Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

Your Estimate (Devis)

All building contractors registered in France are issued with a SIRET number at the time of registration. This is a number that you can check to be sure that your contractor is correctly registered and authorised to work on your property.

A contractor must be not just registered, but registered to do the type of work that you are asking them to do. The SIRET number must appear on the devis as well as the final invoices - so you can check before accepting a devis whether the company is authorised.

To check the validity of a SIRET number, enter the first nine digits of the SIRET number (called the SIREN number) at the following website, and the name of the company and the type of work they carry out will be shown:

Check a SIRET number

Hence there is very good reason to check the SIRET numbers both exist, and are valid, and to only employ artisans who can provide them.

Now for your estimate and what you should expect to see:

* The administrative details of your contractor: name, address, phone number, SIRET number / SARL details
* The date the quote was prepared, and also the period within which the quoted price is valid
* A breakdown in detail of the goods that are to be supplied. This includes the quantity, the price per unit, and the number of units (e.g. 20 square metres of wall tiles at 30 euros per square metre)
* A detail of the related costs, such as labour charges
* The daily / hourly rate of the labour
* Any other charges that will apply, such as delivery charges
* The total price excluding VAT
* An estimation of the VAT to be paid: this may be shown as two figures if the applicable VAT rate is not yet known

As we have already made clear, you need to fully understand the estimate. If two estimates are received for different amounts, you need to understand the reason. Perhaps one has omitted an important item from his quote, or one builder has forgotten about the supporting wall you need…whatever the reason, it is important to understand the quote and be clear in your mind that the quote covers all the work required.

You should not assume that ‘the price of taps must be included, he just hasn’t separated it out’. If it is not listed, then it quite possibly is not included. Check, in writing, about any material omissions or things that are not completely clear.

If your renovation project is to be rebuilt from a ruin or you are having a new house built, you will need connections to electricity, water, telephone etc. These should be included in a devis.

To help you understand your quotation from your French builder, this will obviously be in French!! Sometimes (often…always…) this can cause you a lot of consternation, so we have listed some of the more common expressions used, with their English language equivalent.

General Items Construction &
Electrical Plumbing &

Apparent: visible

Devis: quotation for work

Diverse: various

Enterré: buried

Etanchéité: water tightness

Frais: expenses

Gravats: rubble,




d’oeuvre: Labour cost

Marche: step

Nettoyage: cleaning

Nivellement: levelling

Percement: pierce, make a hole

Remplissage: filling back in

Travaux annexes:

related / necessary works

Béton: concrete

Coffrage: temporary wooden boxing that concrete is poured into while it sets

Dalle béton armé: reinforced concrete floor

Dépose: take down

Encadrement: framing, surrounding

Enlèvement: removal

Fondation: foundation

Film polyane: plastic sheeting, used under concrete as damp-proof course

Linteau: lintel

Pierre: stone

Sablage: sand-blasting

Sable: sand
Bardage: wooden cladding on building
Cadre: frame
Chevron: part of wooden roof structure
Faitage: the apex ridge of the roof
Fenêtre: window
Menuiserie: doors, shutters and windows
Panne: part of wooden roof structure
Planches de rives: wooden planking around the bottom/outside edge of a roof
Porte-fenêtre: door with glass in
Poteaux: support post
Rabotée: planed smooth
Serrure: lock

Allumage: lighting
Ligne alimentation: electricity supply line

Piquet de terre: earth rod

Prise: socket

Prise spécialisée: special socket for washing machine, oven etc

Tableau de répartition: distribution box / fuse box

Va et vient: two way switch

Our electricians will think you are confused if you ask for more than three single sockets in a room, especially a bedroom, so you might need to be persistent.

Critical sockets for such as for Ovens, Washing Machines, Boilers, Refrigerators MUST be above worktop level.

Every property has a pre-agreed level of supply of electricity. Usually this will be one of 9, 12, 15 or 18kw, although it can also be higher or lower than these standard ratings.

Here the ‘earth’ lead does not arrive at your house with the electricity, in the way it does in the UK for example. So your property needs to have its own independent earth connection - this is usually connected to an earthing rod buried in the garden

Alimentation: supply of (e.g. water)

Baignoire: bath-tub

Chaudiére: Central heating boiler

Chauffage: heating

Cuve: reservoir/storage tank

Douche: shower

Evier: sink (kitchen)

Fourniture: supply of (e.g. bathroom equipment)

Lavabo: sink (bathroom)

Pose: installation

Raccord: joins

Receveur de douche: shower tray

Robinet: tap

Robinetterie mitigeur: mixer tap

Tube cuivre: copper pipe

Vanne: valve

Central heating usually runs on oil or gas. Gas is normally town gas (i.e. arrives at your property through a gas supply pipe) only in the larger towns and cities, whereas propane in tanks is used elsewhere. Gas tanks can be buried in your garden, whereas oil tanks should stay above ground, and will need protection from the elements, and concealing. Oil is usually cheaper than gas to heat with, but town gas is cheaper still.

Finally: If you employ a UK registered company to do the work here, you will not benefit from the obligatory 10 year insurance that our artisans carry, also you will not be eligible for a reduced VAT rate of 5.5% (reduced from 19.6%), and you will not be eligible to deduct the cost any work from an eventual capital gains calculation.

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