Small firms tend to feel the effects of any construction downturn more acutely than their larger cousins.
But the housing market has been at the centre of this year’s financial turmoil, and prospective house buyers are either opting for home improvements using smaller practitioners, or are spotting deals afforded by the housing bubble bursting.
Tom and Emily Hunt, both 28, spotted such a deal when buying their house in Sheffield earlier this year.
‘We bought a house, which was giving away a piece of land adjacent to it for free,’ says Tom Hunt. ‘Previously, the plot of land had two terraced houses on it, but the previous owners let them fall into disrepair so they were eventually knocked down.’
The Hunts contacted Bradford-based practice Halliday Clark to start working up proposals for a new-build house on the plot.
‘Buying the [existing] house was a vehicle to getting the land and making money from it,’ says Hunt.
‘It made real sense from a financial point of view. It means that we will be mortgage free in, hopefully, a year’s time.’
Halliday Clark director Adam Clark has seen three new clients in the last month asking for individual houses, but can only guess over the increase in work.
‘I think we’re getting the work as people haven’t been able to get the mortgage they wanted, or perhaps they have realised that with the change in planning policy they can do more to their houses than before without needing a planning application.’
How to bag this client:The Hunts saw Halliday Clark’s work on a bike ride, so keep your standards high and hope for wealthy groups of friends in need of extensions