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The FMB Launches ‘Licence to Build’ Report

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The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has officially announced that almost 80% of builders and homeowners are calling on the Government to introduce a licensing scheme for the UK construction industry to finally stamp out rogue traders.

The benefits of introducing a licensing scheme for the whole construction industry, as well as a proposal for how it could work are detailed in an independent research report by Pye Tait and published by the FMB – ‘Licence to build: A pathway to licensing UK construction’. In addition, the FMB also conducted a new consumer research that revealed that most home owners support the introduction of a mandatory licensing scheme.

The key findings from both pieces of research include: 77% of small and medium-sized construction firms support the introduction of licensing to professionalise the industry, protect consumers and sideline the cowboys; 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; and over half of people (55%) who commission home improvement work have had a negative experience with their builder.

Commenting on the research report is Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB: “The vast majority of builders and homeowners want to see the construction industry professionalised and it is time for the Government to act. It’s unacceptable that more than half of consumers have 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.”

There are numerous advantages of introducing a licensing scheme, including health and safety benefits, the barring of the worst firms operating in the construction industry, increased consumer protection, as well as a more favourable impression of the industry, which could lead to more young people choosing a career in construction.

Berry explained that the proposal the report puts forward suggests a scheme that covers all paid-for construction work by firms of all sized, with fees starting at as little as £150 every three to five years.

“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,” Berry concluded.

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024