British homes suffer maintenance and repairs crisis because of difficulties finding trusted builders
With house prices going through the roof, you may be better off staying put and improving. Trouble is, most of us are struggling to find a tradesman.
May 12, 2014
British homeowners are not doing maintenance and repair work because they cannot find builders and other tradesmen that they trust, according to the 2014 Homeowner Survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark, the Government endorsed ‘find a tradesman’ scheme. The survey shows that finding a trusted builder is such a major problem across regions of the UK that it means that our housing stock could be ending up in a state of disrepair.
Over half of homeowners (58%) say they have difficulty finding a trusted builder to assist with home repairs or improvements. These difficulties are having a big impact on the work that homeowners decide to do, and how they do it. Among the homeowners who have difficulty finding trusted builders, 12% don’t do the work at all, while a quarter (26%) delay the project. Alternatively, affected homeowners do their own repairs/ DIY (40%), do essential works only (27%), or use tradesmen they are uncertain about (28%)
Key findings from the 2014 Homeowner Survey, conducted by YouGov, include:
- 58% of UK homeowners say they find it difficult to find a tradesman they trust to help with either home repairs or improvements, with one in five (21%) saying that it is “very difficult”
- Women are more likely than men to find it “very difficult” to find a tradesman they trust to help with either home repairs or improvements. 24% of female homeowners vs 17% of male homeowners say they find it very difficult to find a tradesman they trust
- Regionally, the difficulties of finding a reliable builder or tradesman is greatest in London (67%), the East (66%) and the Midlands (64%), compared to the national average of 58% saying they have difficulty finding a reliable builder or tradesman to assist with home repairs and improvements.
- Of those homeowners who have had difficulty finding a trusted tradesman:
o 40% say they do their own DIY/ repairs
o 28% say they use tradesmen they are not certain of
o 27% say they do essential works only
o 26% say they delay works
o 12% say they do not undertake projects/ repairs
Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, the UK’s consumer group championing homeowners, said:
“Doing repairs, maintenance or improvements to your home are some of the biggest challenges homeowners face, and they find it far more difficult than it should be to find a reliable builder or tradesman to help them. For many it is quite rightly a major cause of concern – we have all watched those TV shows about cowboy builders and how your dream can turn into a nightmare. What is particularly worrying is that desperate homeowners are finding it so difficult to find good builders that they resort to delaying work, or simply not doing it all. The difficulties of getting good builders mean our national housing stock is ending up in a state of disrepair, affecting the lives of millions of householders.”
Liz Male, Chairman of TrustMark, the Government endorsed ‘find a tradesman’ scheme says:
“A nation of homeowners is at the mercy of leaflets through the door or findanyoldbuilder.com websites because they don’t have a network of local tradespeople they can turn to. The price we pay are homes lacking TLC, an ever-deteriorating housing stock and the financial burden of £1.9 billion a year paying to fix botched jobs by tradesmen who were just not qualified to do the work.
“This is a ridiculous situation, when we know there are so many excellent tradespeople out there who are totally committed to doing quality work and excellent customer service. TrustMark is the solution backed by Government. We can provide consumers with choice, confidence and protection and signpost them to reputable local firms and expert tradespeople working to Government endorsed standards.”
Extent of Difficulty Finding Trusted Tradesmen & Impact of Difficulty Finding Trusted Tradesmen
(Source: 2014 Homeowner Survey)
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