06/02/2007

Scheme to protect public from cowboy builders

Finance Minister, David Hanson has today backed the launch of an initiative to protect householders from cowboy builders.

The new Government-backed scheme, dubbed 'TrustMark', identifies skilled, professional and competent tradespeople to carry out repairs, maintenance and improvements inside and outside the home.

Welcoming the scheme the Minister said: “The work of TrustMark is very important. Rogue traders do immense damage to the image of the construction industry and cause financial and emotional distress to householders. It is essential that we take steps to protect the public and help them to select competent, approved tradespeople.”

Research from TrustMark has shown that one in five UK householders admit they have been reduced to tears by home improvement work, with 99% of householders citing having building work done as a cause of major stress.

Householders looking for a reputable tradesperson can log on to www.trustmark.org.uk where they can get information on a range of TrustMark approved organisations that currently cover trades as diverse as general builders, electricians, heating engineers, plumbers, glaziers, damp-proof specialists, roofers, landscape gardeners and fence installers.

Other trades are being added month by month as TrustMark grows.

TrustMark is based around a set of Government-endorsed standards for trade associations, certification bodies and other organisations that wish to become approved scheme operators. Only these scheme operators are allowed to award the TrustMark logo to firms.

When a firm displays the TrustMark logo it signifies that:
  • The scheme operator has checked the firm’s technical skills, trading record and financial position
  • The firm has signed up to a code of practice that includes insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care
  • The scheme operator has checked and will continue to monitor the firm’s quality of work, trading practices and customer satisfaction
  • The firm will tell customers about any building regulations they must meet, and may also be able to give the certificates they need
  • If a customer has a problem or disagreement with the firm, there will be a clear and user-friendly complaints procedure to help sort out the problem
  • If the firm doesn’t automatically provide insurance cover, the customer has the option to buy a warranty in case it goes out of business
In return, customers are expected to deal fairly with the firm, agree a fair price for good work and pay quickly when the job is finished.

(EF)

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