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Hi

In September we are moving out of our home to rent in Lower Normandy. After months of searching for the perfect property and not finding anything, we are now looking down the line of renovating or a new build. Can anyone give advise which is best. We are under the impression that a new build doesn't take any longer than renovation as you don't need to 'make right' what's already there.

Any ideas as to how much a 4 bed new build with another 4 bedroomed accommodation attached would cost us?

Any advise and ideas really welcome !

Thanks
 

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The simple answer is: LOTS.

Though Normandy is a bit more "anglified" due to its proximity to the UK, a 4 bedroom house is still considered a HUGE house in most parts of France. And to build two houses (in essence) on a single property will involve finding a good sized piece of land to start with. Local building requirements can be amazingly intricate and just plain bizarre with regard to placement of construction on the property, set-backs and (my favorite) where you can put windows and "lumieres" so as to insure the privacy of your neighbors.

British friends of mine built a house in a lottissement (development) a couple years ago, and they have tales to tell about "negotiating" with the builder to get him to build what they wanted rather than what the builder felt was the way to do things. Their finished house is gorgeous - complete with such marvels as installed carpet with an underpad! (unheard of in this part of France), and floorplan changes that gave them a genuine ensuite bath. They brought some fixtures in from the UK diy shops themselves because tastes and styles are so different here. Oh, and all that stuff from "A Year in Provence" about working with local artisans really is true - construction of any sort (build from scratch or renovation) takes much, much longer than you would imagine.

OTOH, Normandy is a region that seems to be a bit more open to new (or "foreign") ideas. You may want to start out by talking to a builder about the type of construction you'd be interested in and how much of a "challenge" it would be to build to your specifications.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Self-build is far more common here than in UK.

One advantage of a new-build is that you can go to a firm specialising in 'turn-key' solutions for water and electricity. You give them a plan with where you want the water pipes, the boiler, the rads, the sockets, etc, and you get a van deliver it all ready-marked up and prepped for you or your fitter to install with complete instructions.

Pil-Top in Voiron is one such company.
 
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