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'
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
'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.
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
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