Logo Association Nationale Compagnons Bâtisseurs (ANCB)

Supported self-renovation: building solidarity

Summary : Supported self-renovation (ARA) is an approach aimed at assisting residents in difficulty to solve their housing problems, whether tenants or owners, by involving them in the renovation of their home while supported by a professional and volunteers from the civic service.

Share this report


  • Start date : 1957
  • Implementation site : France
  • Budget : 3300000 €
  • Source and details on funding : FSCA, ANAH, civic service, DGALN, DGCS, DJEPVA, INJEP, Regions, cities, EPCI, CNAF,
  • Appendix n°1
  • Appendix n°2




Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  12/06/2014
Opinion of the Committee : Should be generalized !
Solution(s) : Fuel poverty Housing Job
Country :  France, Bretagne
Stature of the programme :  National
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Universal, Bottom Of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Domain :  Work, Housing, Energy, Education, Training

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Energy Poverty »

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Farrak Nordine , « Supported self-renovation: building solidarity », **Journal RESOLIS** (2014)

Background to the programme

Since 1955, the movement Compagnons Bâtisseurs (Fellow Builders) has spread over France, where young volunteers are involved on Castor building sites. The French section was created in 1957.

Now in 2014, the Compagnons Bâtisseurs are operating in 10 regions and are currently the only network of supported self-renovation organisations at the national level and coordinated by the leader of the network, ANCB. It supports the development of new projects.

Objectives of the programme

The ANCB aims to promote a supported self-renovation process. Thus, the national association develops supported self-rehabilitation projects through support for local actors in project management. It can also ensure the spreading of the initiative to new areas by accompanying the structuring of a local operator or a new Compagnons Bâtisseurs association. This support is realised with the experience and expertise of our network and the support of our national partners.

Implemented actions

The Compagnons Bâtisseurs network intervenes for:

- The improvement of the building to fight against energy poverty through supported self-renovation and self-building projects

- Economic integration in the building sector ... by participatory and training sites, intended to remove the obstacles to the employment of people in great difficulty.

- The reception and support of volunteers and young volunteers, who are at the heart of the Compagnons Bâtisseurs movement

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

In 2012, the network worked on 916 building sites (2190 people), 819 collective events and welcomed 116 volunteers from the civic service.

The project is involved in the social sphere of people in very precarious housing and employment. ARA's approach and the involvement of young volunteers on the side of poor or very modest inhabitants reveals the twin dynamic of 'empowerment' and popular education. The impact in terms of home improvement (eg thermal renovation in the context of the fight against energy poverty) and professional learning are direct and lead to remobilisation in terms of personal, social links and socio-professional inclusion.

Original characteristics

The originality of ARA is to provide a dual response to a poorly-housed public who also suffer from problems requiring social support. This dual competence (technical and social) forms an asset that enables excellent results to be achieved in terms of social inclusion. ARA has an additional advantage because of its complementarity with existing systems and its adaptability to local conditions.

As part of the fight against energy poverty, this type of approach not only helps to educate households by involving them directly (which improves the chances that they'll then take ownership of it and use the property well afterwards), but also to reduce the cost of the work by reducing labour charges for less intensive work.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

The actions of the Compagnons Bâtisseurs are part of a regional project that mobilises different partners: Local authorities, State services, welfare offices (CAF), Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA), Community Centres for Social Action (CCAS ), Donors, National Housing Agency (ANAH), Foundations ... invested in housing politics, social cohesion and youth, the improvement of quality of life, training and professional integration.


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

On the one hand, limited and insufficient access to public funding through ANAH subsidies for private housing, and on the other, poor inscription in the ARA approach on social housing with the launch of the next Urban Renovation Program (PRU). The risks caused by the relative standard for the quality of the work, by the legislative and regulatory vagueness related to people's status and, finally, the lack of a structured approach to the professionalisation of the sector.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

To remove these obstacles, several proposals are made (see 12 proposals for the contribution of the ARA to the energy renovation plan of homes). Their implementation is not subject to a special "regulatory system" but a set of rules and conditions to be met.

Suggestions for future improvement :

Possible future improvements that have been identified and initiated by the network of the Compagnons Bâtisseurs are:

Increased involvement in public policy and better financing of actions.

Implementation of a specific training program for ARA.

Creating an endowment to enable the funding of ARA projects.

A development program to enable all regions to benefit from this action.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

The main factor in its success was the structuring of the network of ARA operators. We must therefore create a denser web of operators in the area, connected by adherence to an ethical and methodological charter.

To know more

• Compagnons Bâtisseurs Policy Project: Building Solidarity

• 12 proposals for the contribution of supported self-renovation to the the energy renovation plan of homes

• Supported self-renovation: a philosophy at the crossroads of social action and

Share this report
Download the report