Reliable builder - French artisan; English-speaking!


(C.Brian Ross) #1

Unsure as to whether, or not, this forum permits this, but we are in need of a good, reliable, builder to attend to the re-conversion of a shower-room to its original bathroom status. We would prefer a French artisan, but would also like one who speaks reasonable English (my conversational French is improving, but for 'technical' matters, I still have a long way to go!). Recommendations based on personal experience would be best.

We live in Gardonne - a little to the west of Bergerac (24).

Thank you for any helpful suggestions - and apologies if I ought not to be asking!!!!!


(C.Brian Ross) #2

Thanks, Peter. That is most helpful. :-)


(Peter Scawen) #3

Yes I have used him a number of times.

You will have to ask him about masonry work, tiling I am fairly sure he does but electrical work he uses another well qualified Englishman, who is also registered in France and is a fluent French speaker having grown up here.

Talk to him and see what he says.


(Kwashie Konu) #4

In that case…yes…I see…your estate agent may be a good port of call, or the mairie…but the French tend to specialise so you may end up paying for a plumber, an electrician, and a tiler… think England in the 70s…that’s why the French don’t have work done unless needed…
It may be cheaper to convert or create another room, if you have one free…


(C.Brian Ross) #5

Thanks, again. I could live with the shower room, but my wife suffers from a particular medical condition, and the only relief that she can get is to soak in a hot bath!

Thanks again.


(Kwashie Konu) #6

Hi CBR, they may have reasons for not giving you the information immediately…but they should be able to produce it.
Not being funny…if you can live with the shower room …then do so…


(C.Brian Ross) #7

Thanks Kwashie. May I "insist" on receiving contact details of recent customers; would a reliable tradesman offer them; or would failure/refusal to do so be a big "red flag"?

Many thanks. :-)


(C.Brian Ross) #8

Thanks, Peter. Would this gentleman be able to attend to both the necessary electrical and masonry work? Have you used him, yourself?

Thank you. :-)


(C.Brian Ross) #9

Thanks, Mike. Sounds like good advice. :-)


(Kwashie Konu) #10

Such a minefield for the newbie…everyone…French, English, whatever is capable of pulling the wool over your eyes and ripping you off. Even recommendations are fully spring loaded with self interest. You could ask your estate agent…but whatever you do ensure you don’t sign a devis until you are happy to be legally bound, and contact three recent customers of your preferred tradesman to find out about reliability, workmanship, rectification of defects, and most importantly…cost


(Peter Scawen) #11

Try Stephen Howe who is lives in La Force, just down the road from you. He is a English plumber registered to work in France and can do the work you want.

Phone no: 05 53 57 00 16


(Mike Longhurst) #12

Having used a lot of Artisans during our many years in France can I just provide a little bit of advice, search for an artisan who can do good work regardless of nationality (providing they are fully registered and legal) and try not to focus to much on whether the artisan is French or not. We have used a variety of nationalities to carry out work on our properties over the years and there are good and bad. Unfortunately for us, our biggest disasters have been by some of the French Artisans we have used (the worst overall was a dutch builder who has now returned to Holland).

Recently we used French plumbers to do all the plumbing for a new Kitchen and they made a complete pigs ear of the job and installed everything where they felt it was easiest to put it and not where the plans for the kitchen stated they should be (positions were even clearly marked on the walls and a full explanation provided in French before they started for them and they still ignored them) and in the end I had to re-do the work myself. Do not focus on the "prefer a French Artisan" but focus on the "Best workmanship" you can get, be the artisan French, Dutch, British, German, Swiss etc

Rgds, Mike L