poll
Yesterday, 14:25

Think you know a lot about France? Test yourself with our general knowledge quiz about France

Read more
Apester poll/quiz
Yesterday, 12:29

France arguably has some of the best red wines in the world, but which ones are essential to your wine rack and what’s the story behind them? Richard Hemming shares his insider knowledge of France’s most famous red wines…

Read more
Friday, January 12, 2018

More than 600 years after France’s greatest heroine was born, Peter Stewart traces Joan of Arc’s quest to become the saviour of France

Read more
Friday, January 5, 2018

The prettiest of French sweet treats, macarons are one of the most iconic pâtisseries in France. Learn how to make your own chocolate macarons with this recipe

Read more
French recipes
Yesterday, 12:07

Brit Amanda Pattinson and her husband moved to a small village near Eymet in Dordogne in October 2016 from where she runs her online business selling handmade chocolates

Read more
Friday, January 12, 2018

Researching energy deals and making small adjustments will ensure your utility bills in France are as low as possible, here are six ways to save money

Read more
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now