After having problems with the quality and completion of works using other architects and builders, we sought a project manager to engage new contractors, review previous works and quote to repair and complete renovations at our second home in France. Any concerns about the additional costs incurred by having a project manager were far outweighed by Martin’s professionalism, practical, sensible and realistic advice on options and costs. We really appreciate his ability to tightly manage contractors on our behalf, maintain clear lines of communication on progress, handle any complications and provide solutions during the various builds, including clean up and completion. Martin resolved and repaired the many defects in prior works and we continue to engage his excellent management skills on projects and ongoing maintenance of our property in France. No task is too big or small and he always goes out of his way to help even to the extent of keeping our neighbours informed of any works which might disturb them regarding noise, access or unusual activity. He would have saved us significant costs and eliminated the associated stress had we employed him as the project manager on the original works. He is a true gentleman with a friendly, down to earth approach that is appreciated by all the people he deals with; clients, contractors, local officials, utility personnel and neighbours.
Having never used a Project Manager before, we weren’t certain how it worked or confident that the quality of works would be maintained without us in the country to oversee it personally. We were nervous about when we would be expected to pay for services and what would happen if we weren’t happy with works on our return. Martin has managed multiple projects for us including a complicated external restoration application. He surveyed the site and presented us with a variety of options and prices to include coordination and translation of official documents such as quotes, certificates and planning permissions. During the works, he also identified and solved an underlying issue with the land at the back of the property which was creating a long-standing damp problem in the house. He sourced a contractor and liaised with our neighbour for completion of the work on their land. Martin is very professional, well connected and presents your project clearly. He really gets to know you and your expectations and has provided us with lots of extra advice as we adapt to our new life in France. All costs are agreed upfront and if any additional issues are uncovered during a project, they are clearly called out and discussed before confirming your approval to proceed. He is highly respectful of your property so fiercely protects the integrity of the work he undertakes on your behalf and because his professional advice is well recognised by local artisans and officials, they work hard for you in return.
Having retired and sold our property in the UK, we had already viewed several houses but needed someone who could advise about French buildings. Trawling the internet and choosing someone unknown to us was something of a “leap in the dark” bearing in mind we were committing a large part of our savings. We arranged to meet on site at our preferred property and walk through the survey with Martin. At the last minute the seller pulled out, which Martin reassured us was not uncommon. We eventually surveyed the top two houses on our revised list with him and his advice on French construction techniques along with a detailed knowledge of electrical, drainage and building regulations was invaluable. His careful deconstruction of what we had just seen helped guide us through the pros and cons enabling us to view the properties sensibly with a new knowledge of possible expense. He helped us judge with our heads rather than our hearts. The builders Martin used on our property were true craftsmen and delivered more than we could have hoped for. Our French language skills were not really up to an ongoing liaison but his services included translation, constant updates, on site visits, phone calls and emails. At every stage we were kept informed of progress and costs (both known and discovered!). From the moment we met Martin and the subsequent works undertaken, our first impression of a thorough professional has been confirmed.”
A local estate agent recommended Martin to us and it was good to have him on board as part of our team to discuss our ideas and mull things over as we had never bought in France before. We really appreciated his sound advice and technical expertise. Each time we viewed a house together we learnt a great deal about potential issues and why it might not be “the one”. He helped us see things more clearly and choose more wisely. After visiting eight properties with Martin, we finally bought the ninth one with confidence. He guided us through negotiations with estate agents, and the administration process with solicitors and the local mayor asking all the important questions making us feel like we were in safe hands. I would say to anyone buying in France, pick up the phone and call him, don’t try to do it on your own without the technical advice of an expert. We are looking forward to the coming months as our longed-for-project starts to grow into our new home in France.”
When we met Martin we immediately knew he was just who we were looking for to help us achieve our very ambitious plans for a derelict farm in the Charente we had purchased. He is very friendly and easy to work with. We encountered many problems trying to work directly with French builders, plumbers and electricians before meeting Martin. We didn’t have any selection process and insufficient French to direct them properly. Martin solved these problems immediately. He proceeded with our main project in a very organised and efficient manner while also advising on a sensible order for carrying out the works. To date, Martin has delivered numerous projects for us which illustrates the wide range of property-related matters he can work on successfully including creating a habitable base in the gite on site for us to use during the on-going renovations. He has obtained planning permission for conversion of a barn to a house as well as an agreement for a swimming pool outside the area originally designated for building. Martin is highly diplomatic and attuned to the local community. He negotiated with the Mairie and assisted with the purchase of additional land adjacent to our property to improve access, as well as liaising with the local farmer to release some farmed land from the agricultural bail back to the grounds of the house to increase privacy. After having the gardens cleared, he also employed a groundsman to keep them tidy in our absence.
It was a great comfort to find a professionally qualified British surveyor who had lived in France for some time and who therefore understood the French property market and building standards. With Martin representing our sole interests we were confident he could explain and steer us through the practical and legal minefield of purchasing property in France. After purchase we needed a considerable amount of building and refurbishment work done and we employed Martin’s services again as our project manager. His professional advice proved invaluable and we appreciated his patience and understanding in explaining and overcoming any problems arising during the works. He is willing to adapt the scope of his services to fulfil his client’s specific needs, often going beyond his normal remit. As we were only resident for 12-14 weeks a year, Martin provided continuity and had our total trust and confidence to efficiently manage the works on our behalf. His detailed ‘technical’ French knowledge when dealing with utility suppliers and local government authorities has helped us avoid the pitfalls and frustrations of the French system and saved us so much time."