New measures have been put in place to help protect people from cowboy builders Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced Wednesday (June 6th).
Tradesmen who operate under self check schemes, which allow them to check their own work, will be required to meet higher standards and prove they meet the right levels of quality, giving householders the peace of mind that work on their homes is up to scratch.
The measures will also ensure that householders have a financial safety net in place such as a guarantee or insurance, to catch them if self-check installers fail to finish work properly or if they can't be chased through the courts.
Around 85,000 complaints are made about building work in homes each year according to the Office of Fair Trading.
Current self-check schemes have conditions in place to keep the cowboys out. These proposals will further protect people from shoddy work and raise the bar for self-check tradesmen.
Organisations running self-check schemes will now:
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:
"Cowboys builders that leave behind a trail of shoddy work costing householders thousands to put right, give the rest of the industry a bad name. We are determined to keep the cowboys from infecting self-check schemes, which let hardworking competent tradesman get on with providing high quality work, quickly and at fair prices.
"I'm determined to ensure that consumers are properly protected. By raising the bar even higher for self-check tradesman, we are sorting the rogues from the professionals, making it easier for people to identify competent installers and giving them the confidence that they will receive a high quality of work - or be protected if they don't."
1. In the year to March 2011, Consumer Direct received 70,000 complaints from consumers about general home improvements, maintenance and repairs, and an additional 15,000 specifically about the (window and conservatory) glazing sector. (Source: Home Repairs and Improvements: A Research Report by TNS-BMRB for the Office of Fair Trading, June 2011 www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/othermarketswork/home-repairs/ (external link)).
2. The new conditions of authorisation for Competent Person scheme operators are now published, together with an impact assessment and the summary of responses to consultation: www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/buildingregulations/competentpersonsschemes/.
3. Also published is an invitation for applications to be made to the Department for new or extended schemes. Details can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/buildingregulations/competentpersonsschemes/howapply/.
4. Installers of windows and boilers and other tradesmen can be part of Competent Person schemes which allow them to self-check (i.e. self-certify) the compliance of their work with Building Regulations. The self-check system cuts out the need for checking by the local authority or other third parties, allowing quality work to be done quickly and saving the customer money.