Builders brush up the image

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The Independent Online
IF EVER there was an industry that suffered from an image problem it was construction.

From this week, however, people who find themselves losing out at the hands of 'cowboys' may only have themselves to blame. On Wednesday, the Chartered Institute of Building will take over the partially completed east stand at the Twickenham rugby union ground to launch its chartered building company scheme.

The development is designed to enable the public - including small companies and individuals - to identify easily building companies that are professionally managed and reputable.

To qualify for chartered status, a company must ensure that the majority of its directors are qualified members of relevant chartered institutions, and that a significant proportion are chartered builders. Most of the leading building companies have already signed up, and the institute expects the numbers to grow as accreditation becomes a requirement in tendering for government work.

'For private individuals, businesses and public authorities, property is the single most important asset. Buildings typically account for a significant percentage of the total value of companies, while most people's major possession is their home. When commissioning a new building, extending an older one, or planning repairs or maintenance, the choice of builder is therefore critical,' said the organisation, explaining the need for the scheme.