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GOVERNMENT'S DRIVE AGAINST COWBOY BUILDERS GETS STRONG SUPPORT

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The government has received over 130 responses to its consultation ...
The government has received over 130 responses to its consultation

paper on combating cowboy builders with the overwhelming majority of

respondents supporting the two key proposals in the package: the

development of an approved list or lists and some form of kitemark'

guarantee.

At a DETR seminar of over 60 representatives from the construction industry, consumer bodies and other interested parties, construction minister Nick Raynsford said:

'The government views the drive against cowboy builders with great

seriousness. I announced my determination to drive the cowboys out of

the industry a year ago in a speech to the Construction Industry

Board. This is an issue which goes to the heart of the efficiency of

the industry and how it is viewed by the general public. I am

therefore tremendously encouraged by the response to our consultation

paper, Combating Cowboy Builders.

'The common thread running through the responses is the need to get

on and devise practical measures that we can implement as a package.

It is clear that there is a considerable measure of support for what

I believe are the twin pillars of our approach: the development of a

list (or lists) that will allow householders to identify reputable

builders and a form of kitemark' that will guarantee good quality

work underpinned by a means of redress if things go wrong.

'The many positive contributions to the paper confirm my impression

that we have a window of opportunity here to drive the cowboys out of

the industry. I don't pretend that it's going to be easy, and no

single measure is likely to work in isolation. But I believe that the

industry is committed to change, and I am sure that we can establish

a degree of consensus to drive the programme forward quickly and

effectively.

'Legitimate builders have everything to gain and nothing to lose

from effective action against cowboys. This action will benefit

consumers and overcome the trust barrier that prevents so many

householders from undertaking repairs and improvements. This can only

benefit the industry as more work comes its way.'

The seminar reinforced the positive messages that emerged from the

consultation about the role of approved lists in empowering consumers

- including the extension of Constructionline to the domestic repair

and maintenance sector - and the part that a kitemark or easily

recognised badge of quality (including a proper warranty) would play

in providing an assurance to customers of good quality work backed by

an effective means of redress if things go wrong.

The DETR is now considering the next steps necessary to maintain

the momentum of the initiative.

NOTES

1. The consultation paper was launched on 6 April 1998. The closing

date was 5 June. Over 130 responses were received. These ranged from

ordinary members of the public to the main construction industry

organisations, consumer bodies, local government bodies, the mortgage

and insurance industries and others with an interest.

2. Attendees at the seminar, held at DETR on 24th June 1998, numbered

approximately 65 and included representatives from:

Association of Construction Product Suppliers

Construction Industry Council

Construction Confederation

Constructors Liaison Group

National Federation of Builders

Federation of Master Builders

Electrical Contractors Association

Institute of Plumbing

Institute of Building Control

Local Government Association

National Consumer Council

National House-Building Council

Association of British Insurers

Council of Mortgage Lenders

Construction Industry Training Board

Construction Skills Certification Scheme

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