Consumer fears over cowboy builders costs UK economy £10 billion

The UK economy is missing out on £10 billion each year because homeowners are so fearful of hiring a cowboy builder they simply don’t commission building work, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

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

the UK economy is missing out on £10 billion of activity per year because of anxiety over cowboy builders

one third (32%) of homeowners are put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring a dodgy builder

if all homeowners had full confidence in the building industry, they would typically spend an average of £40,000 on major home improvement projects over the next five years

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “If we were able to unlock this pent-up demand from fearful consumers, the benefit to jobs and growth would be enormous. Last year the UK experienced its slowest growth since 2012 with a rise in GDP of just 1.8%. With Brexit just around the corner, it’s therefore vital that the government pulls as many leavers as possible to turbo-charge the economy and protect it from any potential economic wobbles.

“In the longer term, we need to end the cowboy builders’ reign of terror so we can give all homeowners the confidence they need to invest their cash in building work. The government should consider introducing some form of mandatory licensing system for domestic builders so that consumers know that all building firms have a base level of skill, competence and professionalism.

“Unlike in Australia and Canada, in this country anyone can be a builder and that’s why there is a significant minority of rogue traders out there giving the whole construction industry a bad name.”