Messy builder - what to do?

Hi to you all.

I’ve just joined the forum in the hope that I might get a word of advice but, having said that, it looks as if there’s plenty here to keep me browsing through the topics.

I really wanted to ask if anyone has had a similar problem to one I’m dealing with or might know the best way of handling it.

In short, there is a builder doing renovation work in the house next to ours. We live in a pedestrianised bastide village so the houses are cheek by jowel. In the last couple of weeks he’s doing more of his work outside and, in the process, covering our outside door and windows and the plants out there with all sorts of powder, sawdust and grime. The really annoying part is that he works as close as 1 metre (yes, ONE metre) from our door and plants, cutting and grinding metal beams, using electric disc sanders to clean up wooden doors and pretty soon will no doubt be cutting tiles out there too. A lot of the dust and fumes enter our house. He’s never tried to cover any of our property or plants for protection and he never offers to clean off the coatings of dust.

I asked him if he could at least move further away than the one metre distance he works at and he said no. He said he might clean some of the dust off.

We’ve been here for 6 months and only three months ago I renovated our door and it was looking great. Now he’s ruined it with coatings of dust and who knows what else and I’ll have to do it all again. Plus I have to clean up the hallway inside our door and the part of the street outside our door.

I was hoping to file a report to the police municipale but they only told me to let them know next time he does it.

I would rather make this official somewhere, in writing, because I know I can record all the details precisely (dates and conversations with the builder) much better than I would if I have to confront him again in the presence of the police. The builder is cocky and could probably talk his way through such a conversation.

Any suggestions as to x
Where I might make an official complaint? The police told me the Marie would not be the best place to go.

Thank you in advance for any help


English or French builder and do you have any contact with the owner of the property being worked on?

Hi Graham. That was a quick response! Thanks.

He’s French and I think the lady owner lives somewhere in the village.

Frankly, if he is having an adverse effect on you and on the street in general… I would definitely go and have a word at the Mairie. They are responsible for what goes on in the public domain…

At worst… they should be able to advise you on how to proceed with tackling this annoying chap…

Do you by any chance have an insurance policy… Protection Juridique Vie Quotidienne???

I’ve seen that work effectively… when folk cause nuisance/damage.

Do you have photos of the condition of your house/door when it was in good condition… ie before this chap started… that can prove useful if you need to show what “damage” he has done…


Mairie and Gendarmes, in that order. He is being a nuisance (Fr sense of word not English).

Thanks Stella.

We thought the Marie might be a good move but the police said probably not. I suppose it’s likely to be different depending on the Marie in question.

I’m not sure if we have Protection Juridique Vie Quotidienne??? We have the usual house insurance policy (Allianz). I can check with them.

Never thought to take photos before he started but I do of the dust covered door.

We actually live opposite the Marie and the church. The fact that he can work how he does without worrying about it amazes me.

I think you’re right about going to the Marie.

Many thanks.


I can assure you … our Mairie gets contacted on all sorts of issues.

It might give him pause for thought if you now take a whole load of photos… showing him working… dust/damage/whatever… keep a log… (put the wind up him, seeing you building a dossier against him )… :upside_down_face:

Just another thought… might be worth asking for/finding his Insurance. You might be able to make a claim against him/them… perhaps via your own Insurers… who knows. Might well be useful speaking with your Insurers about this anyway… as you are a client, they might prove helpful.

Thanks Veronique.

Yes, it seems like the Marie is a popular option.

The Gendarmes and not the police you think?

If you live in a village the local law- enforcement will be gendarmes rather than police.

Great advice on all counts.

Letting him know we’re talking photos when he’s working messily would put the wind up him I’m sure. That alone might make him think twice. He seems to be a one man band on the dividing line between “cowboy” and trying to go professional. I would imagine the sight of us doing that would threaten any chance of him getting future work in the village.

Thank you

whoa… I’m on a roll… just remembered one person who made a case that the dust was a health hazard as the person suffered asthma…

something similar could well fit the bill here… depending on what is being cut and the dust being thrown about…

1 Like

OK. Veronique. That makes sense.

Thank you.

Health hazard!! Yes, you are on a roll.

Any written complaint I thought about putting together didn’t include that. But it will now.

When he was cutting and grinding metal girders outside of our door, the noxious fumes entered our place and we couldn’t even breathe properly. And my eyes have been burning like crazy since he’s been sanding doors out there.

Really grateful for that.


Thinking on. Would I be able to take a written complaint with all the details to the Gendarmerie? Would they keep it on their records? I really want to do that somewhere so there won’t ever be any doubts about the issues.

1 Like


Frank… I’ve just realized that you have not completed your Registration properly…

Please put your full name… First and Last Name here on this thread and I will be pleased to amend your Reg for you… alternatively… you could amend your Registration yourself.

I’d be grateful if you could do it asap

Sorry. It should now be correct.


Yes, nuisance sonore et visuelle, nuisance sanitaire, et atteinte à la tranquillité could all be mentioned :grinning:
The gendarmes generally take complaints fairly seriously.

Thanks again. I’ll take all that into account.