Looking for reliable artisans to turn garage into gite

We are looking for someone willing to quote to do a renovation of an existing garage( good structure) . We want to turn the garage into a gite with 2 bedrooms. The area is about 50 square meters and we are on the border of Dordogne and Tarn et Garonne in 47( about 4 minutes South of Eymet).
We are looking for someone able to start work at the beginning of October and able to quote for the entire renovation.

Obvious question, I take it you have full planning permission?


If you are looking for a RELIABLE artisan I suggest you assume that they will be able to work for you in October 2021.


So you want someone to do building, windiws
doors, electricity, plumbing, tiling, flooring, decoration etc? That’s unlikely to be one artisan, so project management too. You’ll be lucky to get the devis by October.

We waited a year to get the right artisan - a great Macon who co-ordinated all the other trades and negotiated materials.

So if someone tells you they can do it and start in October ask yourself why they are available? And if cost is less than 750/sq metre check that devis very carefully for things that have been left out.


He does say artisans - plural - in his title. So I guess he realises he’ll need several people. But would thoroughly agree with your comment Jane. Also, our experience was that it took getting on for a year to get everything in place with the help of a local maitre d’oeuvre whom they knew and trusted. We had no clout whatsoever in getting a team together!

I’ve used the same business over the years… described himself as “clef en main”… all the trades come together under the one chief… :hugs:

I have the declaration préalable from the mairie for the renovation . It was part of our purchase agreement. If we did not get the permit, we would not have bought as we require the extra space. At the same time as the reno we will bring the septic up to code and to the size required for the new gite to be added.


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Thanks Stella, yes that is what I am looking for. Someone who organizes and gets all the trades together. We would call that a contractor in Canada.

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Thanks Jane,
Yes, we require someone to take care of the entire project. It is only 50 square meters, so I remain hopeful.

You’ve done well to get all that passed as a declaration rather than a full permis especially as it’s a change of use.

Look up maîtres d’oeuvre in the yellow pages, the more local to you the better. Getting the best devis and coordinating the different corps de métiers is their job.

Clé à main are usually building contractors, who do complete new builds rather than bits and pieces or renovation. Interesting that a builder who does one-off small jobs describes himself as that, but no law against it!

Try to get local recommendations, that is often the best way.

Small sq m doesn’t necessarily mean small cost per sq m…the difference between a new bathroom of 12sq m and one of 20sq m is not proportional.

Mmm… not around here… our chap (now retired) has handed his business to his sons and they continue to work on all the old houses, since they are skilled in such matters…

Of course they do do Newbuilds as well… but around here Old Buildings are what make the money due to the sheer quantity…

Hi Jane, I am fully aware of the approximate cost and was referring to the size of the property being 50 square meters to express my hope that due to fact this is not a full home reno, I would be able to find someone to take it on.

I feel as if I’m raining on your parade, sorry. But smaller jobs are sometimes less attractive as can have smaller profit margin for nearly same amount of fiddly bits. But you are right that this is more likely to appeal to a smaller artisan led team who might also be more likely to have capacity. And in this topsy-turvy world we live in things are so different that anything is possible.

Renovation is fun, so enjoy!

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No problem. I will keep on trying despite the raining! :blush: I am hoping for a smaller outfit for exactly that reason. I cannot see a large operation being interested, particularly in these busy times and the Covid related backlog. The large ones will more than likely overprice their services. I have one person in the area , but he is a bit slow coming with the devis( asked for it in April) and I would like more prices to compare and see which way to go.

We shall see.

April to August - not unheard of for a devis from a one-man band. 6 weeks is great, 2 months good, 3 months bearable and above that (in non-virus times) you need to question whether they will be committed to the job…

Also do take note that if you are in a rural area the artisans will all know each other, so if you ask too many of them for a devis they may well say no.

It will have to be done to the same standards as a big renovation.

Hi Martin,
I’m not in your area & not looking for work but I am a maître d’oeuvre (major works project manager). I could help you with building regs & norms in France.
Why don’t you manage the project yourself, 50m² isn’t a big job? You seem to have the shell of the building to renovate, so I imagine just a bit of architectural work, MEP & fixtures and fittings. If you have the design plans, scope of works & the various calculations send them to me & I’ll have a look and point out any anomalies, & give you my views regarding materials etc.
If your existing building has more than 170m² of living space before you add the garage or barn to it you’ll need to have an architect to sign off the plans to be able to apply for planning permission.


My best advice I got from a French friend was make sure that the builders have their one property so if something goes wrong you have a place to send the balifs to

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