House buyers are twice as likely to be satisfied with homes built by a small building company than by one of the majors, new research suggests.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has looked into satisfaction rates among people who have bought a newly-built home in the past five years. It found that 36% of those whose home was built by a small and medium-sized (SME) house-builder described themselves as ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of their new home.
By comparison, on 17% of customers of Top 20 house-builders were ‘very satisfied’ with the quality.
The FMB said that this showed that smaller local builders were better than big national ones.
Chief executive Brian Berry 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. Our research shows that you are twice as likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of your new home if it was built by an SME house-builder as opposed to one of the large top 20 firms. This research draws a clear distinction between what is being delivered by SMEs and what is being delivered by larger firms.”
Mr Berry continued: “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. For example, if an SME house-builder only employs three bricklayers, they all need to have a wide range of skills and experience. Large house-builders tend to use gangs of semi-skilled bricklayers who can lay row upon row of bricks in a line but only a handful of broadly skilled brickies who can turn corners, build chimneys and arches.”
He concluded: “If we are to improve the image of the house-building sector, all house-builders, large and small, need to put quality at the heart of every project. Not only will this make our industry more attractive to new entrants, including children and young people, it will soften planning committees to the prospect of new developments. We are in the midst of a serious housing crisis and in order to win people over and make them more pro-development, we need to deliver fantastic new homes that local people would be proud to have built in their community.”