News: UK introduces new measures to protect from cowboy builders

Fri, 08 Jun 12

The UK is implementing new measures to protect residents from cowboy builders, the Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced this week.

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. Today’s proposals will further protect people from shoddy work and raise the bar for self-check tradesmen.

Organisations running self-check schemes will now:

  • need to be accredited to an international quality standard in order to operate
  • have to assess that their members’ competence levels and actual work are up to national standards; and
  • be required to promote the membership and use of their schemes.

Stunell commented: '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.'

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