Call to end ‘cowboy builders’ reign of terror’

Kitchen fitters were ranked as the most unprofessional tradespeople, according to a new survey.

Online retailer surveyed 1,644 British people to find the most unprofessional tradespeople. The definition of ‘unprofessional’ in the survey was to take account the quality of work, price, manners, punctuality and communication skills of tradespeople.

According to the results, 73% of respondents said that kitchen fitters were the most unprofessional.

Tilers (69%), builders (65%) and roofers (60%) were next, while bathroom fitters and plumbers were further down the list with 51% and 48% respectively.

Responding to the survey, the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) cited a lack of barriers for entry for tradespeople and a skill shortage as some of the reasons why there is unprofessionalism within the construction industry.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) chief executive Brian Berry has called for the Government to introduce a mandatory licensing system to bring consumer confidence back to builders and installers.

BiKBBI chief executive Damian Walters said: “My own view is that the home-improvement sector has always struggled with reputational issues. Why? Possibly because there’s a lack of barriers to entry for tradespeople, and with a skills shortage we’re bound to attract the opportunist. As I’ve said before, the installation sector has perhaps failed to keep up with changing times and the meeting of consumer expectations.”

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Some of the ‘unprofessional’ actions from tradespeople included: not turning up at all when arranged (81%), overcharging (76%), poor workmanship (73%), constantly being late (70%), being unnecessarily rude/ aggressive (68%), and taking frequent breaks when on a job (65%).

Research conducted by the FMB in 2018 found that the UK economy is missing out on £10 billion a year because homeowners are fearful of cowboy builders. It revealed that 32% of people put off doing major home improvements as they ‘fear hiring a dodgy builder’.

Berry said: “We need to end the cowboy builders’ reign of terror, so we can give all home owners 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.”

  • If you have any thoughts on ‘unprofessional’ tradespeople or have any opinions on how to improve this situation, contact kbbreview’s editor: [email protected]

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