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Old 10.07.2011, 23:04
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Renovation project - need advice

I am just in the process of buying a house sign for it in August, but I am currently gathering quotes for work. French side of the border near Basel

Before winter I need heating and electrics installed into the house. The old ones are a hazard. Just got a quote for 18000 euros

Seems far too expensive for a standard 3 bed house 100 square metres. Heating will be electric also.

Is it cheaper to get someone from Germany? Would the French allow it? Could a German install the cabling etc and a French inspector sign it off?

Does anyone know any good reasonably priced French contractors?

Getting desperate now, as I need to book someone and make sure I have heating for winter other wise will be camping in the front room.

Also I need a kitchen, anyone know of good mid range kitchen companies in the area?
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Old 11.07.2011, 03:57
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

Is this the only contractor you've had in? You should get a minimum of 3 people for each job in to quote. Either he's in the right range that it will cost or he's out of his mind. Call in a few more people to hear their opinion.
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Old 11.07.2011, 07:54
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

I have had more contractors, but I would prefer ones with recommendations
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:36
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

Fidgety, unless youre other half works for EDF I would seriously advise avoiding electric heating (especially if its rads) the cost is horrendous.
For a 100m2 house a wood burning stove will use wood that can be bought for abt eur16 per stere and can also be used to heat the water avoiding electric water heaters in the winter months.
On kitchens, Schmidt seems a popular company in France otherwise in DIY Leroy Merlin stock some kitchens that are not too expensive also.
Don`t forget that if your house is old and a renovation project, you will only pay 5.5 pct vat to your contractors.
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:49
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

I am not totally sure by how much (don't know what they need to do in your home), but electrical systems are always EXTREMLY high. One of the reasons is safety: electrical problems, heating included, are one of the highest causes for accidents in a house hold. If you want a good work, with a certificate of safety, you will pay a lot (but will not have to stay awake during the night fearing the house will catch fire...)

I would really check with other firms (including non-recomended) to see if prices are the same range. But 18.000 might actually be ok, since this is really expensive stuff...
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:06
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

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I am not totally sure by how much (don't know what they need to do in your home), but electrical systems are always EXTREMLY high. One of the reasons is safety: electrical problems, heating included, are one of the highest causes for accidents in a house hold. If you want a good work, with a certificate of safety, you will pay a lot (but will not have to stay awake during the night fearing the house will catch fire...)

I would really check with other firms (including non-recomended) to see if prices are the same range. But 18.000 might actually be ok, since this is really expensive stuff...
Rough calculation should be labour Eur45/hr plus material plus vat for electricity work: incidentally check whether you are on mainline drainage or whether you have a Fosse Septique. If it is the latter then the rule in France from 2012 is that it must be up to the required standards and that means sand filter,5 inspection points etc.If you arent upto spec you will be forced to upgrade the fosse.
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:35
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

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Fidgety, unless youre other half works for EDF I would seriously advise avoiding electric heating (especially if its rads) the cost is horrendous.
They are in talks to completely outlaw them here in Switzerland - just FYI.
They were designed to consume the "surplus" energy from nuclear reactors in the off-hours.
That concept will be pretty much dead in a few years at latest - even in France.
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:39
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

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Fidgety, unless youre other half works for EDF I would seriously advise avoiding electric heating (especially if its rads) the cost is horrendous.
For a 100m2 house a wood burning stove will use wood that can be bought for abt eur16 per stere and can also be used to heat the water avoiding electric water heaters in the winter months.
On kitchens, Schmidt seems a popular company in France otherwise in DIY Leroy Merlin stock some kitchens that are not too expensive also.
Don`t forget that if your house is old and a renovation project, you will only pay 5.5 pct vat to your contractors.

are you allowed to use wood burners for central heating / water heating in france? I'm sure we where told they where banned here, so it may be worth checking if they are banned there too.

as for quotes, for our place they varied by 200k chf!!
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:40
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

Ten years ago did similar renovation in my current house - similar size and dating back about 80yrs. old.

If the €18k (approx. 21.5k chufs) is for both heating and lecky, then that's probably there or there about what it's going to cost.

Trying to recall my costs - approx. 10k chufs for lecky (all new) and 40k chufs for heating - warme pompe with 90m bore-hole - everything completely replaced (from a wood burning stove for radiators and hot water). Hot water, now is also provided by a separate air-type warme pompe "boiler" (in cost of heating). In older properties special heat-efficient radiators are used instead of the more conventional under-floor heating (again in cost).

Today, an air warme pompe for heating would be cheaper to install (compared with erd sonde type) as no boring is required - although more expensive initially, after about 10yrs. you will start to save money, due to no fuel costs (except minimal lecky).

And it's no fun on a cold winters morning to get up in a cold house and start a wood-burner, before the house becomes warm.

With any heating system (especially warme pompe), in an old property insulation and draught exclusion need to be top notch - and may be an additional, unforeseen expense.
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:44
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

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are you allowed to use wood burners for central heating / water heating in france? I'm sure we where told they where banned here, so it may be worth checking if they are banned there too.

as for quotes, for our place they varied by 200k chf!!
Far from it. The old bloke across the road had a new one installed 2 years ago - 20,000chf of state of the art lean burning wood boiler. It heats and provides hot water for 4 houses!

Admittedly he has his own chunk of forest that he uses to keep the thing running.

Our place has a a wood pellet burner which does the job quite nicely.
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:52
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

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With any heating system (especially warme pompe), in an old property insulation and draught exclusion need to be top notch - and may be an additional, unforeseen expense.

Indeed.
Heat-pumps (at least the modern ones) operate at a very low temperature.
Nothing like the 60 or 70 degrees the old oil-burners used to operate on.
But this requires a very well insulated house and (ideally) a ventilation-concept.

There are people you can hire who will look through your contracts and offers and advice you of any pitfalls and stuff you "assumed" but was not written in the contract...
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:26
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

We have a heat pump (air/water) fitted in our french house, which heats the under-floor heating pipes (uses electricity). It is also possible to use it for hot water but we've opted to keep the gas boiler for that at the moment as we have a tank full of liquid propane. It's definitely working out a lot cheaper than using gas for the central heating.
Cost about €15,000 to install last summer.

Don't forget that most building contractors traditionally take the whole of August off!
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Old 11.07.2011, 23:41
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Re: Renovation project - need advice

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I have had more contractors, but I would prefer ones with recommendations
Did they all give you the same quote? Maybe that's just what it costs. Like others have said, it doesn't sound like an unreasonable amount & avoid electric heaters like the plague!
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