The five ages of building

The five ages of building

The FMB can reveal some interesting, new findings into the generational differences in terms of the work homeowners have done to their houses.

The research found that twenty somethings are far more aspirational than older generations. Young homeowners want to add value and create a stylish look for their home. While those in their thirties and forties are much more practical in their building needs. Then, as people approach retirement they are more likely to spend money on maintaining the fabric of their property, with half as many sixty-year-old homeowners wanting to add decking or a new patio than thirty somethings.

Twenty somethings

• Given unlimited cash, half of homeowners in their 20s would install a new kitchen, conservatory, loft extension, redesign their garden, add decking or redecorate their house – far higher than any other generation. They would also fit new carpets and wardrobes.

• Less than one in ten homeowners in their 20s would spend their cash on re-wiring their homes or replacing gutters – something far more popular with those in their fifties and sixties. Bottom of their list were also re-pointing, new boilers, radiators or replacing rotten timber.

Thirty somethings

• Homeowners in their thirties and forties, when children often come first, have more practical priorities. Top of the list came extensions, an extra bathroom, and replacing worn out carpets.
• Half of 30-somethings however, would like decking or a new patio added to their home – double those in their 60s
• More than half of 30-somethings would have a water feature built in their garden and one in three would add a pergola – double the number of over forties who would do this


• Perhaps in the search for more space, without moving, conservatories are top of the list of what 40-somethings have done in their homes. New kitchen, loft conversion, new carpets and a new bathroom are also top choices.


• Sensible choices, such as replacing worn out carpets, are top of the list of what 50-somethings do to their homes. Adding conservatories, kitchens, bathrooms and loft conversions are the most popular forms of building work for this age group.

Sixty- somethings

• With warmth an important issue as we get older, new boilers and radiators are top of the list for the sixty somethings, as well as new carpets, new bathrooms or new kitchens.

Robin Hood-Leeder, Director of Membership Services at the Federation of Master Builders was intrigued at these findings.

“Surprisingly, we found that the new generation of homeowners in their 20s are least inclined to take risks with their building investment, and 70% of them are willing to spend a little extra to protect any building work with an insurance backed warranty,” he said.

The MasterBond insurance-backed warranty can only be offered by builders who belong to the TrustMark endorsed FMB MasterBond scheme.

The FMB has teamed up with TV property developer Sarah Beeny to produce a free guide, ‘Practical tips for building success,’ offering advice to those of any age considering building work. For a free copy call 08000 152 522 or log onto

The FMB also provides a whole host of advice on building matters, from searching for a property to do up, through to tips on the best improvements to increase the value of your home, how to deal with the stress of having the builders in, speaking builders’ lingo and even what to do if things go wrong. All this information is free on FMB’s findabuilder website.

Homeowners can download a free plain English contract to help them set up their job properly from the start and to keep the project on the straight and narrow.

The FMB advises any homeowner seeking reputable, professional builders to visit the for a list of FMB builders in their area, but advises caution when choosing their builder. Be clear about the work you want done, obtain written quotations from two or three different builders, ask for references, check their previous work and avoid dealing in cash.