When buying or renovating a house in France, one of the most important aspects is the choice of qualified workers, since, naturally, the customer is interested in the most effective use of the finances invested in the property.
The customer must clearly understand what he wants upon completion of the work. Documents such as a building permit should already be ready or, at a minimum, be in the process of being obtained. Some workers provide this service, but if you do not hire the worker for the construction work, you will be billed for the time spent preparing the documents, and the worker may also retain rights to the intellectual property and the design they create. For assistance in filling out the documents, you can contact your local city hall.
It is necessary to check the following documents:
The metier card (professional card)
All workers are issued this card by the Chamber of Workers (chambre de metiers), they are required by law to have it. This card will contain the Siren number and APE number (indicating which trade union the worker is registered with).
Required if the professional’s card does not contain all the necessary information, for example, that the worker has recently expanded his business.
Copies of insurance documents
All workers are required to have personal risk insurance that guarantees their work for 10 years. This means that the insurance company will cover the costs if an accident occurs during renovation work, as well as the costs of correcting damage caused by poorly performed or unfinished work. It does not cover material damage that was not the fault of the worker.
Once you have ensured that the workers have all the necessary documents, you need to ask them to provide examples of their work and contacts of those who can recommend them.
Request a quote
Request job quotes from all workers you are considering for the job. You should give the worker 3 to 6 weeks to calculate the cost. The calculation must be in French, summing up the work, its cost and the cost of materials. Materials can be counted all together or displayed in a separate list. If the calculation is only in English, you may have problems later if you need to go to court. By law, all documentation must be in French. You will have 2 copies of the quote – one signed and left for your safekeeping, the other must be signed and given to the worker.
The quote must indicate how the worker prefers to be paid. Never pay the entire cost of work in advance.
- The first payment must arrive simultaneously with the signing of the quotation. This will serve as a deposit of 50% of the required work.
- Second payment – the amount is agreed upon between the parties and is paid when the work is completed to a certain level (agreed between the parties).
- Final payment – paid upon completion of all work; the owner has the right to retain part of the amount as a deposit if it is not possible to check the quality of the work immediately upon completion, or if there are any doubts about the quality. If you plan to do this, the worker must be notified in writing. Please note that the worker has the right to charge interest on the amount not paid on time. If for some reason you pay for the work in cash, make sure the worker signs a receipt acknowledging receipt of the money.
If, after signing a quote, the worker suddenly says that more money will be needed, or the work is not going as quickly as you would like, first of all, make sure of the reason for what happened. Many factors could have an impact: weather conditions, late delivery of materials, worker illness, worker working two jobs, equipment breakdown, etc. If possible, schedule an on-site meeting.
We are taking action
If you have any disagreements, you will need professional help. Everything must be in writing and the dispatch of each letter must be recorded (lettre recommandée avec avis de réception (LRAR)).
Even if everything goes well, the right decision would be to keep a detailed record of your contacts with the worker, including photos of the work performed.