For the Yvelines Building Federation, “there are happy people in our professions”

For the Yvelines Building Federation, “there are happy people in our professions”
For the Yvelines Building Federation, “there are happy people in our professions”

By

Florie Cedolin

Published on

May 14, 2024 at 1:20 p.m.

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• You were re-elected president of the French Building Federation of Yvelines (FFB 78) for a new term. Can you tell us who you are for those who don’t know you?

I am an electrician and locksmith-metalworker in Versailles. I created my business in 1996, with three employees at the start. There are now around twenty of us.

“Elected officials are listening to us”

• As president of FFB 78, what is your role?

Christophe Bouguin: the department counts 1,440 companies in the construction industry, which represents around 15,000 employees. Our federation is financially independent thanks to member contributions. As president, I am a volunteer. I do a lot of representation, particularly among local elected officials. The covid, the war in Ukraine, there were a lot of things. Today, elected officials are very attentive. We can also be consulted on certain national schemes such as Ma prime rénov. We are also more listened to by elected officials in the Senate or the National Assembly. I’m actually quite surprised.

Explain the different aids to individuals

• Precisely, there is a lot of help for renovating your home, insulating it… Individuals often have difficulty finding their way around. What about on the business side?

It’s true, customers are often lost. I suggested going to town halls, holding public meetings, to explain all this help, explain to people how to get it. A dozen town halls responded favorably. It is also our role to tell people what construction companies are capable of providing them.

• And what about Yvelines construction companies?

We set up training for employees. We also provide legal support or even on new standards. This afternoon, for example, we are offering training provided by an insurer to find out what contract companies that make solar panels should take.

“We need to better explain our jobs to young people”

• There is a lot of talk about the lack of labor for construction companies. Is the Yvelines department also affected by this phenomenon?

Of course. For example, for a year we have been looking for a window installer. I think we need to better explain our jobs. To do this, we participate in forums in schools. The objective is to tell young people that there are happy people in our professions! There are great successes, we must make them known.

• Does the profession attract young people?

Raise awareness among young people, it’s a duty. Building is generally not the first choice. We need to attract young people. Positive point, we notice that there are more and more young girls joining the building. But it remains difficult. The CFA (apprentice training center) in Aubergenville is closing. It’s a real tragedy for us. Only Trappes remains in the department. However, it is vital for our businesses. Today, for example, an apprentice metalworker from Yvelines must go and train in Hauts-de-Seine.

The slowdown in the real estate market has consequences

• Does the slowdown in the real estate market have any effects on construction companies in Yvelines?

We are much less ahead than before. Before, we had order books completed over three to six months. Now, it’s more like two to three months. And 2025 promises to be just as complicated. In Yvelines, housing starts fell by 34%. We lost 0.8% of employees in construction.

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• Does the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in France, and particularly in Yvelines, have consequences on the work of artisans?

All scaffolding on the street must be removed at the end of May for example. Obviously, this brings complications that we didn’t necessarily need, even if we were happy that France was chosen. But this doesn’t happen at the right time. The Paralympic Games at the beginning of September are not easy either.

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