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New House Build Problems!!


Craig
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Hi all, first time on the forum.. I am hoping someone can help? Me and partner have just bought some land in Dordogne to new build single storey with 2 dorma bedrooms, about 160m2. Being a builder in Uk was hoping to construct everything myself. Having spoken to and spent numerous amounts on English project managers and engineers we have found that we require French builders to do all the work in order to receive the 10 year guarantee. Can anyone recommend a way around this and also what we should be paying for a shell as the prices being thrown around are enormous!

Kind regards Craig
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The only way to get the 10-year guarantee is to use an Artisan with the appropriate insurance. On the principal that you can't do work for yourself (and expect tax, insurance or whatever benefits - believe it or not), even if you registered as an Artisan then you would not benefit.

You could "do a deal" with a local developer to "employ" you (as a subbie) to do the work. Might work. You would need to be registered, though.

But as BJ implies, do you need the 10-year guarantee (which is not like a HNBC guarantee)? If not, you are at liberty to do the whole lot yourself. Do it properly (as I am sure you would!) & you won't need a guarantee.

 

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The problem is that you need two lots of insurance for a building project.

Firstly  each "trade" needs to be covered by the 10 year artisans insurance . This is issued on a trade by trade based on track record. In the case of an english self-builder on his first project pretty hard to obtain for one trade virtually impossible for a multitude of trades. Even if it were obtainable I think the cost would be astronomic.

Then the  owner also subscribes to the assurance Domage Ouevrage which covers him in case he needs to claim on the artisans insurance. This would probably cost 5 or 6 thousand Euros, but you have to list all the details of who will be project managing, and for  each trade  the artisans insurance policy details for their 10 year guarantee.

I think it would be impossible to obtain DO cover for a self build project where you were intending to perform and supervise the work yourself.

So you are left in the position of buying in building services, or doing it yourself without any insurance cover. If there is  no cover for ten years the property will only be saleable at a hefty discount to market prices as it is technically illegal. This gives any prospective purchaser a very strong bargaining position. If you are confident that there is no chance of needing to sell this may be the way out, but who can be that confident?

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I am not a builder but I too would be amazed if you could get the DO cover and do the work your self.

Think about it, you could do a really bad and cheap job and then get it put right at the insurance companies expense. I am not suggesting that you would dream of doing this, but I bet plenty would give half a chance.

There are companies around that construct the shell and then you fit the interior walls, electrics, plumbing etc yourself ( if confident or competant) which would save you some money. But you would need to have DO but you would get the 10 year guarantee.

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sorry all, was meant to address everyone!

Thanks for the replies.

I appreciate that there is no real alternative to sorting the guarantee out if we are looking to sell but are the construction costs in France similar to those in the UK of @ £1000 per SqM.

Also if we were to go ahead and employ artisans to get the shell up, leaving the interior works, electric, plumbing etc to ourselves to finalise, what are the chances of resale. I suppose it is quite an open question dependent on chance and luck.

Looks like I will be building my old man a retirement home!
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If you are building with a view to a rapid sale, then I think the only safe alternative is to get all the work done by artisans. The interior work such as plumbing and electric all needs the artisans insurance and cover by the assurance DO.

In addition any work you do yourself will not count towards the cost of the property, so will inflate the profit onthe slae, and therefore the amount of VAT that you will have to pay on the sale.

As far as costs are concerned I would think that even with the building cost inflation suffered in France (No Polish plumber induced building cost deflation here !) you could get a good result for £1000 per sq metre.

 

 

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[quote user="BJSLIV"]

Firstly  each "trade" needs to be covered by the 10 year artisans insurance . This is issued on a trade by trade based on track record. In the case of an english self-builder on his first project pretty hard to obtain for one trade virtually impossible for a multitude of trades. Even if it were obtainable I think the cost would be astronomic.

Then the  owner also subscribes to the assurance Domage Ouevrage which covers him in case he needs to claim on the artisans insurance. This would probably cost 5 or 6 thousand Euros, but you have to list all the details of who will be project managing, and for  each trade  the artisans insurance policy details for their 10 year guarantee.

I[/quote]

 

So you have to purchase another insurance in order to be able to claim on the artisan's insurance?

Or does it pay out if they are no longer trading or turned out not to be insured?

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[quote user="Craig"]Hi BJSLIV, thanks for the reply. We were hoping to sell the property after completion. the 'shell' refers to the footings, drainage, mains, fosse, walls and roof. kind regards Craig[/quote]

 

As this is a new house , are you aware that you will have to pay a hefty tax on any profit you make if you sell this property within 5 years? [:(]

I don't know if the rate is even higher if the owner lives outside France.

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I sort of am aware of all the taxes and VAT etc... but it sure would beat another winter in the UK!! so any average profit would be a reward.

after all the rules and regs, is there any possible chance of selling if we did the work ourselves? I know my work is fine in the UK and i understand the various methods etc in France, but is the insurance asked for by the estate agent, notaire, marie, or the purchaser. What if we were to sell the land to a personal friend?

We have been given various information from architects / engineers in France that say the main items to guarantee are the footings, groundworks etc. and the roof!!
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I discussed this matter with a French friend today, he was a sales manager for a medium building company and he has also built 6 houses himself for investment.

He has told me that it was impossible for him to buy the 10 year assurance which he described as "decennual" (because he did most of the work his-self or used black labour) and that is why he is renting the properties for at least 10 years.

He said that it is perfectly in order to sell a house that one has built without the assurance but you as the vendor will remain liable for any defects/future problems for the whole 10 year period!

Apparently there have been several succesfull claims made against sellers under what he called juris-prudence.

