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Everything posted by Heath

  1. Special PER bending sprinds available here and other places.
  2. Linda, I also offer my apologies if my post above appeared antagonistic. I worked in the building trade here in France for many years and can only say that it takes years of experience to estimate for work on French property, especially renovation work. I found it very frustrating when the recent influx of British artisan turns up with virtually zero cotisations to pay in the first year, thinks he knows it all because he's worked in the UK for a few years and then thinks that finding out what the going rate for subbies is going to solve all his problems. It is much more important to find out how much a tradesman can do in a day and this only comes with experience (in France). Most trades will want about 250 euros a day but unless it's a new build they will probably only do about half what you would expect. Get them to give you a price for a job and make sure you make it clear that they clear up when they've finished (and check that done a decent job before you pay them)
  3. [quote user="LindaH"] Sorry, should have been more specific [+o(] My husband is registered and wants to know what to expect to pay say a carpenter or a brickie etc when he needs them on a project. Also have a mate who is a carpenter and he wanted to know rates he should charge. Thanks[:)] [/quote] So how does he provide an estimate to the customer if he doesn't know what he's going to have to pay subbies?
  4. Would love to go this year (centenary) but pressure of work etc. mean that it won't be possible. Apparantly, ferries and accommodation are all fully booked. Might try and get to the Manx GP in August/September.
  5. You don't mention the type of tiles but I would say it sounds realistic. Are the 'Genoise' traditional or are they  the precast type you see a lot these days? There is a fair bit of work in doing these the traditional way.
  6. The fundamental problem for those running building companies (in the UK or France) is that they have usually quoted a fixed price to the customer and they pay their employees on an hourly rate. If the work is not completed in the time allowed it doesn't take very long for all the profit to be swallowed up and the job starts to run at a loss (boss paying out of his own pocket for the sake of his companies reputation). In the UK it is more common to use subbies working on a price, however, in France salaried employees are more normal and because the charges are so high the margins are smaller so it is much easier to get into this loss making situation. Depending on the number of employees and hence the turnover of the business, the boss is bogged down with admin, trying to keep the materials flowing on the various sites and trying to get more work in so has little time to get stuck in himself, but still finds himself working 60-70 hours a week. In my opinion, the best way to operate in the building trade in France (assuming you're very good at what you do and have no trouble getting work) is to work on your own or with maximum one employee. Take on work until it is coming out of your ears (as the French do) but don't make any outrageous promises that you can't keep. If you fall behind with your schedule just be honest with your customers and 9 times out of 10, if the quality of your work speaks for itself, they'll be very understanding about it - I am talking about French custmers here, the Brits tend to get all fluffed up in the same way that they do when the local shop closes for 2 hours for lunch.  
  7. Despite all the modern electronics, as Bob T says, they are very easy to service yourself. Relatively long service intervals mean that you don't have to do it to often. BMW dealer rates are quite high, even in France and they are pretty thin on the ground.
  8. If you're sub-contracting the going rate is about 30euros/sqm for straight tiling plus a surcharge for a large amount of cuts and possibly extra for grouting.
  9. Aly, you could try wire wool to remove the rust and then paint them in with a galvanise paint. It sounds like a lot of work and won't last forever but it should be inexpensive[:)]
  10. You don't say but I imagine it is the rim, the spokes and the spoke nipples that are corroded. You can usually get a temporary good shine on the rim with ordinary chrome cleaner and a bit of elbow grease but the spokes and nipples are more difficult. It's not that difficult to fit a new rim and spokes yourself. We still get ours from the UK ( http://www.central-wheel.co.uk/cwc/rims.html ) but there are good French suppliers as well. If you do attempt it yourself take plenty of photos before you cut the spokes.
  11. Asking to see insurance shows a degree of common sense. Don't let your cmmon sense be swayed by the offer of a cheap price (always results in bad work) or an early start time (means it won't be finished for years)[:)]
  12. Chris hates labels so he registered for 'Activities Artistique'.  Whats he doing working on old buildings? Is he insured for the work he does?
  13. I assume you have the invoice for the original installation. Send the installer a registered letter asking for his insurance details and make sure you put a time limit on his response.
  14. I've been taking advantage of the few days off I have in the year and the crisp weather. I've been cycling, trail riding and/or out on the BMW everyday this week except Christmas day. Only cycling yesterday as I had to split some logs in the afternoon and now the house is too hot!
  15. [quote user="Gary "] Pipe and Slippers anyone ?   [:)][:)][:)] [/quote] I don't know if you're a pipe smoker Gary but with 785 posts on here in less than six weeks I think your slippers have had more of a hammering than your motorbike!
