Scots decide against home improvements due to falling confidence in building industry

Scottish homeowners would invest £31,000 on home improvement work over the next five years if they had full confidence in their ability to identify a professional builder, according to new research.

A study into consumer confidence in builders by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland found that more than one third (34%) of Scottish homeowners are put off doing major home improvement works requiring a builder because they fear hiring a dodgy builder.

The report suggests that if all Scottish homeowners had full confidence in the building industry they would typically spend an average of £31,000 on major home improvement projects over the next five years. This compares to an average of £67,000 per home owner over the next five years in London.

Overall the research found that the UK economy as a whole is missing out on £10 billion each year because of anxiety over cowboy builders.

The FMB has called for a mandatory licensing system to be introduced to increase the level of trust towards domestic builders.

Gordon Nelson, director of FMB Scotland, said: “Just over one third of home owners in Scotland have said that they have been put off carrying out building work because they’re so fearful about the possibility of working with a rogue builder. Indeed, the FMB’s latest research shows that on average, a typical Scottish home owner would spend £31,000 on major home improvement projects over the next five years if they knew they would be dealing with an honest builder. In London, this figure is even higher at £67,000.

“Recent figures show that the Scottish economy grew by only 0.2% in the third quarter of 2017 compared to a 0.4% increase recorded across the UK as a whole. This demonstrates the dire need to unlock supressed consumer demand for building work, which would bring huge growth to the Scottish economy.”

Mr Nelson added: “Scottish home owners are clearly crying out for greater assurance when hiring a builder. The problem lies in the fact that, unlike in other places such as Australia and Canada, anyone can be a builder in this country.

“In order to address this, the FMB is calling on the government to consider introducing some form of mandatory licensing system for builders so that home owners can be confident that all building firms will have the appropriate skills to do a good job. If a licensing system was put in place, it has the potential to quell the anxieties of consumers and provide a boost to the Scottish economy through increased building work.”