Choosing a builder for your home extension or renovation can be something of a leap of faith. It is, of course, possible to do your research by checking potential candidates’ websites, reading reviews and testimonials, and referring to third-party directories such as TrustATrader. It’s also advisable to canvass opinions among friends, family and neighbours, or even request recommendations on your local Facebook group.
In reality, however, you can do all this and still end up making the wrong choice. And it isn’t only end consumers who are reaching the end of their tether with this situation, as reputable builders themselves are also calling for greater regulation of the industry. In a recent survey conducted by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) into attitudes towards the construction sector, nearly 80% of builders and consumers were in favour of the government introducing a licensing scheme for the UK construction industry in order to prevent rogue traders from operating. Consumers expressing support were found to be doing so in order to drive builders providing poor service and inferior results out of the sector.
The research indicated that 77% of small and medium-sized construction firms were supportive of the idea of licensing to raise standards of professionalism within the construction industry, protect consumers and outlaw the cowboys, while 78% of consumers were keen to see a licensing scheme implemented. An overwhelming nine out of ten homeowners thought that the government should be working to criminalise rogue and incompetent builders. And finally, an alarming 55% of those who had commissioned a builder to undertake any form of home improvement reported having had a negative experience with their builder.
According to the FMB, the proposed licensing scheme would have a tiered fee structure and would cover construction companies of all sizes in the UK whether they operate in the domestic or commercial markets. The key to success, they believe, would be to keep it simple, with minimal bureaucracy and red tape, and with oversight from a single authority.
Kelley Malcher of Surrey builders Refresh Renovations believes that a licensing scheme would have a range of benefits. ‘It is worth remembering that, in the UK, anyone can set up a building firm and start promoting their services without any track record, training or experience,’ comments Kelley. ‘I believe that creating some form of licensing, as is already a requirement in countries such as Australia, would result in standards rising across the sector. Rogue companies would be removed, Health & Safety compliance would increase and consumer confidence would rise, boosting the whole construction industry and peripheral services as a whole. The overall perception of the building sector would also be enhanced, making it a more attractive career option for young people whom we need to attract into the various trades.
‘At Refresh, we have a proven track record of quality builds and outstanding client satisfaction. We’re one of the world’s leading renovation builders with a presence in New Zealand, Australia, the USA and here in the UK, and we have the added benefit of being able to build a specialist team for any project. We’re also completely transparent thanks to our online customer portal which enables clients to log in and view drawings, timelines and budgets in real time. In other words, unlike with the majority of small to medium-sized building companies, our clients can see a snapshot of exactly where we are with everything at any point during the renovation or extension. Having previously commissioned construction work as a consumer, I fully understand how beneficial and reassuring this is for our clients, especially as it enables tighter cost control and, in many cases, shorter project timescales.’
Refresh Renovations UK are builders in Surrey offering design and build services. To discuss your home renovation or extension, please get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page.
Want to know more? Get in touch with the renovation experts at Refresh now to find out what they can do for you and your home. Refresh Renovations Specialists offer a free initial one-hour consultation that will help you make the decision whether their team is the one for you. This consultation is no obligation and is a chance to understand what they can do for you.