The Federation of Master Builders has backed a private member’s bill calling for the mandatory licensing of construction companies, saying it will help protect consumers and reputable builders.
The bill, introduced by the Conservative MP Mark Garnier, proposes to outlaw cowboy builders and provide compensation for their victims. Currently, anyone can call themselves a builder without having to demonstrate any training, qualifications or experience. The only protection for consumers who have fallen foul of shoddy building work is complex contract law, which is expensive and out of reach of most consumers.
The bill proposes a simple complaints system where consumers are entitled to compensation for work deemed to be sub-standard. Offenders face having licences taken away. It would also protect reputable builders from being undercut by cowboy builders, who harm the reputation of the industry and put consumers off commissioning building work.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry 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.”
Mark Garnier 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.”