Last edited 06 Nov 2020

Builder's licence

On 12 June 2019, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) announced the creation of a Construction Licensing Task Force to: ‘...develop a mandatory licensing scheme for all UK construction companies to transform the sector into a high quality and professional industry.’

The Task Force is supported by a range of leading industry bodies and chaired by Liz Peace CBE, former CEO of the British Property Federation (BPF). It was created following a recommendation in ‘Licence to build: A pathway to licensing UK construction’ a research report by Pye Tait published in 2018, which set out the benefits of a licensing scheme.

A ‘Licence UK Construction’ (LUKC) campaign was launched.

Liz Peace said: “Mandatory licensing has the potential to transform our industry into a world-leading sector. Licensing will help drive up standards and help address the issue of quality and professionalism, which is some areas, is falling short. At the heart of what we’re trying to do is increase protection for the ordinary person who engages with the construction sector. Indeed, according to research by the FMB, one third of homeowners are so worried about having a bad experience with their builder, they are putting off commissioning construction work altogether. This could be costing the economy as much as £10 billion per year.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “In countries like Australia and Germany, building firms require a licence and we want to develop a scheme that regulates our industry in a similar manner.”

However, in November 2020, a Task Force newsletter announced it was moving away from the mandatory licensing system, which was not supported by government, and calling instead for the existing TrustMark quality scheme to be a requirement to qualify for government grant schemes.

The newsletter stated: ‘Largely due to Covid-19, but also in part due to the current government’s reluctance to introduce widespread regulation, it was decided that the campaign should tactically ‘pivot’ in the short term. Instead of wholesale mandatory licensing across the sector, the government should be lobbied to make any government grants schemes for refurbishments and energy efficiency improvements conditional upon the suppliers having an approved quality mark, such as Trustmark. This was already the case with the Green Homes Grants Scheme but should become accepted policy for any further schemes or initiatives.’

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