Hi everyone. I am settling in nicely over here, and so is Barney. He is really wary of all the sounds in the countryside tho. I would like to ask if anyone can recommend a good, reasonable builder in the Aubeterre area please.

OK, that is two for Ian Coates. Mine is Rhod Collins who is Welsh but not (yet) on SFN. At a push, if you cannot get this guy, I am willing to give Rhod a shot for you but still think it is too far off his patch.

My the Eymet area...told Nick about him and probably has passed on his name...well his company is on facebook and I think he has a website....Aquitaine Renovations...he has plastered huge walls for me...done a fabulous job on my roof..which leaked for 3 years despite being relaid by someone else...couldnt speak highly enough of him... Ian Coates....he is on SFN!

Hi Carolynne. OK, had one person suggest a guy called Ian Coates. He is further south than you, but you may fall within his sector. Apparently he is a member on here, so you can check out his profile. If you can't see him on here, give me a shout and I'll get his number for you.

Second how much should you be paying?

I agree with Brian's comments, difficult to say without seeing plans etc, but should think you will be looking at between €1.000 to €1.300 per m². Please consider this as a guide ballpark figure.

Kind regards

How long is a piece of string? In truth, if you have good builders who know their stuff and a vision of what you want and can tell them then they will give you a ballpark price on the spot - but without architects, surveys and so on.

Could you, and anyone else, let me know how much a builder should be charging me for the finished job. I know it depends on various criteria, but for a small, basic house, with no fancy detail, what is the normal price per sq metre?

Thank you very much Brian,

I have been staying in Chenaud while I looked around for a plot I liked, could afford, and is the easiest to get started on. The site is near Aubeterre. I put that because it's the nearest town people may know.

Nicks advice is good and yours too.

Carolynne, I am a bit confused because you live in the Charente but have a Dordogne (24) postcode.

Nick Ord has replied to you and I think you should take his 11 points seriously into account for reasons he might reveal himself if it is important. I am not a builder BUT I am not the greenest shrub on the block being the son of a house builder. All in one builders are as rare as hen's teeth unless you want to get in a reputable company, who here in France are expensive and not always the best quality. In fact, in many cases they are bad news because they will not necessarily do what you want. Single glazed windows are put in new builds when double glazing is the minimum one would expect and triple glaze is becoming the norm, no insulation or bad insulation is common, unlined roofs and when done and insulated totally incompatible types used. In fact, the 'top builder' near us advises against lining or insulating roofs because they should 'breath', which they do perfectly well with the proper liner. The will not use up-to-date materials like monomur self-insulating bricks but insist on persisting with good old blue bricks. The catalogue is endless, so you need to start with a proper land assay and survey, take it to an architect who you make design exactly what you want on the advise of a competent builder.

Then allow the builder(s) to bring in roofers, electricians, plumbers, plasterers and so on and you will get there. If they do complete builds they will have people they are used to working with. Recommendations do help, but a) when there are several for one person or group of people, b) when you can go to see what they have done and ideally speak to who lives there, c) are proven to keep to schedule and d) do not ask for a big advance and then disappear or keep you waiting several years. I could recommend people, but we are too far away and the particular people I would have in mind, who are Brits but have been here for years, don't go that far. I think they have far too much work at present anyway, given they were supposed to be doing some minor bits of repair work that can wait just near here by now and some non-urgents repairs for us at random when they are around.

Thank you

I'm sorry I can't. I work in and around the Paris area, however there are plenty of people on here living on the Charente / Dordogne border and I'm sure someone will be able to come up with some names.

I'm going to ask a couple of people who I know live in that area and have had work done recently to see if the can join in the conversation. - I'll let you know how I get on.

Can you recommend a company in the Aubeterre 24410 area please

Persevere, I'm sure you'll find the right person.

We use separate trades quite frequently, but in a professional context. It can generate big savings (some of which have to be offset on a site manager/coordinator), but as an individual, I would always advise you to try and get it all with the one outfit.

Best of luck in your venture.

Thank you Nick,

I am looking for a builder who can bring in all the trades. A lady who lives nearby brought in the separate trades and she said it's a nightmare.

I have contacted some builders but they say they can only do renovations. So I am having difficulty in finding the '3 quotes'

Couple of simple rules to follow too.

  • Speak to locals and find out reputations for the companies you are seeking to employ.
  • Check their insurances: Have they got them, are they up to date and the premiums paid.
  • Have a full itemised written description of the works you want doing.
  • Always include plans.
  • Go to 3 or 4 builders and let them know that they are in competition (but not who the other builders are).
  • Have someone independent who knows your project look through the builders' offers with you (better still if they have building or construction knowledge).
  • Sign a contract and know thoroughly what you are signing, defining Cost, Time and Quality, Works variation procedures, and unforseen circumstances procedures.
  • Request itemised quotations.
  • Request they submit a programme with their quotations. When they intend to start, when they intend to finish and key task completion dates.
  • Don't ever sign anything that says "For this task we have estimated x amount of manhours, if it goes above this we will bill for the additional" - I can send you some example clauses that you may want to put into your contract with the builder to cover this eventuality, whereby they must seek your express written permission before engaging any additional works.
  • If you are going to separate trades (ie engaging separately a brickie, a plasterer, electrician, plumber, roofer) - make sure you appoint one of them to coordinate between all of them. If you don't and there is a delay, they will all point the finger at another trade and say "it wasn't me it was him".

Hope this give you some food for thought

Thank you Vincent for your reply. This project has been in the planning stages for over 3 years from England. Now I am actually here and the thought of the next stage - the builder, absolutely terrifies me. I have waited so long for this and I don't want it to go wrong. I have made countless notes on how to take on a builder but when actually faced with the task it's really hard. So many people are warning me off certain tradesmen, etc.

Since I live in the next commune to Aubeterre. I can add something. It depends what building work you need doing: new or old. If on an old house, you must be very careful and insist that they know about the correct materials. They don't cost any more to use,but if not used, the costs later on can be enormous. Ignorant builders French and English, will quite carelessly use cement and gypsum products on the older properties. You must also realize that the term "builder" is often misrepresented. Most so-called builders are "building workers" plasterers bricklayers etc. and do not know all they are presumed to know!

I have just realized you posted on the DVN, I now recall.And you want a new built house. I made these comments to alert others who read this, and want to know about builders.

The problem with recommending builders, is that the recommender in many cases doesn't know what constitutes a good builder. Beware of recommendations. Research well first, don't be in a hurry.