We had a long discussion about why he is no longer developing, he explained in recent years there has been more and more legislation controlling electrics, gas, water and a multitude of things, whilst there is no building control as such (as in the UK) these thing are picked up more and more by compulsory surveys at the point of sale; for example here we now have to have an electrical inspection to certify compliance with the norms which are constantly changing.

What really frightened me is that he told me that you can be held liable for 10 years for  renovation work that you have done on your own property, certainly if it required a "permis de construire" or declaration de travaux then the works are on record as having been done.

The final frightening thing (which I really don't want to believe) he told me was that in Belgium (remember what one EU country does others may follow) now if someone builds there own house they get a TVA assessment along the lines of  "aside from the artisan factures you have for Xeuros we estimate you have spent 1000 hours of your own (or black) labour, at an average rate of 30 euros per hour you now owe us 6000 euros TVA!

Somebody please tell me that he was winding me up!

 

 

 

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I wouldn't worry about France catching up to EU norms in any kind of a hurry - then again if it's to tax the proles further??

I suppose the way around this whole thing is to get the house built and immediately start renting; then use the rental income to secure a loan and build another and so on until eventually you are earning enough from the rental to get by and then the first property passes the ten year mark: you'll probably have to permanantly dispatch of the tennats to actually sell the thing though... But hey - that's business!

We're renting a place now that the owners are sitting on until it reaches the ten (or maybe even fifteen?) year level cause selling now involves something like a 30% tax? Or is it 13%? I think the first threshold is 5 years?

The landlord is also doing up some old houses he's bought and he's doing the electricity himself - there are regulations but he reckons that if it's done properly and he gets the cert he'll be covered forevermore.

It's not so bad holding on to the property when you consider it will probably go up in price and either way your rental rate will remain stable - sell when the time is right?

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I would have thought it very difficult for somebody to pursue the previous owner for anything related to renovations they did themselves within 10 years. As I understand it, if an artisan does the work then he has insurance (e.g. if his company is no longer trading e.g 9 years later when there are some problems). However, to pursue somebody on a personal basis when there was no guarantee, etc. I would have thought unrealistic.

Also, what are these compulsory inspections for electrics. I thought the only compulsory inspections were for lead and asbestos (and termites in some areas). I would imagine most properties in France do not conform to the current norms.

Ian
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As I understand it they will come around and inspect your electrics if you are rennovating a property (or building a new one) with the intention to rent/sell. If the property is already being rented then I doubt they'll expect you to completely rewire before the year's out - though they do inspect for an already existing minimum standard (certainly if your tennants rent is paid by the CAF).

Obviously you could sell a property you already own in any state you like - buyer beware.

I don't know if they demand anything if you are expecting to live in the house yourself - but probably.

It's like introducing new regulations in cars isn't it? The regulations only need apply to new cars.

Having said that they have implemented new regs for septic tanks for existing units...

As far as I know the regulations are pretty straightforward, the only slightly strange bit involves an increase in the minimum amount of available plug sockets?

Not too sure to be honest.

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  • 2 weeks later...
We have renovated a very large property and the only time the electrics were inspected was when a new meter needed to be installed, so it came up as a new installation.  This is the only time that the various bodies are informed as I understand it from my electrician.  We failed first time because at one point a water pipe was too close to a socket or some such weird thing.  We also had to have a telephone point as well as the compulsory number of power points per room, it was all a bit random but thankfully they only inspected the area supplied by the new meter not the whole building.
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Well I will soon be having my consuel inspection so I will be able to advise of any strange requirements or recent changes.

Those that I am already aware of are:

Plug sockets and light switches that are held in with the small claws (agriffes I think) are interdit, the new type have two screws similar to the UK ones and are much safer if the phase wire were to become detached.

Minimum amounts of sockets in each room (as before) but a requirement in the kitchen for a minimum 4 above the plan de travail - I would like to see how to do that with some of the brico-shed pre-equipped kitchenettes. Note twin sockets count as one but with a small gap between count as two, usefull if you are near the maximum or cant reach the minimum requirement.

Colonne local technique must be fitted with all TV and satellite and telephone cables going into junction boxes for testing/isolation puposes and then onto the wall sockets,  you may have your satellite parabole on the wall just behind your tele or your phone point may be just behind the incoming cable but the cabling must be routed via the colonne.

Edited. The collone must have a separate tableu, usually underneath the mains tableau containing the repartiteur de television and the prise PTT principale, these wires must be separated in the goulotte from the haute tension or run in a separate one. The prise PPT principale isolates all the phones in the house when one is plugged into it rather like disconnecting the faceplate on a modern BT one.

All these low voltage services are part of the consuel inspection.

I have to have consuel on the apartments that I am building/renovating in order to get independant supplies to each from EDF, the normes for that are even more involved but would only affect others changing to multiple occupancy, in reality they are written in a way that is fine for a new built block of flats but almost impossible to realise on a conversion.

My earlier posting regarding compulsory inspection has been in force for at least a year in this department, to sell a house you have to have the new survey which highlights any non-conformity with the current regs, the results are for the buyers information and you are not obliged to do any remedial works, however problems occur when it is evident that say a renovation was carried out in the last year or so that did not meet the regs current at the time.

It is all designed to improve the safety of the older installations and speaking for my 90 year old house with shellac and canvas insulated wires in ungrounded lead conduits it can only be a good thing.

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JR's vat comment is nothing new;many years ago I built a kit car and when I went to register it I was given the option of registering it with an age-related number(now you just get a "Q") or registering it as a new car.I went the new car option and had to give the VAT inspector copies of all the receipts for the components plus an estimate of my time building it.He gave me a bill which I took to a VAT collector-different address(by 40 miles),paid it ,got receipt,back to DVLA and got tax  disc.
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