Miracles really do happen with Survive France

About six weeks ago I posted a piece on SFN asking if here were any roofers out there available at short notice to undertake our crazy project of removing 350 sq metres of tiles from the roof of our house in Provence, waiting while the team of insulators did their work and then replacing all the tiles and reinstalling seven velux windows. I was amazed to get even one reply.. although ultimately that team pulled out. But someone else on SFN saw the post and showed it to a young englishman who learned the building trade here in France and now runs his own building company north of Clermont Ferrand.

When David, Paul and Danny arrived that first evening, my heart dropped... they were all so young. But there was no going back on this giant leap of faith and my other half had no doubts that they would do a good job. We accomodated them and fed them breakfast and lunch, letting them make barbecues in the evenings if they wished to and of course the swimming pool was available for midday dips. Bit by bit our lovely house became a chantier with debris everywhere. The insulators came and sprayed their special insulating mousse and then the boys continued by attaching multi couche thermic insulation before beginning to replace the tiles.

The two round areas of roof caused many problems, but the boys were not to be beaten. As the project began to overun, I and several friends took a decision to start clearing up the debris, taking what we could to the local decheterie.(My other half conveniently had decided to go to England at this time so escaped all the manual work here!)Three stressful weeks and six boxes of PG Tips later, the job was finally finished and the boys returned home exhausted. For the most part it was a harmonious chantier apart from two hiccups... a problem between the French team and the English team, and the moment of delicate negotiation when David decided he had to ask for an increase in the price which we did not hesitate to agree to in view of the unforseen technical problems of round roofs.

I ask myself, where would we have found French team willing to work from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, willing to work until the job was finished even though it overran the 10 day estimate by 7 days.

The boys were brilliant and proud of their work and proud to be British builders. I know I can't advertise, but if anyone out there needs a good team for a building project, contact me and I will pass on their contact details

I'm still waiting for a builder to consider working on a job for me, any offers?

Over the last 12 years we have had contact with many provencal builders and very few have satisfied us. I could write a book about the disasters we have had with plumbers, tilers and general builders. We did not set out to use English builders... many local builders who looked at the job gave absolutely stupid estimates and others would not even give us one at all. David was brave enough to take on the project after seeing just a few photographs and exchanging email info with my husband. Anyway for those who need help, you can reach David at centrebatiment@hotmail.fr but be prepared to take out a second mortgage for the PG Tips!

Nice story with good ending. I would add some photos as a suggestion.

So glad it worked out well - despite taking longer than originally expected!! Hope that you will name names here now that Catherine has said it is ok!! That way they will get some great publicity that they obviously richly deserve!! :-)

Nice story, good ending to a seemingly arduous and difficult job. I hope this gives the young builders a boost well deserved in their profession and AND your roof a long life resistant to all climactic eventualities !

I live just 50 minutes from Clermont and I need a builder who will repoint out stone built house. I don't want a start until Sept and I would very much like to have their details, please?


Dear Lynda

You are fine to post a link to their site as it's not your business and you are just recommending them! Cx

Excellent...we are about to have our roof revised for the third and I trust, final time...this time by a Brit...who will be underfelting our roof as everything else has still resulted in water pouring in when the rain is at a certain angle....Our roofer has done several other jobs for us and is also a real grafter..working from 8 till 8....

Lovely story anyway.....glad it worked for you.

Lynda, your title worries me. Could it be that we may have to ask Catharine to hold James firmly on the grounds as he drifts off with a self-image of omnipotence? I've tried walking on water, mind you I had had a few bevvies, I simply got wet. But bravo to the builders. I know some outstanding non-French builders (not just British, that is) who will never let anybody down, weather permitting, and also a few French artisans who are trustworthy, give prompt quotes through to finishing within the agreed time. However, good stuff.