Whether you are retiring to France, starting a new life or buying a holiday home the one thing that links everybody is property.

So what happens in France?

Interestingly enough, surveyors as we understand them in the UK do not exist. It is not obligatory to have a survey on any property that you are buying but, like the UK in days gone by, it is advisable, especially if the building is old.

Enter the Maître d’Oeuvre – literally the “Master of Works”. Not just a surveyor but also an independent professional, qualified in the whole buildings process from planning applications to managing artisans through all phases of construction and renovation.

A Maître d’Oeuvre often (although not necessarily) acts as a bridge between the architect and the end client and building companies – a project manager but with knowledge of building regulations necessary for all the stages of the French equivalent of planning approval and building control.

In France, for private projects, there are no building control inspections. It is up to the Maître d’Oeuvre and the individual artisans to guarantee that the building works conform to the regulations – For those who undertake the work themselves, they too are subject to the same regulations which means in effect that an individual would have to guarantee their work for ten years!