New licensing scheme aims to improve builders’ image

12 June 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

A group of major construction industry bodies – including the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) – has joined together to develop a mandatory licensing scheme for all UK construction companies in a bid to improve the sector’s image.

The creation of a Construction Licensing Task Force, which the groups hope will lead to the development of the licensing scheme, follows an independent research report by Pye Tait published last year entitled ‘Licence to build: A pathway to licensing UK construction'.

The Task Force will be chaired by Liz Peace, former chief executive of the British Property Federation, and the following organisations will sit on it:

The organisations involved cited a series of statistics highlighting the need for such a scheme including research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) showing that one third (32%) of homeowners are put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring a dodgy builder, meaning that the UK economy could be missing out on £10bn of construction activity per year because of anxiety over rogue building firms;
Meanwhile, they claimed that more than three-quarters (77%) of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms support the introduction of licensing to professionalise the industry.
Liz Peace, chair of the Construction Licensing Task Force, said: “Mandatory licensing has the potential to transform our industry into a world-leading sector. Licensing will help drive up standards and help address the issue of quality and professionalism, which is some areas, is falling short. At the heart of what we’re trying to do is increase protection for the ordinary person who engages with the construction sector. Indeed, according to research by the FMB, one third of homeowners are so worried about having a bad experience with their builder, they are putting off commissioning construction work altogether. This could be costing the economy as much as £10bn per year. Enough is enough and the industry itself recognises that.”
She added: “Licensing has support in principle from more than 30 construction organisations and consumer groups. The Task Force will be supported by major players and in an industry that is often criticised for being too fractured and disparate, I am heartened by the fact that the sector is coming together to lead the industry in a new direction. I’m also pleased that senior civil servants from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will sit on the Task Force as observers as government engagement right from the outset is crucial to the successful development of the scheme.”


This has been far too long coming, categorising according to experience and qualifications should be considered, so that all building companies are not put under one umbrella.

Bernie Smith MCABE. C.Build. FCIOB, 13 June 2019

Licensing would be acceptable to the big boys because they could afford the admin costs involved, whereas the small extension builders might not.
Just another scheme to line pockets.

tony, 13 June 2019

As Chartered Builder and a retired owner of a small building company, already registered and paying fees to a trade/professional bodies & CITB, what we don’t want is another layer of fees and administration that just rubber stamps with a license what is already a compliant and bona fide business. Agreed there are too many poor quality and rogue trading builders, many trading below the radar, licensing will not stop this. To weed the industry of this bad reputation, if I were on the task force group, I would be insisting the license was a legal requirement of all building work carried out, applicable to both builder and client, enforced by building control having sight and approving the proposed builders license before work commences, that would help to limit rogue trading. Then there is the question of what qualifies you to be licensed? Also who will monitor a license? Can it be revoked? Aren’t trade bodies already acting in this role including people like Which & Trust a Trader. There needs to be representation on the Task Force from Small Building Company as well as the FMB.

Peter Dusek, 14 June 2019

We definitely don't need another Quality mark, Accredited CfSH assessor, CSCS nor Green Deal competency scheme which only benefits the odd training provider and BRE. We need a robust licensing scheme that links skills/knowledge to the type of project undertaken e.g. Listed buildings, Ecobuild, MMC/Modular. Training will need to be compulsory similar to that of Passivhaus (so not tick box) and not necessary to then "tick" again by CSCS. Government should then only use this system to award contracts and move away from only accepting the lowest price when approving tenders. If government has confidence in the scheme then the private sector will follow.

Tim Fenn, 17 June 2019

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