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News: Nest-building urge costs mums dear

Pregnant women in the UK spend £1/2 billion annually on their properties when the ‘nesting urge’ strikes and they rush to prepare the perfect home for their new baby.

This is according to the latest survey by TrustMark, the government-backed scheme to help the public find reputable tradespeople. The survey found that 80% of new mothers in the UK renovated their home prior to their child’s birth. The urge hits strongest in the second trimester, with 71% feeling the need to get the builders in at 24 weeks into their term.

However, making the home ready for a new family member isn’t all plain sailing. Four in ten (40%) new mothers made lifestyle sacrifices to ensure work was done in time and almost one in five (18%) claim that having the work done was actually more stressful than childbirth!

Tellingly, just 16% of those interviewed had done any checks on the tradesmen they let into their homes.

The Midlands spent the most on nesting syndrome (£1091 per family). Yorkshire & Humberside spent the least (£704). National average spent was £870.

The nesting urge was strongest among Londoners with 28% of new mothers listing home improvements during their pregnancy as their number one priority. The Midlands listed it as the lowest (14%).

Yorkshire & Humberside performed worst at not asking for references - 91% of new mothers admitted not checking up on the tradespeople they used.

The South West performed best with 26% checking for references. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Yorkshire & Humberside polled highest in the Britain (22%) in feeling they had been ripped off.

London polled highest in being aggrieved that the work was not done in time (23%).

Gail Werkmeister, president of the National Childbirth Trust said: "Many expectant parents do seem to refurbish their homes before the baby arrives, driven by the urge to create a safe and perfect home for them and their new baby."

"If building work falls behind schedule or is not completed to satisfaction, expectant parents may well experience unnecessary stress. Parents have many things to think about and cope with leading up to their baby’s birth; it would certainly be helpful for them to know the tradesmen they employ are reliable which is why a scheme such as TrustMark is a good idea."

Ian Livsey, chairman of TrustMark added, "Understandably mums-to-be want to find a tradesman quickly and efficiently. But they shouldn’t make rushed decisions. For a less stressful pregnancy and more successful home improvement, we advise people to use TrustMark. It’s an easy process, helping you find properly checked firms within your local area, and a single logo to look out for which signposts reputable tradespeople."

TrustMark is based around a set of government-endorsed standards for trade associations, certification bodies and other organisations that wish to become approved scheme operators. Only these scheme operators are allowed to award the TrustMark logo to firms.

When a firm displays the TrustMark logo it signifies that:

  • One of TrustMark’s approved scheme operators has checked the firm’s technical skills, trading record and financial position
  • The firm has signed up to a code of practice that includes insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care
  • The scheme operator has checked and will continue to monitor the firm’s quality of work, trading practices and customer satisfaction
  • The firm will tell customers about any building regulations they must meet, and may also be able to give the certificates they need
  • If a customer has a problem or disagreement with the firm, there will be a clear and user-friendly complaints procedure to help sort out the problem
  • If the firm doesn’t automatically provide insurance cover, the customer has the option to buy a warranty in case it goes out of business.

In return, customers are expected to deal fairly with the firm, agree a fair price for good work and pay quickly when the job is finished.

For further information about TrustMark, go to www.trustmark.org.uk

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