Is this devis fair?

Just wondering if any of you out there have some idea whether a recent devis I have received is the 'correct' price or not. The house is a joint purchase with my husband but since he works around the world to earn the money to pay for the work it is left to me to make these decision as to what to do and for how much. Difficult! Anyway for the last 16 years I've been using mainly french artisans and mainly one man bands that gave good quality work at very reasonable prices. But now I need quite a bit of work doing from a pellist and a builder who will need to work together and their quotes add up to more than 13,000euro. The work needed is to create a hole in a garden to semi bury a metal above ground pool (9x5), spread the soil removed around the garden so as to level it (the moles have been very active), installation of the pool (sitting in the courtyard on it's pallet waiting and looking rather miserable after all this rain:( oops); scraping all the existing gravel plus removing the existing overgrown 'herb' (read weed) garden from the courtyard and re-gravelling to make tidy. The builder's quote is to knock down part of a galet wall surrounding the bottom garden and enlarge the existing opening so that large equipment can enter (to keep the pellists quote down) and to break up and re-lay the cement of an eating area next to a barn. The pellist has also informed me that he can start almost immediately (???) and that all the work will be completed before the end of July! Sounds too good to be true (or it did before I got the quote!).

What's everyone point of view? Is this the normal price of this type of work or did he look at my rather large house and think 'rich english?'. My hubby is already 68 years old I'd hate to waste his money as we may need it to live on!

Help! All advice welcomed :) And if there are any builders out there happy to give me a quote - Please do! This guy is the 5th person I've brought in and only the first quote I've received.

That is really useful Pamela, thank you. It's been so long since I needed any work of this size and most of my local friends were throwing their hands up in the air in amazement at the price that it made me stop and wonder if I was being crazy. If I'd had other quotes to compare it would have been so much easier. But it's good to know that other artisans think the price seems fair. Thank you so much everyone for your time. SFN rocks!

Just to clarify, I'm not an expert at all on this and am only replying because my husband has just overseen a similar job of filling in a swimming pool but using the same machinery and concasse with a limited access to the pool area. I've asked him to check over the figures and given the size of the area and the work involved he thinks it's a fair price. Of course, we don't know this guy, his workmanship and whether he will stick to his 'estimatif' quote. But if he and the other bloke do the work they say they will do for that price then it seems to be reasonable.

His availability can also be explained in that if he has other jobs lined up on certain dates, he might be able to do the work immediately before those start. The other thing to be certain of is what Steve mentioned - if the gravel base is adequate for the pool or if it should be concrete. Can you check with a local pool supplier what the requirements are for your type of pool, perhaps as a potential customer? If you have any doubts it's better to do some more checking, even if it means waiting a bit longer to have your pool installed. Hope that helps :)

Thanks Brian, something to compare with is what I need. Slightly different here in that we are extremely lucky with our ground and the previous time the actual digging was done with a mini pelle and without problems. Plus no concrete base, nothing but a thick layer of sand at the bottom and for the sides to protect them. We have a fast flowing river running at the bottom of the garden (despite being in the town centre) and the main Adour river running within very close proximity which keeps the soil clay free and perfect for growing. But we do have the perennial crop of river stones that the houses were built from. I've just had 2 wells dug 6 metres down with the tiniest of drills. The water table is never far away (it's actually sitting in my cellar as I type!). Are there no builders out there interested in giving me a more interesting quote? Or should I go ahead, spend the money and risk the wrath of Batiments de France? (not having the permit in place first).

I called a friend because they had a comparable/similar installation last year. He is from the region and his wife quite local so they probably have the edge. Anyway, the point is that I knew their pool is 10 x5 so not so different. Their completed work was just around €9,000 he says. The ground here is massive limestone, so digging is a big job plus the rotten stuff being to an extent absorbent it has to be lined before the structural concrete base goes in.

I have no idea whether that was cheap, right or expensive but it is something comparable at least.

Must admit in the early day's I'd just go and chat to local farmers and ask for their help if it was just something in the garden or a need to get gravel for me - in those day's it never occurred to me to ask for a siret for such jobs. Major work such as the re-roofing, electrics, bathrooms etc., was a different mater, when I most definitely made sure the siret was ok.

