Go local: why you should buy your new-build from a small building firm

Homeowners are twice as likely to be happy with houses built by smaller house builders

A person signing a form

Like most people, we're guilty of assuming big-brand companies have better-quality products than their smaller counterparts – whether that's clothes, jewellery, or even food.

So when it comes to big-ticket items like a new house (it doesn't get much bigger than that, after all), it's no surprise that most of us look to the bigger house-build firms to get the job done.

But research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) suggests that opting for small and medium-sized (SME) companies could get you a higher-quality build than the big-name alternatives.

The research shows that, among people who have bought a new-build home in the past five years, twice as many people (36 per cent) say they're 'very satisfied' with the quality of their house if purchased from a SME house builder, compared with those whose home was built by one of the top 20 large builders (17 per cent).

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: 'There is a popular misconception that new build homes are poor quality compared to period properties that were built to last. Small local house builders, who hang their hat on delivering high-quality new build homes, find this view immensely frustrating. 

'This research draws a clear distinction between what is being delivered by SMEs and what is being delivered by larger firms. For a small, local builder, reputation is everything. They will typically reside in the same community that they’re building in and are therefore doubly motivated to deliver a high quality product that the home buyer will love. Furthermore, SME building firms are more likely to work with a small team of broadly skilled tradespeople.'

Maybe it's time to think outside the box and go local for your next building project.

Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.