Construction Industry Launches Licensing Task Force

The construction industry has come together to look at opportunities to develop a mandatory licensing scheme for all UK construction companies to transform the sector into a high quality and professional industry, announces TrustMark, the Government Endorsed Quality Scheme for tradespeople.

A new Construction Licensing Task Force, which includes TrustMark, will be supported by a range of leading industry bodies and will lead the development of the licensing scheme.
 
Key statistics relating to licensing and the need for such a scheme are as follows:

  • One third (32%) of homeowners are put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring a dodgy builder;
  • This means that the UK economy could be missing out on £10 billion of construction activity per year because of anxiety over rogue building firms;
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms support the introduction of licensing to professionalise the industry, protect consumers and side-line unprofessional and incompetent building firms;
  • 78% of consumers also want to see a licensing scheme for construction introduced;
  • Nearly 90% of home owners believe that the Government should criminalise rogue and incompetent builders;
  • Over half of people (55%) who commission home improvement work have had a negative experience with their builder.

The decision to establish a Construction Licensing Task Force follows a recommendation in an independent research report by Pye Tait published last year entitled ‘Licence to build: A pathway to licensing UK construction’, which details the benefits of introducing a licensing scheme for the whole construction industry and puts forward a proposal for how it could work.
 
The Task Force will be chaired by Liz Peace CBE, former CEO 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
  • TrustMark
  • Which? Trusted Traders

Liz Peace CBE, 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 £10 billion per year. Enough is enough and the industry itself recognises that.”
 
Peace continued: “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 BEIS and 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.”


Simon Ayers, Chief Executive of TrustMark, said: “We welcome the development of a mandatory licensing scheme for all builders as it will significantly enhance the levels of protection consumers can rely on, whilst driving up standards in the industry.  I am delighted to be part of the Construction Licensing Task Force and to be able to play a role in transforming a sector which is plagued with rogues.  By working together with the FMB, one of our Scheme Operators, we can deliver the best outcomes possible for both consumers and the trades within our scheme.”

For further information about TrustMark, visit www.trustmark.org.uk