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British homes suffer maintenance and repairs crisis because of difficulties finding trusted builders

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)

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 10.09.30

Regional Analysis: Extent of Difficulty Finding Trusted Tradesman (Source: 2014 Homeowner Survey)

  • Regionally, a greater proportion of homeowners in London (67%), the East (66%) and the Midlands (64%) say they have difficulty finding a reliable builder or tradesman to assist with home repairs and improvements compared with UK homeowners generally (58%).

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 10.09.46


Regional Analysis: Extent of Difficulty Finding Trusted Tradesman (Source: 2014 Homeowner Survey)

  • Among homeowners with difficulty finding trusted tradesmen, actions taken are similar regionally:

o    Most do their own repairs (more so in Scotland and the South both 45% vs 40% UK overall)

o    Roughly the same proportion of homeowners then choose to either use a tradesman they are uncertain about, they do essential works only or they may delay works

o    Those doing essential works only is slightly higher in North 31%, East 31%, London 30%, Scotland 32% vs 27% UK homeowners overall

o    The proportion not doing works at all is slightly higher in the Midlands (18% vs 12% UK overall)

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 10.10.44

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Notes to Editor

2014 Homeowner Survey

HomeOwners Alliance undertakes an annual survey of UK adults to find out the issues of importance to homeowners and those keen to own. Data is released in parts with full report consolidating the research published in July 2014.

All figures in the 2014 Homeowner Survey, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. In 2014 total sample size was 2,527 adults, of which 1,606 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between18th-20th March 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

The 2014 Homeowner survey was made possible through sponsorship by myhomemove, the UK’s leading conveyancing provider and TrustMark, the Government endorsed ‘find a tradesman’ scheme.

  • Part 1: “Concerns about house prices spread across UK as housing market gathers pace” issued 7th April
  • Part 2: we asked how difficult do you feel it is to find tradesmen you can trust to do home improvements or repairs on your home and in which, if any, of the following ways the challenge of finding a trusted tradesman ever affected home repairs or improvements you may do/ may have done on your home? (Options provided)

When quoting this Press Release please link to the HOA website http://hoa.org.uk/ and the TrustMark website www.trustmark.org.uk

For media enquiries about the HOA contact Paula Higgins, paula@hoa.org.uk or Katherine Binns, katherine@hoa.org.uk

For further information or photos about TrustMark, please contact Elizabeth Jones on elizabeth.jones@withpr.co.uk

For trade press enquiries please contact Georgina Watkins on georgina@georginawatkins.com


About the HomeOwners Alliance

The HomeOwners Alliance champions the interests of Britain’s homeowners and aspiring homeowners. We are a consumer group providing helpful advice and services and acting as the voice of the homeowner in the media, lobbying for their interests in government, and campaigning against bad practices in industry.

We directly engage with government and the media by conducting independent research and publishing reports that promote and champion the interests of homeowners.  Previous publications include:


At hoa.org.uk, we provide independent advice for the key moments in owning a home, supported by legal and industry experts. Get our free newsletter with a market-wide view of house prices and all the latest tips on buying, selling, improving and managing homes. On our website you can find free independent guides, checklists and top tips.


About Trustmark www.trustmark.org.uk

  • TrustMark is the most comprehensive and reliable ‘find a tradesman’ scheme for all home repair and improvement work. It is the only scheme which operates according to Government-endorsed standards.
  • TrustMark offers the largest database of accredited tradesmen in the country with details of more than 21,000 licensed trades with an easy to use UK wide postcode search facility.
  • TrustMark tradesmen undergo more rigorous, independent expert checks than any other kitemark scheme. All TrustMark firms’ technical skills have been independently checked through on-site inspections to ensure a high quality of workmanship and trading practices.
  • Furthermore, TrustMark is the only scheme that requires qualified inspectors to do these visits, so that technical competence is checked as well as business practices and customer satisfaction.
  • TrustMark is launching the most comprehensive set of standards to date for their registered tradesmen, to give homeowners better protection and peace of mind.
  • TrustMark firms are able to offer insurance backed warranties and deposit protection, as well as operating a user-friendly complaints procedure.
  • TrustMark is not an advertising directory or a website that sells leads. It is a registered social enterprise, operated under license from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). As a not-for-profit organisation it does not make money from consumers

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