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Renovating your home often becomes an obstacle course. Administrative procedures, choice of craftsmen and materials, budget control, upgrading, or saving money... How to make the right decisions?

Renovate your home in 9 questions

1 What is the purpose of a diagnosis?

1 What is the purpose of a diagnosis?

The possible authorizations to be asked to the municipal administration are to know: preliminary declaration or building permit, according to the type and the extent of the works. In both cases, we must build a file with form (s) to fill and various documents to provide: photos, plans before / after, etc. The average period of instruction is one to two months from the date of filing the complete file (do not forget to ask for a receipt). The duration can be extended in classified area. If the file is incomplete, the town hall has 30 days to claim the missing parts and the individual has three months to provide them. Otherwise, the project will be tacitly refused.
In co-ownership, an authorization distinct from the previous ones is required for the works which are likely to modify the external aspect of the construction or which concern common parts. The exam is part of an agenda, the date of which is announced by registered mail. The green light, or rejection, is decided by vote at the general meeting of co-owners.
Indispensable before starting your house, a complete diagnosis is needed to identify the type and importance of the work to be done: those you want and those that are needed. It's about whether the jobsite is within your reach or whether you need to hire professionals for certain parts.

  • In case of big cracks in the facade, subsidence of floors, roof leaking... the work will be important.
  • To solve structural problems, you need help from a design office that will perform the necessary calculations.
  • A duly insured company is recommended, as well as an architect to coordinate the various stakeholders.
  • If your home is old, poorly organized but healthy, you will redistribute the rooms and adapt the plan to your current lifestyle. This will have repercussions on almost all lots: electricity, plumbing, floors, heating... This is still important work.
  • If decorative work or embellishment enough (painting, carpentry, floors...), the site is then within reach of novice handymen.

2 Which points to check?

The frame and the cover: a visit in the attic is essential to control their general condition. Observe faults and battens that support the cover, identify pieces of wood damaged by insects or fungi. Identify water seepage that broken or displaced tiles may have caused. If the wood has rotten, you may need to reinforce some parts or change them, which is a lot of work. On the roof, damaged tiles are also to be replaced.
Electricity: consider an installation as obsolete if it has not been modified for several decades, or if the electrical panel does not have a differential switch (module marked ID 30 mA).
Copper plumbing: if the networks have a very long life, the equipment, meanwhile, last less (about 15 years for a hot water tank, 20 years for a boiler). After these delays, they become energy-hungry and may fail at the wrong time. To check the watertightness of an installation and to detect any leaks, compare the meter readings taken in the evening and the next morning.
Insulation: if it is cold in the winter and hot in the summer, the insulation is inefficient. Visit the attic to have the heart net. 20 cm wool mattresses in good condition are suitable. If the insulation is crushed, torn or damaged, replace it.
Joinery: they must be equipped with at least double glazing. But the cold can also pass between the frame and the opening if they are damaged or collapsed...
The floor: if it creaks, it can be treated, but a damaged parquet floor with broken or sagged blades can be repaired on a case by case basis. Be careful, too many small localized repairs end up taking longer than removing and replacing the floor.

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3 What do you do yourself?

To list the materials and products needed is one thing, to quantify them is another. These are two complementary tasks, to be carried out methodically. Doing the job yourself can save a lot of money. But beware of poor workmanship, which can be very expensive... Impulse purchases, false promotions are to be avoided. We must take the time to compare prices in the various sales networks: DIY, hardware, e-commerce... And pay special attention to special clauses, deadlines and delivery conditions, which can be paid at a high price. Providing equipment adapted to the work and in perfect working order is also essential, taking into account each safety accessory: body protections, lifting equipment, working at height, etc. It is possible to limit the expenses thanks to the hiring or the loan (friends, group of do-it-yourselfers or of self-builders, networks of exchanges...).
The demolition of a partition, the change of sanitary, the removal of a parquet floor... so many works that require little skill but are tedious and tiring. As proof, a plasterboard of 7 cm weighs about 70 kg / m2; a wall of 3 m long (H. 2.60 m) integrating a door does not represent less than 440 kg of rubble!
The electricity network can be modified or extended by a careful handyman. Technical knowledge, a good guide and a lot of methods are essential to avoid short circuits. But if it is necessary to recreate the entire network, it is better to call on a professional. At the end of the construction site, the latter must have his work aimed for and obtain a certificate from the Consuel, which will be demanded by the energy distributor before connecting his meter.
Plumbing simplified. Thanks to new materials such as PER (cross-linked polyethylene) and multilayer, it is possible to install the distribution network of a house using mechanical connections (seamless). The installation of a hot water tank or an air / air heat pump can also be done by a good handyman. While a gas boiler must be put by a professional.
Masonry is affordable if you are well equipped and, for the vast majority of books, well supported. Mounting a partition, pouring a screed... require to manipulate many heavy, dusty and bulky materials.
Woodwork (Flooring, furniture making...) is one of the favorite fields of handymen because wood is a noble material and pleasant to work. To succeed in your work, you must have quality tools and look after the finishes.
The painting requires a good preparation of the supports: it is necessary to reseal, to cover and to pass a primary before the painting. A work achievable by all.

Demolition: caution...

Demolition: caution...

The demolition with its lot of dust and noise is one of the most thankless phases of the site. In addition to demolishing, it involves getting rid of the pounds of rubble in licensed dumps.
The demolition of structural elements (walls, floor, framework...) must be carried out by a qualified and insured company, under the orders of a design office. Otherwise, you will have no guarantee as to the stability of the house.

