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TrustMark to hinder cowboys

PUBLISHED: 10:10 27 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

Many estate agents are against the introduction of compulsory Home Information Packs in England and Wales from the middle of next year, fearing they could seriously limit the number of properties coming to the market.

Many estate agents are against the introduction of compulsory Home Information Packs in England and Wales from the middle of next year, fearing they could seriously limit the number of properties coming to the market.

However, one major upside is that they could prove a godsend in protecting residential property owners from rogue tradesmen who have operated with relative impunity for years.

The planned phasing in of the packs from next June is expected to work against the 'payment in cash' culture.

From that date all domestic improvements should comply with strict Building Regulations and be certified as such by those carrying them out - if they are suitably qualified - or by local authority building control officers.

Homeowners failing to abide by the new regulations could face serious problems when they come to sell their properties if the required documentation is not in order.

Botched home improvement works are estimated to waste £1.5 billion annually, and more than 111,000 complaints were registered with Trading Standards departments of local councils in 2004.

This could be the tip of a much larger iceberg, and official complaints are growing at a rate of about five per cent annually.

Robert Higgs, chief executive of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association, one of the first trade organisations to join the new Government-backed TrustMark scheme, believes the packs could help spell the end for the building trade cowboys.

He says: "Consumers can much more easily locate reputable tradespeople to carry out quality improvements, repairs and maintenance work on their home or garden using TrustMark.

"The scheme has already issued licences to a range of operators covering many trades, including builders, plumbers, heating engineers, electricians, glaziers, roofers, damp-proof specialists and landscape gardeners. The public now has a single logo it can look out for."

Homeowners can find out more information about the TrustMark scheme by visiting the www.trustmark.org.uk website.


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