Monday, October 5, 2009

Using a French architect can save you money

In this month's issue of French Property News* I have described how using an architect to oversee your French building or renovation project can enable you to make substantial savings in your budget.

The article is based on research I undertook in June and July on small new-build projects, none of them costing more than about 100,000 euros (excluding land) and involving a two or three bedroom detached family home.

'People have the idea that you need only use an architect for projects involving over 170m²' explains my architect colleague Manuel Grau DPLG**, 'but they should bear in mind that when they buy a standard model house from a developer's catalogue, they are paying an in-built profit mark-up of 20 or 30 per cent. By using an independent architect you are paying basically for the labour and materials, plus the architect's 12 - 15 per cent fee.

'With careful design and listening to what the client wants, it is possible to site a three-bedroom detached house on a plot as small at 200m² and still have enough room for a small garden for the children and eating-out. We can also ensure valuable cost savings by correct choice of materials, proposing standard as opposed to custom sizes, and improve insulation by using the very latest materials.

'Where the architect oversees the project through to completion, he of course takes full responsibility and only authorises payments as the building work progresses. Essential if you cannot be on site yourself and do not know the intricacies of the building business'.

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** Email

Photos show a 3-bedroom family house of 110m² built at a cost of 114,00 euros (excluding land) or 1,036 euros/m². Kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom and laundry room were sited on the north side service road, with living rooms facing south to the garden. Architect Cécile Gaudoin DPLG, Rennes. Email