It was the Maire himself who suggested that I just go ahead with the inground pool but it's the locals that I dont trust! I share the access road to my side gates with a private school and the parents hate the fact that the Maire gave me the right to prevent people parking outside my gates. Doesn't stop them of course! But that road is very narrow and I will have to widen the entrance to the bottom garden if I want to get anything larger than a mini pelle in. Why does everything have to be so expensive???? He's weighted the devis as it is for the difficulty in access.

darn... I'm in 65 and on the border of 32 :( Alarm bells rang when I thought of paying almost 2,000 euro just to put a metal pool up. I understand they are heavy and that it has to be done correctly but these are suposed to be able to be installed by lay men and not require special craftsmen at their rates. I just thought that while he was doing everything else it would have made sense. Obviously not!

Did work you have done previously require the same sort of machinery etc.? Were they working on the black [no VAT, insurance, social charges etc.]? The French artisan also needs chasing up when it comes to devis. If you have asked for devis but not received one chase them up and ask where it is, sounding as if they are your only choice.

An in ground pool may increase your local taxes. Tread very carefully with the Marie. Ask the same question of as many different people as you can. You will get a different answer from each and every official you speak to. Get the answer you like, with regards to planning, in writing then you may have some come back. The rules are changing all the time.

sounds trop cher pour moi !

i noticed you Pellist devis was in fact an estimate !!!!!!!!!!!! not a fixed devis.

plus at a quick glance there was no mention of concrete being poured as a base for the pool ?

have you read the instructions ? as one of these i built for someone which was thie same size as yours needed to be supported by the correct grade of structural concrete 20cm thick which was not cheap !

please please read the booklet or ask the supplier as i would not advise putting this type of pool on compacted gravel................

but if they think you want this pool for this summer then they know you will have to pay !

where are you located ?

i can hire various size machines with a driver for 250 euro per day in dept 47

Hi Melissa, That is the problem here, if they are not that interested in the work they will 'load' the devis appropriately and then think 'oh well if you are prepared to pay that price okay. And many a french artisan has happily told me they will do that. Especially if they don't want the work! This guy tells me that he isn't a one man band though and has only a large digger but that his day rate is 900euro. Can't be bad. Wish I could earn that! All the previous ones came, had a look round, made lots of notes, measured, smiled and said 'a bientot and that was it! Not a sight was seen again. Even the grave digger! But he has been rather busy lately.

I did point that out to him and he said yes but to be fair maybe it will be cheaper. Umm. I'll post some photos of the garden. The pool I've bought is identical to one we had previously and so is the work relating to it. But that was maybe 12 years ago. At that time I found a local farmer who brought his son to do the laser work and they laid sand and sticks throughout the hole ensuring it was completely level, spread the excavated soil around the garden and charged me the equivalent of 350euro. It took him a day. I had two british blokes who had been doing some electrical work together and they took on putting the pool up - it took them the two day's as indicated on the instructions and they charged me the equivalent of 200euro each. I had no problems with that pool for more than 10 years until the liner went. So I stupidly thought I'd do the same again but this time am finding it very hard to find someone that will give me a quote. Plus the builder who is happy to knock down the wall never asked me if I had the relevant permissions. And since the current access is the only road to the local cemetry and a private school (so can be very busy) plus my proximity to the 11C local church making everything take so much longer for permissions. I found them a little unprofessional which in itself I found worrying. Needless to say the Mairie have advised me to fill in the forms and do as the french do i.e. just get on with the work anyway since it's coming up to August and I'm therefore unlikely to get permission before the end of the year! But then they also told me to go ahead and put in an inground pool despite having just refused me permission due to the land being both agricole and flooding!

Hi Catherine. You could get other estimates but I would just take into account the following (if I have read correctly): Work has to be done to prepare the site and remove debris from the site. This can be as expensive as any subsequent works. Pellist: Terrassement work is expensive. If the work is done by one man and his digger and if he has to get off the digger to do any other work then obviously his digger, which could be used elsewhere is sitting around. If a lorry is required for removal of debris or bringing of gravel this will be expensive. Fuel is expensive and if he has to come any distance he will charge more. If he can start immediately though he has not got a lot of work on so you may be able to negotiate - but the French tend to have a take it or leave it attitude. Digger hire and lorry hire is expensive, labour is expensive and the £/€ is not in your favour. My husband hired a digger and did the lot himself because of the expense and inflexibility of getting someone else to do it all.

Hi Catherine, could you also upload a couple of photos of the proposed site and the wall which is going to be altered? I note the pellist devis is 'estimatif', which to me indicates it's going to be more eventually.