Nearly 80% of builders and consumers support licensing construction

Almost 80% of builders and homeowners are calling on the government to introduce a licensing scheme for the UK construction industry, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The trade body has published an independent research report by Pye Tait, which details the benefits of introducing the scheme for the whole construction industry as it looks to stamp out rogue traders.

New consumer research undertaken by the FMB has also highlighted the impact poor-quality building firms were having on consumers.

Key results from both pieces of research include:

  • 77% of small- and medium-sized construction firms support the introduction of licensing to professionalise the industry
  • 78% of consumers also want to see a licensing scheme for construction introduced
  • nearly 90% of homeowners believe that the government should criminalise rogue and incompetent builders
  • over half of people (55%) who commission home improvement work have had a negative experience with their builder

Brian Berry, chief executive at the FMB, said it was unacceptable that more than half of consumers had had a negative experience with their builder.

“However, we shouldn’t be surprised by this given that in the UK, it is perfectly legal for anyone to set up a building firm and start selling their services without any prior experience or qualifications.

“This cannot be right given the nature of the work and the potential health and safety risks when something goes wrong.

“In countries like Australia and Germany, building firms require a licence and we want to see the UK government regulate our industry in a similar manner.”

Looking at how the scheme might work, Brian said that it did not need to be too costly or bureaucratic.

“We are suggesting that the scheme covers all paid-for construction work by firms of all sizes, not just those working in the domestic sector.

“Fees should be tiered and could start at as little as £150 every three to five years, with the largest contractors paying around £1,000 over the same period.

“In terms of how it’s governed, the licence should be administered by a single authority with a broad range of scheme providers sitting underneath.

“We are now keen to reach out to the whole construction sector to get their input on the proposal.

“If we can demonstrate broad support for this approach, we are optimistic that the government will take it forward.”

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