Advice and local companies for your building projects
If you own property in Brittany, it is likely that you will undertake some building or renovation work on it at some point, and that you will need the help of a professional to get it right. From new builds to restorations, there are plenty of (English-speaking) companies in Brittany who can help with or take on your building projects.
When building or renovating in France, it is tempting but not always wise to bring builders and materials over from the UK, especially if you’re in Brittany, as the UK is so close. British builders won’t be aware of French building regulations, they won’t offer the same guarantees, and they won’t be familiar with local techniques or materials. The community may also frown upon your use of foreign labour, so things could be made more difficult for you in future.
Buying building materials from the UK can sometimes be a bad idea, because they won’t be adapted for use with Breton materials, may not meet French requirements, and if you need to employ a local artisan, they may refuse to use anything unfamiliar – they need to ensure that their work can last for its guarantee period – often 10 years – so they prefer to use trusted local materials.
Less of a problem is decorating materials, where the quality is often superior in the UK, and there is more choice of colour and design. You still need to be careful of compatibility, though, for example, ensuring that the make up of paint will suit the type of wall.
New builds & large projects
Firstly, you’ll need an architect.
Andrew Allen, is a member of the ‘Ordre des Architectes’, and runs a personal design service. He is always happy to chat informally about your ideas, and can arrange feasibility studies, planning applications and soil surveys. Andrew also liaises with local authorities on behalf of his clients.
For more Brittany architects and surveyors, see our Local Business Directory
Then, you’ll need a builder.
Maisons Cardinal are reputedly the largest building firm in Brittany, and have 40 years’ of experience, in both the private and industrial sectors.
Bel Air Homes (Tel: +33 (0)2 97 27 01 71), Habitat Plus, Brittany New Builds (Tel: +33 (0)2 96 27 43 16), and Maisons Dominique Charles (Tel: +33 (0)2 99 70 09 17) are more examples of new build specialists in Brittany.
Brittany has several traditional building methods that are specific to the region, so for renovation projects or new builds that are constructed in traditional Breton styles, it is crucial to use artisans who are familiar with the techniques. Traditional methods used in Breton buildings – which will require an expert – include timber frames, wattle and dawb, intricate brickwork, and roofing, inlcuding thatch.
There are numerous companies who specialise in undertaking renovations, either totally, or just stepping in where you need the help. Stephen Fishlock, Steve and Wendy Foster Renovations, Ferme Maison, Thistle Renovations and Steve Davies are all renovation specialists listed in our Business Directory, along with many others.
Our Business Directory lists over 40 Brittamy companies in the building sector, from people can turn their hand to any general building or decorating work, like Charles Haigh Construction, to specialists in sandblasting, painting and decorating, and stonemasons. There are also electricians who are used to working on new builds and renovations.
Also try our Business Directory for Brittany companies dealing with swimming pool construction and maintenance, satellite installation, property management (Les Bons Voisins cover the whole of France), gardeners, removals and storage, estate agents, electricians, plumbing and heating, and specialists in fosses septiques (septic tanks).
For some excellent advice on building and renovating in France, visit FrenchEntrée’s Renovation & Decoration section, which explains everything from materials, regulations and tools, to renewable energy diccounts, money-saving DIY and employing an artisan.
If you’d like to advertise your property for holiday lets, visit our Holiday Rentals Database.
To find property for sale in Brittany or elsewhere in France, browse our Brittany Property Search.