Tools & materials from the uk

Sorry if this is an old subject but I’m hopping to start work on my house in France in March can i bring my tools out and also i have been collecting loads of stuff like doors, bathrooms, kitchen, log burners, materials that i have purchased second hand but some new mostly from eBay can i just produce the receipts or do i need extra paperwork, thank you.

My own experience is that the Customs folks are in the main fairly reasonable people, especially if you can give them a written explanation (in French) of what you are doing. Some proof of ownership of your French property will be helpful.
Tools which are obviously previously used should be no problem, especially if you will be taking them back to the UK with you when you return.
As for fixtures and fittings, it would be good to be able to prove what you actually paid for them, especially if the items are obviously new due to being in their original wrappers / boxes.
For bathroom plumbing stuff it is also good to remember that 15mm pipe does not exist in France as only the even numbered sizes are used here.

Thanks for your reply as for plumbing the property has a new 25mm main so won’t be an issue same as the UK I’m in the building trade and I’m going to use push fit never used it before only the stop ends when I’ve pressure tested new work on extensions etc but i know loads of people that use nothing else now,

A thought crosses my mind as to whether the push fit sold in the UK is the same diameter as that sold here in France. So is the 25 mm main you refer to on your side of the meter and pressure regulator valve, or is that the pipe feeding said meter / valve, as if the latter, you might have an issue connecting the French sized regulator valve outlet to the UK sized push fit.
I’ve not used push fit myself, but can certainly say that the flexible plastic pipe I have used for both water and central heating works just fine and solves a lot of problems.

On my side of the meter I’ve already fitted a 25 to 22 push fit stopcock and its fine

Just remembered the only issue i had was the pipe insert as the internal bore is smaller on the French 25mm pipe just cut one to fit and all good

Whilst I’m sure you know what you’re doing Clive mixing UK and France fittings could cause problems long term or when you sell the property. I have a client here who has specialised UK light fittings and door locks, a UK kitchen, the electric cabling is a mixture of French and UK as are the copper hot /cold pipes, the local plumbers and electricians won’t go near the place which is an issue when things go wrong.


I understand your situation and desire to buy british but even if you manage to ‘import’ all the materials and fittings you describe it takes me back to looking at various properties for sale that were clearly an english house in France.
It’s fine if your project is going to always be yours but bring it to the market and you will hit the buffers. I have even seen houses with english electric sockets!
The days of shipping trailer loads of materials and tools for a working holiday are long gone.
There is a great choice of all you need here and the experience gained in language and knowledge of looking and buying here is invaluable.
As for pushfit plumbing, yes it serves a purpose but if your house is left empty in winter and the system freezes push fits tend to pop off.
I have no wish to dampen your enthusiasm of your project and as a builder myself I understand your approach but I think Brexit has gone along way towards barring what you want to do.
Buy french/European materials and create a french house in France.


UK flat twin and earth, sockets and consumer units are not to French spec so will not pass any inspection and result in any insurance claim being rejected.

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My underfloor heating pipe is the multicouche type which I bought in the UK although it is the EU spec but bizarrely much cheaper in the UK. The same as the flexible multicouche sold in brico sheds so can be used for normal above ground plumbing and best of all when you bend it around it stays in the shape you bent it as it has that aluminium layer mid structure. Much nicer to use than John Guest or Hep02.

I would hope this is the case! but I am not sure of your meaning.
Are you saying they do things by the book and calculate the import taxes of items that will remain in France as per the current rules, based on invoices etc, and they are reasonable in that they will not try to charge taxes on tools that are not being imported as such but will be used in France and then taken back to the UK?
I am just trying to understand the situation.

Will only be using single cables in flexi trunking, French sockets & fuse board, i have all the cable got it as a job lot through my son ( he’s a sparks ) left over from some commercial works he did, i was also lucky got loads of Hep20 22mm & 15mm pipe & a mass of fittings from a contact it was left over from a new housing estate project,

@Sandcastle Basically what I’m saying is that being prepared to help the Customs people understand the situation (in French) is always a good idea. If they understand that tools are going to be used in France and then taken back to the UK then they will accept that as being a reasonable thing to do. Regarding other items, it will often depend on the quantity and value, and thus the actual amount of tax payable. Be nice to them, smile, explain the circumstances, reassure them that the goods are for your own use and are not going to be sold on to someone else, and be helpful to them doing their job, and with a bit of luck they may just decide that doing all the paperwork is too much hassle just to collect a few Euros in tax. So with luck, one just says ‘Merci messieurs/dames’ when they wish you ‘Bonne route’.

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We are building are own house in chalabre south of France and I drive over all the time with a big van full of materials. Tools showers sinks etc I do get stopped at both boarders because I’m in a big van but I just tell them what I got on have on , what I’m doing and end up having a laugh with both the french and English guards
I don’t bother with any receipts because they know your be truthful etc


Thanks for that, Fingers crossed i will have no issues.

I haven’t so far.

I have never had any problems and on our trip back in November, both cars were full to the roof and they never batted an eyelid at us.

Probably worth getting receipts etc together for at least the first couple of trips, so that IF you get pulled and inspected you aren’t then used as an example for others. After that, play it by ear.

Our last crossing in October there was no interest in our (non-commercial) vehicle on the way to France, but we did have to open the boot on the way back (probably looking for immigrants).

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Thank every one :+1: