New licensing scheme aims to improve builders’ image
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:
- Association of Consultancy and Engineering
- British Property Federation
- Chartered Institute of Building
- Construction Products Association
- Electrical Contractors Association
- Federation of Master Builders
- Glass and Glazing Federation / FENSA
- Local Authority Building Control
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
- Which? Trusted Traders
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.”