Call for mandatory licensing to ban cowboy builders


Silhouette of a man with building tools wearing a cowboy hat

A Private Member’s Bill is calling for the mandatory licensing of construction companies to ban cowboy builders

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said that the licensing will help to protect both consumers and reputable builders.

Under current laws, anyone can call themselves a builder without having to provide any evidence of training, qualifications or experience.

The only protection available to customers who have fallen foul of cowboy builders is contract law, which is far too complex and expensive for most to access.

The Bill will give consumers confidence and provide a simple complaints system that may entitle them to compensation if the work is of sub-standard quality. Offenders could also face having their licences revoked.

‘Tarnish the reputation of builders’

It will also protect reputable builders from being undercut by cowboy builders.

In 2018, the FMB released our Licence to Build Report, which found the following:

  • 32% of homeowners are put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring a dodgy builder.

  • 55% who commission home improvement work have had a negative experience with their builder.

  • 77% of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms support the introduction of licensing to professionalise the industry, protect consumers and side-line unprofessional and incompetent building firms.

  • 78% of consumers also want to see a licensing scheme for construction introduced

  • 90% of homeowners believe that the Government should criminalise rogue and incompetent builders.

‘Cowboy builders ruin the lives of their victims’

Mark Garnier MP said: “Cowboy builders ruin the lives of their victims and tarnish the reputation of the vast majority of builders who are decent, hard-working people. This Bill will help to end this scourge once and for all.”

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said: “Licenses for the building trade are long overdue and have widespread support in the industry. They will protect consumers, enhance the reputation of the industry, and provide a significant boost to the economy.

“Through our Licencing Construction Task Force, supported by over 40 organisations, the FMB has been advocating for such a licensing scheme to be introduced as a means to drive up standards in the building industry.

“A licence for building companies would help ensure professionalism within the building industry; reduce health and safety infringements; and counter high levels of consumer detriment in the market.”

The Bill, introduced by MP Mark Garnier, is being debated in Parliament on 19th November.

Source: pbc today

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