Licensing the UK construction industry

In the UK, any person or company is legally allowed to undertake construction work without having to demonstrate a minimum level of competence. This means that our construction industry is not as safe, professional or productive as it might otherwise be. Other countries, such as Germany and parts of Australia and the US, have a licensing scheme, which ensures that those operating in the construction industry have the right skills and experience to do so. A licensing scheme for the UK construction industry has the potential to professionalise our sector, improve its image and increase the quality of the built environment.

There is broad support for licensing from consumers, industry and policy makers. The Government has challenged the industry to develop the blueprint for a licensing scheme and this is the role of the cross-industry Licensing Task Force. The Task Force is Chaired by   who is passionate about improving quality and standards in the industry and to that end, believes a licensing scheme for UK construction would be transformative.

The benefits of a mandatory licensing scheme

1. Remove incompetent and rogue traders from the industry

A licensing scheme would allow the industry to enforce a basic level of competence at entry level.

2. Offer a much higher level of consumer protection

Research shows that one in three homeowners have been put off doing major home improvement work for fear of hiring a cowboy builder.

3. Increase construction output to boost the wider economy

Licensing would increase confidence in the industry and lead to more work being commissioned.

4. Drive up quality, professionalism and productivity

Gaining and renewing the licence would provide a means of enabling a Continued Personal Development scheme.

5. Improve health and safety compliance

Basic health and safety testing could be included an entry criterion for a licence.

6. Improve the image of the industry

Increasing quality and professionalism would help attract more new entrants and ease the skills crisis.

Research

In July 2018, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) published a research report ‘Licence to build: A pathway to licensing UK construction’, which sets out the case for licensing and looks at a potential framework. The FMB represents more than 8,000 small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms across the UK. 77% of FMB members would support the introduction of a licensing scheme, and only 8% disagreed with the idea

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned Pye Tait Consulting to examine schemes for occupation licensing of building trades working in the home in the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) market. The research reviewed the nature and scope of 12 licensing regimes in total – in Australia, USA and EU states – as well as their level of impact on construction trades in those nations/states.

Licensing Task Force

The construction industry has come together to develop the licensing proposal and decide how it should work in practice. Once agreed, the Government will consult on the industry’s proposal. The Task Force is chaired by Liz Peace and the full list of members is below.

LPeace-200-x-200
Liz Peace
Chair

Licensing Task Force

Simon-Ayres-200-x-200
Simon Ayres
Chief Executive Officer
Brian-Berry-200-x-200
Brian Berry
Chief Executive
Peter-Caplehorn-200-x-200
Peter L. Caplehorn RIBA
Chief Executive
Tim-Day-200-x-200
Tim Day
Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime
Hew-Edgar
Hew Edgar
Interim Head of UK Policy
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Paul Everall
Chief Executive
Ian-Fletcher-200-x-200
Ian Fletcher
Director of Policy
Dr-Julian-Francis-200-x-200
Julian Francis
Director of External Affairs
Anda-Gregory-200-x-200
Anda Gregory
Managing Director
Raj-Kakar-Clayton-200-x-200
Raj Kakar-Clayton
Managing Director
Tim-Miller-200-x-200
Tim Miller
Senior Sector Advisor

CBI

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Paul Reeve
Director of Business and External Affairs
John Slaughter
John Slaughter
Director of External Affairs
Fergus-Herradence-200-x-200
Fergus Harradence
Deputy Director, Construction

BEIS (Task Force observer)

Eddie-Tuttle-200-x-200
Eddie Tuttle
Director of Policy, Research and Public Affairs
Sue Westcott
Sue Westcott
Team Leader – Housing Performance

Ministry for Housing (Task Force observer)

Supporters

More than 30 organisations support in principle the proposal for a mandatory licensing scheme


Parliamentarian Support

David Morris MP
David Morris MP
Licence UK Construction Parliamentary Patron
Emma Hardy MP
Emma Hardy MP
Dr Alan Whitehead MP
Dr Alan Whitehead MP
John Shipley
Lord Shipley OBE

Testimonials

The proposal for licensing has received cross-party support. Click here to listen to the former Construction Minister and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer talking about the benefits of licensing at an event in Parliament.

Pledge

To support in principle the proposal to licence the UK’s construction industry, sign up below or email [email protected]