4 Why choose a professional?

The architect DPLG or DESA *: simple mission consulting or project monitoring from A to Z, he has the technical knowledge of the structure of the building (the law imposes it above 170 m2). After conception, he drafts the specifications and draws the plans to find the companies. He follows the site if you entrust him with the project management. For a complete project, its fees vary from 8 to 15% of the amount of the work.
The interior designer: he intervenes on the volumetry of the pieces, plays with the colors, the materials and the lighting; he also designs furniture.
The master builder: he assists you in the follow-up of the construction site (like the architect). His role is very useful if you entrust the work to craftsmen of different bodies of state.
Businesses: very few general contractors support all the bodies of state and in fact call on subcontractors for part of the works. But if you follow the site yourself, the general contractor will coordinate the stakeholders. If you entrust each position to different companies and craftsmen, then you will have to coordinate the teams or call on a contractor or an architect.
* One is a government graduate (DPLG), the other is a graduate of the Special School of Architecture (DESA). of the speakers.

Renovate your home in 9 questions: questions

Good to know
• For the contracting authority, you can call on a qualified professional OPQMOC (Professional organization of qualification of the main contractors, or RGE
• The Renovated House NF mark attests to the overall quality of a renovated house, including that of the stakeholders.

5 How to control your budget?

A renovation project incurs a large budget and must be anticipated as much as possible. The first step is to clearly define and describe all the planned work. To show on the plans of the house the modified parts, the number of taken to pose, the surface of floor to be sanded...
Indicate in the description of the work, quantities, references and prices of the desired products (specifying the type of bathtub, tiles, door...). This is a tedious step, but it will allow (to you and the company consulted) to more accurately quantify the work.
Do not forget to book between 5 and 7% of the budget for the unexpected. In case of change of ideas during construction, or if unexpected work is required after the demolition, you must be able to pay the costs without questioning the entire project.
For a first estimate of budget, to count between 800 and 1 500 € / m2 for a complete remodeling (masonry, partition, electricity, bathrooms...), and between 1 500 and 2 000 € / m2 for the creation of an extension or an elevation.

6 What helps to lighten his bill?

Attention: they change all the same often... Moreover, some institutional helpers such as the tax credit or eco-PTZ require the use of a professional RGE (Recognized guarantor of the environment).
Tax credits: you can benefit from it (under conditions of resources) for work of energy improvement or promoting accessibility to the elderly and / or disabled, carried out by professionals; materials and equipment meeting performance criteria.
The VAT rate at 10 \%: it concerns primary or secondary residences completed more than two years ago. It is reduced to 5.5% in the case of renovation or energy improvement projects. "How to apply VAT to the renovation work of a home" on the website of the Public Service.
The zero interest loan: it finances the energy renovation of the main residences dating back to before 1990.
Subsidies and grants: The National Housing Agency (Anah,, the local authorities, and even your bank can allocate aid to you to carry out your work and to finance the studies (main contractor, diagnostics...).
For more information go to the website: //
See also the Habitat Energy Retrofit Plan

7 How to read a quote?

Reading a quote is not easy. If you have decided to compete with several companies on the same lot, you must provide them with the same specifications and ask them to scrupulously respect the positions (line by line) that you have defined. Otherwise companies may give you an overall price. It will be difficult for you to compare quotes and ensure that everything has been taken into account.
Finally on the quote of the company, you must find some information including the date of validity of the quote...
Review of details:

Renovate your home in 9 questions: home

Explanation of the quote:

1: Name and address of the company / Registry number at Chamber of Commerce or Trade Register (SIRET, RCS)
2: Date of preparation of the estimate / Address and designation of the site
3: Quantity of works, surface, material... per unit / Unit price HT / Total price excl.
4: Description of work, provided to the company by the individual or architect
5: Total HT / VAT rate / Total tax incl.
6: Validity period of the quote / payment schedule

8 What assurances?

  • Before signing the quote (which is worth the contract), ask the company for a certificate of insurance. You will be sure that she is covered for her responsibilities.
  • During the works, it is responsible for any damage it may cause (accident, degradation of existing buildings, fire...).
  • During the year following the reception of the works (so-called period of good completion), it must repair the problems which appear: blistering of the painting, door which closes badly...
  • During the two years after the date of receipt (so-called period of good operation), it must repair malfunctions of equipment: for example on a hot water tank, the boiler...
  • During the ten years following the date of reception (so-called period of decennial guarantee), it must repair the disorders that can render the building unusable: collapse of a roof, a floor...

9 How to prepare and follow your project?

  • Before starting, notify neighbors by courtesy.
  • In co-ownership, it is wise to pass a bailiff to raise the condition of the terraced buildings and avoid that one wrongly come to blame you for damage.
  • If a company is involved, define with them a program that will serve as a guideline throughout the project.
  • Weeks after weeks, batch by batch, always keep a good vision of the whole site and its opening at the reception. You will be able to follow the progress of the work and anticipate the delays that will undoubtedly occur.
  • Monitoring the work is a job that requires knowledge, time and tenacity: it will be necessary to check the presence of the companies, the progress of the work compared to the planning, the availability of the products at the suppliers, the conformity of the work with the specifications, until the reception.
  • It will then be the moment to go through the house carefully and to see, with the company and the architect (who is assisting or representing you in this stage), that the work is well done and that they correspond to this. which has been requested.
  • Test the sockets and switches, check that the paint is not blistering, that no microcracks appear (above the doors), that the sanitary joints have been installed.
  • If any elements are missing, it is sufficient to note in the acceptance report the reserves found and the time given to the companies to raise them.
  • Upon receipt, you become responsible for the house, which marks the departure of the guarantees you receive (perfect completion, operation and decennial).

Video Instruction: Your First Time Renovation Questions Answered