Do Builders Need a License in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, anyone is legally allowed to carry out construction work without having to demonstrate a minimum level of competence. This means that licensing should be seen as a form of insurance. When working with builders on any construction project, whether it's for your home or business, it's important to prioritize licensed workers over others. This may limit your range of options, depending on the type of specialists you need to hire.

However, the extra effort will be worth it in the long run once the project is complete. Currently, very few builders and contractors are subject to significant controls to ensure their competence. This is because, unlike the gas and electricity sectors, anyone in the UK can set up as a builder. Knowing if builders need a license in the UK is essential when you are about to start a large-scale construction project that involves significant investments.

But the real villains of the construction industry, in the public eye, are not the dishonest builders at the bottom of the food chain — those whom licenses seek to expel — but those at the top. It is also believed that licensing would help increase customer confidence and trust in the professionalism of builders. A competent builder isn't necessarily an honest builder; a competent builder can still convince your grandmother that her roof, which is in perfect condition, needs to be replaced. A peculiarity of the UK labor market compared to many other countries is that, in general, builders do not need a license to hire and perform professional work.

In addition to this, there are many builders who hire workers, also known as their barmen, without insurance, tax-free and without scaffolding or elevators to get cash.