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Builders’ licence legislation back on the table

12 Nov 21 The Federation of Master Builders’ campaign to create a compulsory licence scheme for the building trade has received a boost with a Conservative MP introducing draft legislation to parliament.

License to drill?
License to drill?

A Private Member’s Bill calling for the mandatory licensing of construction companies is being debated in parliament on 19th November 2021. The bill has been introduced by the Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest.

The legislation is being driven by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which wants to make all builders demonstrate their competence and buy a licence. While operatives o major construction sites are generally already required to have a skills card of some kind, builders in the domestic sector – FMB’s membership – require no proof of competence at all.

A year ago, faced with government indifference to its campaigningl, the FMB announced ‘a tactical pivot’, arguing instead that all domestic building firms should instead have to be Trustmark registered, or similar, just like firms working on Green Homes Grant jobs.

However, FMB has now decided to have another crack at Plan A and push its full licensing proposals. The motive, it says, it to drive out so-called ‘cowboy’ builders and raise standards.

Mark Garnier MP agrees. “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,” he said.

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The wording of the actual Bill says that the purposes of the licensing scheme are “to protect consumers who are not professional property developers, and to promote fair competition among reputable builders”.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB 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. Through our Licencing Construction Task Force, supported by over 40 organisations, the FMB has been advocating for such a licensing scheme to be introduced as a means to drive up standards in the building industry. A licence for building companies would help ensure professionalism within the building industry; reduce health and safety infringements; and counter high levels of consumer detriment in the market.”

The proposed Domestic Building Works (Consumer Protection) Bill is asking the government to consider the options to create a compulsory licensing system for the building trade.

Any building involving ‘structural changes to the building’ would only be allowed to be done by a licensed builders. This would include rood repairs as well as home extensions. Commercial buildings and commercial landlords would be excluded. They can still use whatever builder they want, under the plan.

The new regime would also introduce a complaints procedure through dissatisfied customers can seek financial compensation.

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MPU

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