The Avenue - site progress photos with red bricks

This article will guide you on what to consider when seeking a local small builder in London for your home extension or refurbishment.

Looking for a reliable and high-quality local small builder in London for your home extension or refurbishment can be daunting. Good builders are often booked up well in advance and may not advertise their services extensively online. This article aims to guide you through what to consider when seeking a local small builder in London, ensuring that your home project runs smoothly and is completed to a high standard.

Whether you are a homeowner or an architect, identifying a trustworthy and skilled contractor is crucial for the success of your project. Our sister company, AFL Build, specialises in providing high-quality and sustainable building services in London.


Discover Architecture for London’s projects. If you would like to discuss your project please contact us.


Working with a local small builder

For projects such as home extensions, local small builders are often the best option due to their flexibility and personal approach. Despite the significant investment, these builders typically consist of small teams whose expertise and organisational skills vary widely. It’s essential to choose a builder who can offer a detailed and accurate quote, which may take 2-4 weeks to prepare.

If you approach a builder without detailed architectural plans and technical information, they are unlikely to provide an accurate price. This lack of clarity can lead to unexpected costs and complications. Therefore, working with an architect to prepare comprehensive documentation is advisable to secure a precise and reliable estimate.

Georgian interior traditional design with minimal interior and mid century furniture
Colebrooke Row built by AFL Build

How to find a reputable small builder in London

Homeowners’ biggest worry is finding the right builder. Everyone has heard horror stories about home renovation projects going wrong.

Personal recommendations

If you know a friend or neighbour who has recently completed a home project, ask to visit their property and discuss their experience. Find out what they found positive and what challenges they faced. However, even with personal recommendations, it’s crucial to follow the same precautions discussed in this guide to ensure the builder meets your specific needs.

Consult your architect

Architects often have a network of reliable builders they have worked with before. If you are working with an architect, ask them for recommendations. At Architecture for London, we offer comprehensive architectural services, including suggesting builders, organising tenders, and providing guidance on the suitability of contractors.

Federation of Master Builders (FMB)

The FMB sets high standards for its members, making it a good starting point for finding reputable builders. While there are competent builders who may not be members, FMB membership indicates a commitment to quality and professionalism.

The Avenue - site progress photos with red bricks

Key questions to ask a local small builder

Before hiring a builder, asking the right questions to assess their reliability and suitability for your project is essential.

  • What insurance do you hold?

Ensuring that the builder has adequate insurance protects you from potential liabilities.

  • Do you have an office team?

A well-organised builder typically has a support team to handle administrative tasks.

  • Who is responsible for ordering items such as taps and sinks?

Clarify responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings later.

  • Do I have to pay any money up front, and if so, how much?

Understanding payment terms helps in budgeting and avoiding disputes.

  • What contract types do you normally use?

Knowing the contract options can help you choose the one that best suits your project.

  • Who would be my project manager?

Identifying a point of contact ensures clear communication and accountability throughout the project.

Working with an architect can significantly aid in navigating the complexities of selecting and managing a local small builder, ensuring that your project is completed successfully and to a high standard.


Discover Architecture for London’s projects. If you would like to discuss your project please contact us.