The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has urged the government to introduce mandatory licences across the entire UK construction and engineering sector.
The construction body has said that “a comprehensive solution to the problem of ensuring competence” is needed to clamp down on “rogue and incompetent builders”.
Claiming that “licensing would provide a much higher level of assurance to consumers and improve quality and safety”, the FMB has presented the House of Lords with its report Licence to build: A pathway to licensing UK construction.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “The vast majority of builders and home owners want to see the construction industry professionalised and it is time for the government to act.
“It’s unacceptable that more than half of consumers have had a negative experience with their builder.
“However, we shouldn’t be surprised by this given that in the UK, it is perfectly legal for anyone to set up a building firm and start selling their services without any prior experience or qualifications.
He added: “This cannot be right given the nature of the work and the potential health and safety risks when something goes wrong.”
In countries like Australia and Germany, building firms already require a licence in order to set up a building or construction firm.
Under the FMB’s recommendations contractors should be made to pay licensing fees, ranging from £150 every three to five years for smaller firms, up to £1,000 over the same period for larger contractors.
Under the proposal a single authority would be in charge of governing and enforcing the licensing.
In its report, the FMB claims that mandatory licensing would improve consumer protection and would consequently improve the public perception of the industry as a whole.
The report also suggests that as public perception improves, the skills gap would be plugged as more children are encouraged take up careers in the sector.
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