Cowboy builders upset 100,000

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The Independent Online
THE VAST majority of homeowners believe the Government should crack down immediately on cowboy builders - a problem which prompts almost 100,000 complaints to trading standards officers every year.

A survey published yesterday found that 94 per cent of the public believe builders and other tradesmen should be legally required to supply a written guarantee of workmanship.

The survey of 1,000 people, carried out by Skillbase, the home-repair company, and Commercial Union, the insurer, found that one in two people were concerned that they may be overcharged by unscrupulous contractors. A similar proportion (52 per cent) thought the builder may bodge the repair or home improvement.

The Government is considering 10 proposals to combat the problem, including a Government-run database of approved contractors, and a construction industry kitemark to denote builders who work to an agreed set of standards.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: "Most companies have helpline services which enable policy holders to be put in contact with a reputable company."