Q: “We have downsized in the UK and bought a second home in Normandy and are looking forward to dividing our time between the two properties. We now need to organise the removal of our belongings to France but have a couple of concerns. Firstly, we have a lot of antiques and precious mementoes and we’re worried about damage during transit. Secondly, our Norman home is down a small and narrow country lane, with a tight turn onto our drive – will a removals lorry be able to get to our house?”
A: When it comes to entrusting your valuable possessions with a remover, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your goods will be well cared for.
All specialist items or items needing extra care, be these; paintings, mirrors, musical instruments etc can be packed in special cartons and with protective materials which have been approved by the British Association of Removers.
Items can also be ‘export wrapped.’ This is a method normally used for international shipments to give the highest level of protection during transit in a shipping container but can also be used for a move from the UK to France. The furniture is wrapped in a soft protective bubble blanket and taped with specialist strong export wrapping tape. This offers a higher level of protection than with standard blanket wrapping.
There is also the option of having wooden crates made for individual items to protect them during transit. The crates are specially made to fit the piece of artwork or furniture etc to ensure maximum protection during transit.
The important thing is to discuss any possessions which require special attention or anything that you’re concerned about moving, be these antiques, family heirlooms, fine art or wine collections etc, with your remover well in advance. They will advise you on how they will take care of these items and give you an idea of cost.
Moreover, choosing to move with an accredited member of the British Association of Removers (BAR), who work to a regulated Code of Conduct is important. The BAR, for example, offer training courses to ensure all removals operatives are professionally trained in loading and packing your items ready for transport and a BAR company will have the best trucks and equipment for your move and will also use the correct protective materials.
It’s also important to discuss the access at the French property with your removal company early on. If the property can be found on Google Earth, this will be a useful tool for the moving company to gauge access. Sometimes a shuttle service from the removal vehicle to the new home will need to be arranged. The surveyor will be able to advise you on this.
If the removal vehicle can access the property, as a guide, we advise that a moving van requires about 50ft of parking space. The closer the van can park to your property, the better for a more efficient and safe removal of possessions.
Equally, if there are internal features of the property such as small doorways or spiral staircases and so on which could affect the removal crew’s movement, also ensure that the removal company are aware early on.