Cowboy Builders: 8 Ways to Avoid Them!

a woman looking sceptically at a builder on the doorstep
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cowboy builders can turn your dream extension or renovation into a living nightmare, leaving you with uncompleted work and a diminished budget. Avoiding them is vital for your project to be a success, and there are several red flags to look out for. 

When you begin your search to find a builder, it’s important to remember that not all builders are the same. Cowboy builders can ruin your home and your finances, as Richard Holmes discovered this year. Richard, based in Stoke-on-Trent told Homebuilding & Renovating that his builder abandoned a single-storey extension job having taken a £10,000 deposit up front. 

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and was the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating from 2019 until the beginning of 2023. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.