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Building on strong foundations


“Without a good contractor who takes foundations seriously, you are sunk.” This statement is often heard by private house builders and public authorities when it comes to laying the foundation for a solid building. However, when choosing a real specialist in his field, it is essential to find someone who knows how to build a foundation that will last. “The best way to protect yourself and your home is to appoint a wellestablished contractor who knows his trade and who can fall back on a long reference list,” points out President Julien Nicoli who is proud of Temsol’s long-standing reputation for quality foundation work throughout France.

Temsol was founded in 1959 by Monsieur Cassous, and, today, the Cassous family is still a 100% shareholder of the company and its five offices in France, including representations in Bordeaux, Tours, Périgord, Var and Toulouse. In its early years, Temsol’s main focus was on ground drillings, but in the course of years other activities were added to its product and service portfolio.

“We also took on international projects and were active outside our home market for some time, but we decided to concentrate solely on France,” points out Mr. Nicoli. Temsol is a true service provider in the field of foundation and masonries work. “We have always kept on innovating and looking profoundly at the work that is best for us and our corporate development,” says Mr. Nicoli. “We have defined three key activities. We offer geo-technical measurements and ground drilling, which in a sense is one of our historic activities, dating back to our early years. In addition, we build special foundations for new building projects that are well above average and require specialist know-how and expertise. In this area, we generate an annual turnover of six million EUR, which equals about a fifth of our annual turnover.

But the most import service by far is repair work for foundations and walls in the aftermaths of natural catastrophes like flooding, inundations or drying up of the soil or even desertification. This special area generated about 24 million EUR last year, against the backdrop of a total turnover of 31 million EUR.

Particularly the insurance sector is a key customer approaching Temsol on a regular basis. “We get into action as soon as a natural catastrophe and extreme weather conditions have struck. This always leads to a situation that often affects the foundation of a building. Here, we come in to inspect the foundation before repair work starts,” explains Mr. Nicoli. “The foundation is the most important part of any building. This aspect has to be taken into con sideration before our works starts. Often someone is still living in the building.”

Generally speaking, Temsol has to deal with different parties involved in this situation, and it has to keep in mind the positions of insurer, resident and expert witness alike. But this complex situation does not deter Temsol from doing its job properly. “We can fall back on long-standing experience and provide the right staff, the right equipment and the right specialist know-how to manage such projects,” adds Mr. Nicoli. When it comes to special foundations, Temsol often acts as a subcontractor to large contractors, as it has special solutions at hand. “We are often called in by house builders and by large contractors throughout France who do not have the specialists to take on foundation work,” stresses Mr. Nicoli. “We do not provide standard solutions but rather develop a special solution for every situation. Proper detailing is essential here. For instance, we completed a large project for the foundation at the main lock in Caen. This is where all the mega tankers have to pass.”

The foundation as the most important part of any building has to carry the whole weight. Various ground conditions and local particularities are not to be overlooked. Today, most foundations are made of concrete, nevertheless, even concrete is not waterproof, and a waterproof coating is usually brushed on the outside of the foundation. “Drainage and landscaping are important aspects of our work,” adds Mr. Nicoli. When it comes to ground drillings, Temsol is often called in by engineering companies that fall back on drilling experts like Temsol. “These customers do not dispose of the appropriate material to take on the drilling themselves. Most geo-technical projects require highly complex measurements and drillings. For instance, we measured the nitroglycerine content for an environmental study,” says Mr. Nicoli.

Today, Temsol is a well-established name in the market. It has been listed with insurance companies, which entrust the company even with most complex projects. “We have the manpower and the equipment and are certified to ISO standards,” points out Mr. Nicoli. “We are often informed before an invitation to a tender for a new building project is issued.”

The crisis hit the construction industry at full force. “We anticipated this development as early as 2009 and shifted our focus from the private building sector to the public sector. Here, we have been involved with a number of road and bridge projects recently. So now, our main customer base is the public sector, which has secured us a competitive edge,” stresses Mr. Nicoli.

Temsol has built up a network of five offices in France in order to stay in close contact with its customers; however, not all its offices are active in all three business segments. While its Bordeaux representation focuses on measurements and drillings, Tours has another key focus. “However, we are going to change this division. In addition, we are about to open a new representation in Paris that will also offer measurements for engineering projects,” says Mr. Nicoli. “We are thinking about setting up new divisions in Bordeaux and Tours which offer special foundation work.”

Until today, Temsol has been working with insurers in the multi-risk sector, focusing mainly on household insurances. But this situation is going to change, with Temsol taking on various kinds of insurances. “We are currently thinking of opening another agency in Languedoc- Roussillon, as the region has a high future potential,” points out Mr. Nicoli. It seems that Temsol is still developing its huge potential.

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