  16. [quote user="Sunday Driver"] Wot, like this, you mean......[;-)] [img]http://www.leveloclub.org.uk/back18.jpg[/img]   [/quote] I passed my test on an LE despite the fact the back brake didn't work due to being full of oil from the shaft drive. To slow for anything, probably even slower than your average Mobylette (but certainly quieter). I've had numerous BMWs and almost every other make as well. If I was looking for something for country lane bumbling that's economical, easy to live with and happy with a pillion, it would be a R80 of 1986/7 vintage.
  17. I have the 1150GS. Back in the summer I had an extended ride on afriends 850R and was amazed at the difference in the engines. The 1150 is agricultural whilst the 850 is much smoother and freer revving. The is a bit less power from the 850 as you would expect. I enjoyed the R, it feels much more compact than the GS but after the Pan wind protection maybe a bit of an issue. Even compared to the GS which has a fairly token screen the R was uncomfotable for me at anything above 120kph. I do like the 1200 engine, less crude and rough than the 1150s and revs like the 850, but I'm thinking I'll burn the pipe and slippers in 2007 and get a KTM adventure
  18. Communication is indeed the key and as Chris says it has to work both ways. The client/Artisan relationship is always changing, for example the Artisan may fall behind through lack of availability of materials, personnel off sick or a multitude of other reasons and in my experience a once perfectly reasonable client will take the view that the Artisan is stringing him a line and communication breaks down. I used to avoid clients who clearly thought that builders are by nature unreliable and dishonest (which they, the client, usually makes very clear when you first meet). There will inevitably be a tension in the relationship simply because money is involved.   Making appointments which you have no intention of keeping is a peculiarly French trait and they seem unaware of the affect this has on client /builder relations often before the job is underway.  A friend of mine who has never been in the building trade tells me it is all about 'managing expectations' which I suspect was one of the buzz phrases in his area of business. I tried to get my head around this but in most cases clients 'expect' their job to be done first, completed tomorrow and not to pay the bill for 6 months.
  19. [quote user="Chris Head"] I really hope you've found something that is less hassle for you Heath, I'm not a builder but I can imagine the frustrations that might be involved...the builders I come across tend to be rather stressed out, perhaps fate dealt you a good hand[/quote] I'm not looking for sympathy here Chris. I class anyone as a 'builder' who works in any building related trade and is registered within the French system. The issue is that it is often virtually impossible to manage the expectations of ex-pat clients and high charges without getting into an overload situation. Possibly in the 'Art' trades with a good reputation behind you, you can charge what you like and clients will wait 6 months to come to the top of the list.
  20. A builders lot is not a happy one. In France the high operating costs mean than builders have to have a number of contracts on the go at the same time, into the mix you throw a few English clients who all have different expectations of their chosen builder, some think the work should take very little time and that the more they are paying the quicker it should be done, some are absent clients, some are breathing down your neck, some are good payers, some are bad, some change their minds every other day. At the end of the day, they all expect their job to be number one priority. Chris Head puts a brave face on it and says that the Artisan just needs to be in control of his business but with all the variables listed above this is virtually impossible. Arguing the toss on here is like banging your head against a brick wall as there is a strong lobby in favour of the clients and the buillders just sound like a bunch of whinging ninnies. I think the builders should just put up and shut up for the sake of their own sanity. As for me, well I got so fed up with it all, I just gave up.
  21. This really is a step forward. The current arrangement with the fixed cotisations is, I believe, discouraging many Brits. who want to work part time from working legally.
  22. The rate currently used is around 1450€/sq.m. TTC. It is updated frequently so this figure may be a few months out of date.
  23. As I understand it, you can insure your house against construction faults, no matter who builds it. A quick google search came up http://www.netassurances.com/bibliotheque/construction.asp#ouvrage which appears to confirm this.
  24. [quote user="stewart"] Thank you for the very possative advce, so prices will have gone up in 4 months? I have bought the barn! my ideas won't change, I know exactley what i'll do with the place, i've completed the drawings, waiting for the architects stamp as soon as the final completion, I can cost it to the nearest £100 and I don't smoke. Have you had a bad experience with builders? [/quote] Price rises are usually 1st January but some products/suppliers may be later than that. Over the last 4 years the average rise across the range of construction materials has been about 8% a year. If an Architect is required for your planning permission (SHON>170 sqare metres) then they are not, strictly speaking, allowed to stamp up your drawings. As someone else has said, building techniques and systems are quite a bit different in France. Don't go the Siret no. route, unless you are going to take on commercial work, as any discount you may get with trade accounts will be swallowed up in the fixed social charges (equivalent UK NI) you would have to pay of about 400 euros a month. Useful priced catalogue is Lapeyre for bathrooms, kitchens, joinery and tiles at www.lapeyre.fr , in French only but loads of pictures. In my opinion the best you can do is to make a list of what you need and when your next here go to your local merchants and get them to price it up. If you commit to buy everything from them they will usually give you a reasonable discount on the lot. No, I don't have a problem with builders for reasons which should be obvious, but I do get fed up explaining to naive Brits that it just not as easy as you think
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