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Govt moves to raise small builder standards

The government is consulting on moves to raise standards among smaller builders.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced plans to ensure builder approval schemes publish how, and how quickly, they deal with complaints.

It also wants to create a facility whereby the public can search online for a suitable local builder who is qualified to carry out the specific work needed.

Competent person schemes were introduced in 2002 as a way of ensuring building work is carried out to the high safety and environmental standards required in the Building Regulations, without the need to involve the local council or approved inspectors in signing it off.

Lord McKenzie said: “Competent person schemes have significantly improved the levels of safety and professionalism that consumers expect when having work done on their home, but we have to keep the pace up and go further.

“Today’s consultation aims to bring the service levels of all the competent person schemes up to the highest standards. By allowing people to search online for a qualified local builder and providing stronger complaints procedures we are putting power in people’s hands.”

There are 12 competent person scheme operators, including on glazing, heating, hot water, plumbing systems and electrical installations in homes. Members of these schemes carry out over 2.5m jobs each year, freeing up consumers from having to pay building control bodies’ fees to get work approved.

Research since 2006 has shown differing in levels of service offered to consumers by the competent person schemes. Today’s consultation sets out how the Government proposes to improve and harmonise those standards across the board.