Lack of reliable builders to blame for half of home renovators putting off work

Scarcity of good builders among the top reasons why people put off renovation work on their homes

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Home renovation can be a costly and stressful business, especially for first-time homeowners. From planning permission rules to the noise and inconvenience of the work itself, there are many elements of home renovation projects that can deter some of us from even taking it on in the first place. But it's the lack of reliable builders that's the biggest problem faced by would-be renovators. 

Around eight in 10 homeowners have faced problems when planning their home improvement project, according to a new YouGov survey of 2,000 adults conducted on behalf of HomeOwners Alliance and Resi Architects. The figures are even higher in London, where 87 per cent of home owners have experienced problems. Finding a reliable builder is a significant barrier to going ahead with renovation work, with nearly half (42 per cent) reporting this as a major issue nationwide, which means that as many as 7.2 million UK home owners are affected. 

'We have a systemic lack of construction workers in the UK, which we’ve had for a while, and that Brexit is only going to worsen,' comments Alex Depledge, CEO of Resi. Shockingly, for an industry which builds the backbone of the economy, it’s unregulated, with a serious lack of transparency. There is no career path laid for the sector and little governance or accreditation.

'The overall quality is so varied, depending on who you are lucky – or unlucky enough – to get. It’s no wonder that finding a reliable builder is such a big obstacle for people when it comes to renovating their homes. There needs to be urgent reform to regulate the industry, so that people know what they are getting and can easily find a builder they can trust.'

Other notable obstacles to carrying our home improvements include the rules and regulations that go with planning permission, which put off more than a quarter (27 per cent) of homeowners, and the prohibitive VAT costs, which prevent 23 per cent of homeowners from going through with renovating, and contribute to the continued practice of paying builders cash in hand, with 31 per cent admitting to having paid cash for past home improvement jobs.

Want to avoid these renovation pitfalls? Make life easier by consulting our guide on how to find a good builder and visit our dedicated renovations hub page for advice on everything from planning permission to the design of your project.

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.