The Federation of Master Builders

NI home owners would splash £64k on home refurbs if they had confidence in building industry

Published date: 12 February 2018

Northern Irish home owners would invest £64,000 on home improvement work over the next five years if they had full confidence in their ability to identify a professional builder, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Northern Ireland.

Key results from the FMB’s research into consumer confidence in builders include:

  • More than one quarter (26%) of Northern Irish home owners are put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring a dodgy builder;
  • If all Northern Irish home owners had full confidence in the building industry, they would typically spend an average of £64,000 on major home improvement projects over the next five years. This compares to an average of £67,000 per home owner over the next five years in London;
  • The UK economy as a whole is missing out on £10 billion of activity per year because of anxiety over cowboy builders.

Gavin McGuire, Director of FMB Northern Ireland, said: “More than one quarter of home owners in Northern Ireland are so fearful about the possibility of working with a bad builder, they don’t commission any building work whatsoever. The FMB’s latest research shows that on average, your typical home owner in Northern Ireland would spend £64,000 on major home improvement projects over the next five years if they knew they would be dealing with an honest builder. What’s more, the UK-wide economy could be missing out on more than £10 billion of activity every year because of fears surrounding cowboy builders. This latest research goes to show how cowboy builders and rogue tradespeople strike fear into the hearts, and the pockets, of consumers.”

McGuire concluded: “In order to address this, the UK Government should explore the possibility of introducing a mandatory licensing system for domestic builders so consumers can rest assured that they’re operating to a decent standard. At the moment, anyone can set themselves up as a builder and that’s how we’ve managed to allow a small proportion of dodgy firms to give the whole construction industry a bad name. A licensing system could help ensure all builders have certain knowledge and skills, and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Australia and Canada operate a licensing system which seems to help minimise the prevalence of cowboy builders. This is clearly worth considering but in the meantime, if consumers are hiring a builder, they should seek recommendations from family or friends. If this isn’t possible, home owners can ask a professional trade association like the Federation of Master Builders which can put them in touch with a vetted and inspected building firm.”

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