Last reviewed 25 November 2021

Giving its support to a Private Member’s Bill calling for the mandatory licensing of construction companies, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said that it would help protect consumers and reputable builders.

The Bill, introduced by Conservative MP Mark Garnier, will allow MPs to debate proposals to outlaw cowboy builders and provide compensation for their victims.

Currently, the FMB highlights, anyone can call themselves a builder without having to demonstrate any training, qualifications or experience. The only protection available to consumers who have fallen foul of shoddy building work is contract law, which is so complex and expensive that it is out of reach of most consumers.

Mr 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.”

The Bill seeks to give consumers confidence that they are choosing a licensed builder and to provide a simple complaints system where work has been sub-standard.

If complaints are upheld, the consumer may be entitled to compensation and offenders face having licences taken away.

The legislation would also protect reputable builders from being undercut by cowboy builders, who harm the reputation of the industry and, the FMB believes, put consumers off commissioning building work.

Its 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”.

In 2018, the FMB released its Licence to Build report, which found that 32% of homeowners were put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring someone unreliable.

The report can be found at https://www.fmb.org.uk/resource/licence-to-build-a-pathway-to-licensing-uk-construction.html.