Electrical Report Anomalies

We're in the early stages of buying a property in the Haute-Vienne area. Just received the Diagnostique Reports from the Immobilier and the Electrical Report shows they found a few Anomalies.

The house was built in 1949. It's just a small 2 bedroom/Kitchen/Bathroom all on ground floor with an upstairs attic. Can anyone give me a ballpark figure of how much it might cost to rewire the place?

I've attached the actual Report. My French is 'tres mal' so I'm not quite sure how serious the 'anomalies' are!

Thanks everybody for the really helpful replies. I am arranging for an electrician to give it a good looking at and an idea of cost. I wont be signing anything until I know the full cost involved.

Just to say, this is my first post on this Forum and it really is a good feeling to have such a body of knowledge at my fingertips.

Very good point about the structural survey - in the UK we are used to using surveyors to do a thorough survey as part of the mortgage process, in France it's less common. For our first house purchase in France we used a bilingual surveyor and put a condition suspensive in the compromis de vente such that should we determine any major structural defect we had the right to pull out & have our deposit returned.

For our second purchase we took a local builder we knew round the property with us to check it out.

French law requires the full dossier of diagnostics be provided before any preliminary contract is signed...in other words, the buyer enters the contract "with knowledge", and this should allow a buyer time to obtain price estimates - do not be bamboozled into signing just because you've been given the paperwork.

If the electrics were poor, what were the other reports like.....and did you get the structural components surveyed? When an sales agent says that they don't usually bother with surveys in France, this might give the erroneous impression that French houses are somehow immune from the effects of the passage of time - they aren't!


Further thought do not sign any documents, such as the Compromis de Vente???, (in case I have the wrong document somebody correct me please!) until this issue is sorted.

One thing I would suggest is also contacting notaire and if this is going to be very costly ask for a reduction in the price of the house. A mistake I made was not doing this and even though our house was in the prose of being retired when we purchased nothing was marked inboard and there was no earth any where. All rectified now thanks to a very helpful UK electrician I found locally.

Hi Suzanne

Yes the first thing I did was replace the old fuse box with a modern variety that came with a parafoudre. I always assumed I was safe as we have a EDF transformer on our land as the main power lines get transformed down to domestic use, so up on a pole, and thought if there was to be a lightning strike it would be hit first. Well, wrong!

But I also have all my electrical goods, TV, PC's, Orange Live Box, etc. protected with a power surge socket set box.

Briefly on cable conduits, I found a supplier of brown ones which more or less "visually disappear" in our house against the ceiling boards and rafters.

And you are right, SFN is absolutely brilliant at finding answers to questions and issues. We are a great collective sink of experience, like mine and others, great source of contacts and many with genuine technical expertise.



You are right, protection against surintensites is mentioned in the report - and indeed le parafoudre (ou parasurtenseur) protects against surcharges and is obligatory in some french departments under norme NF C 15-100.

We're most definitely having one fitted and given there are regular lightning strikes in our village that have knocked out the church bell system, mairies anouncement system, mairies computer system as well as many villagers PCs, TVs and liveboxes!

I agree with Peter, the cost of the rewire is only part of the actual renovation cost - as you either surface wire everywhere with plastic conduit (which is in my opinion unsightly) or you rewire and replaster and redecorate (for many is also opportunity to insulate internal walls).

You may be able to use the devis (estimates) as a bargaining tool but depends on the price of the property and if the owners were surprised at the report or not I guess, does the price already reflect that it requires full renovation or are they trying to sell it as habitable?

As you embark on your adventure, I can say that I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of other SFNers, a few in particular who have been a great help with their guidance and assistance. So do feel free to keep asking questions.

Hi Bob

I ma not an electrician but as Suzanne says, this is a re-wire soup to nuts job and fairly typical of many rural houses in France.

Not outrageously expensive but the on-going repair work post installation of new wires and etc. will either be time consuming for you if you can do the necessary repair work or time consuming whilst you wait for a plaster etc.

I suggest, you find a local English speaking architect to help you through the process and protect you against excessive charging.

But overall the key message is that the house is more or less uninhabitable from a safety point of view in its present state. You might try for a substantial reduction in the price of the property to offset at least the costs you are going to incur.

When we moved into our present home, the pool was hardwired to the main power supply (i.e. not through a fuse!!)with no protection in case of any contact with water via a 1.5 mm cable, that had to drive the pump and other power units in the dependence.

Suzanne who clearly knows more than I do may also be able to answer my query on the report as I saw nothing which suggested the power supply was protected against lightning strikes, an essential requirement in France if only to protect all your electrical equipment.

Hope this helps.

Peter S

Hi Bob,

It is serious and requires as you suspected and imho - a full re-wire.

First couple of crosses relate to your earth 'mise en terre' it may be that there isn't evidence that the property is earthed.

Next one is concerning the rules regarding bathrooms and shower rooms - if you have a normal plug close to water that wouldn't pass the rules.bathroom regs

More importantly initially there is evidence that some of your electrical installation poses a risk of direct contact with electricity. It appears you have live wiring which is unprotected and you have items in your installation that are obsolete or in disrepair 'vetuste'.

As the house didn't have a current power supply they couldn't actually test the circuit but it is unlikely ERDF would re-connect in it's current state.

Many older houses in France have wiring in this condition and it's only on sale that they tend to be repaired due to the new regulations which are there to protect us.

For a re-wire - the cost depends on size of property and how heavy and installation you require. How many rooms? How will the house be heated? Will you be installing solar thermal hot water?

A rough guide though from this site http://www.maisonentravaux.fr/couts-travaux/couts-electricite/cout-devis-renovation-complete-electricite/ is (m²) X (80 à 100€ HT). Don't forget that for renovations you pay only 10% TVA if you sign the declaration provided by your electrician.

From my experience please do get at least 3 quotes as they can vary, make sure the electrician is French registered and provides a copy of their assurance decennale (10 year guarantee) with their quote. This is important because if you sell the property, the responsibility remains with you if you do not have the 10 year guarantee. You will likely also need the certificate of conformity for ERDF to reconnect.

if you want any ideas of individual costs of items I can help - I'm about to rewire my house in Languedoc and I did another in 2005. That house was 140m2 - it cost approx 10,000 euro. We didn't have gas or solar but did have a lot of lighting, power sockets were as per french norms. When we sold our house (the one we'd had rewired) the diagnostic couldn't see the earth but the facture (bill) demonstrated it had been fitted and the electricians assurance decennale covered the work so the buyer and notaire were satisfied.

Hope this helps.