Warning on lack of trusted builders

Times Series: More than half of homeowners say they have difficulty finding a trusted tradesman to help with repairs or improvements More than half of homeowners say they have difficulty finding a trusted tradesman to help with repairs or improvements

British homeowners are not doing maintenance and repair work because they cannot find builders and other tradesmen they can trust, according to a survey.

Finding trusted tradesmen has become such a problem that housing stock could be in a state of disrepair across regions of the UK, the Homeowner Survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark found.

More than half of homeowners (58%) said they had difficulty finding a trusted builder to help with repairs or improvements, with 12% of these people not doing the work and 26% delaying the project.

Some 40% carried out the repairs or DIY themselves, 27% did only the essential work and 28% used tradesmen they were uncertain about.

HomeOwners Alliance chief executive Paula Higgins 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, chairwoman of the government-endorsed TrustMark "find a tradesman" scheme, said: "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."

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