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Sat May 25 2024

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New clampdown on cowboys unveiled

7 Jun 12 Measures designed to protect consumers from rubbish builders have been announced by the government.


Tradesmen who operate under self check schemes, which allow them to check their own work, will be required to meet higher standards and prove they meet the right levels of quality, giving householders the peace of mind that work on their homes is up to scratch.

The measures will also ensure that householders have a financial safety net in place such as a guarantee or insurance, to catch them if self-check installers fail to finish work properly or if they cannot be chased through the courts.

Some 85,000 complaints a year are made about building work in homes, according to the Office of Fair Trading.

Current self-check schemes have conditions in place to keep the cowboys out. The new proposals will further protect people from shoddy work and raise the bar for self-check tradesmen, the government hopes.

Organisations running self-check schemes will now:

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  • need to be accredited to an international quality standard in order to operate
  • have to assess that their members' competence levels and actual work are up to national standards; and
  • be required to promote the membership and use of their schemes.

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said: "Cowboys builders that leave behind a trail of shoddy work costing householders thousands to put right, give the rest of the industry a bad name. We are determined to keep the cowboys from infecting self-check schemes, which let hardworking competent tradesman get on with providing high quality work, quickly and at fair prices.

"I'm determined to ensure that consumers are properly protected. By raising the bar even higher for self-check tradesman, we are sorting the rogues from the professionals, making it easier for people to identify competent installers and giving them the confidence that they will receive a high quality of work - or be protected if they don't."

The new conditions of authorisation for competent person scheme operators can be seen in full, together with an impact assessment and the summary of responses to consultation, at:

Also published today is an invitation for applications to be made to the Department for new or extended schemes. Details can be found at:

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