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Building and construction: regulation of contractors and allied tradesmen

The building and construction trades in the UK are not regulated in the sense of a requirement to obtain a licence or register in order to practise. However, the standard of work done by the building and allied trades is regulated indirectly through the building regulation system; see Building and Construction: regulation of operations and agreements.

Competent person self-certification schemes

Competent person self -certifications schemes were introduced by the Government in 2002 to allow registered installers (i.e. businesses, mostly small firms or sole traders), who are competent in their field, to self-certify certain types of building work as compliant with the requirements of the Building Regulations.

These schemes allow tradespersons not to notify Building Regulations authorities in advance of required inspections and avoid building control charges payable by owners.

Further information is available from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

What's new item:
06/06/2012: New conditions of authorisation for Competent Person scheme operators.The Government has announced new conditions for authorisation of competent person schemes. Organisations operating such schemes will need to be accredited to an international quality standard in order to operate and will have to assess that their members' competence levels and actual work are up to national standards.
 The measures will also ensure that householders will have a financial security in place, such as a guarantee or insurance, to provide funds to complete work if a trades person fails to finish work properly.

TrustMark is a quality mark scheme endorsed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Under the scheme, the government authorises trade bodies to act as authorised scheme operators (e.g. the Federation of Master Builders).

There are some 30 scheme operators who work in the RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) sector, including trade associations, local government trading standards teams, and independent scheme operators. These schemes are approved to carry the TrustMark logo.

As well as providing safeguards for consumers, the scheme allows accredited tradesmen and firm to show they comply with certain standards. The scheme operators are audited annually on behalf of TrustMark, to ensure processes, standards and complaint procedures are being maintained. Technical skills of tradesmen are independently checked through regular on-site inspections, as well as checks on their trading record and financial status.
Accredited firms must comply with the relevant code of practice. They should be able to offer an Insurance Backed Warranty and Deposit Protection Insurance for consumers.

Further information is available from the TrustMark website

[Page updated: 11/06/2012]

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