Dr Simon Festing, Chief Executive Officer of the British Healthcare Trades Association image
Dr Simon Festing, Chief Executive Officer of the British Healthcare Trades Association

A new survey has uncovered that almost a third of English adults in their 50s and 60s could be put off from making vital home repairs and improvements because of a lack of trust in tradespeople.

In response, the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is now encouraging older people to go ahead with making crucial housing adaptations by seeking out its certified members.

Carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Good Home Inquiry, an independent review of England’s poor-quality housing stock commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, the survey was conducted online with adults in England aged 18-75 to understand people’s attitudes around home improvements.

The survey examines the barriers facing older people when attempting to make essential improvements to their homes that are necessary to ensure their ongoing independence.

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In particular, the survey examined what factors caused distrust and instilled confidence in tradespeople among those aged 50 to 70, with one in three respondents stating that they did not trust tradespeople.

Examining the top three causes of mistrust among this demographic, the research highlighted that concerns over tradespeople not doing a good job was the biggest factor (59 percent), closely followed by worries that tradespeople won’t give a fair cost for the job (56 percent), as well as wariness having experienced problems with tradespeople in the past (44 percent).

Additionally, fears over the price of work increasing (42 percent) and people being encouraged to pay for unnecessary work (39 percent) also ranked highly among those aged 50 to 70.

The results reinforce the need for older people to be able to trust tradespeople to carry out home repairs in their homes, to ensure they can remain healthier and independent for longer and reduce pressure on NHS and social care services.

With an estimated 4.3 million of England’s homes failing to meet even the most basic government standards, of which the majority are owner occupiers, the Good Home Inquiry says much more needs to be done to tackle barriers to people making home improvements.

This includes increasing trust in tradespeople by ensuring people have access to reliable information and advice about repairs and adaptations.

David Orr, Chair of the Good Home Inquiry, said: “The pandemic has made the importance of our homes clearer than ever, and what we need to do to make them more comfortable, liveable and safe. No one should be living in housing that is seriously damaging their health and wellbeing, which is why it is crucial that we understand the barriers people face when improving their homes.

“For those that need repairs, the process of hiring someone to fix something can be daunting, which leaves many people putting off vital home improvements. We need to boost trust in tradespeople, as well as improve access to advice and information, so that people better understand the changes to their homes they need to make – and have the confidence to make them.”

Along with uncovering the causes of mistrust, the research also surveyed which factors instil more confidence in people aged 50 to 70 when hiring a tradesperson. Notably, a significant one in three people confirmed that the tradesperson being a member of an accredited trade association, such as the BHTA, increased their level of trust.

Representing over 400 companies in the healthcare and assistive technology industry, the BHTA and its members work to create an ethical trading environment that gives consumers confidence.

All BHTA members commit to adhering to the association’s Code of Practice – the only code in the industry approved under the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme – ensuring its members trade ethically and professionally.

Dr Simon Festing, Chief Executive Officer of the British Healthcare Trades Association, commented: “The results of this research reveal all our fears of dodgy tradespeople. But we believe that with the right approach, older people can still go ahead and get essential adaptations and improvements to their homes, which they need to live healthier and independent lives.

“As one of the longest-established trade associations in the healthcare sector, the BHTA understands just how important trust is when it comes to having work carried out for vital installations, such as handrails, stairlifts, ramps and level access bathrooms.

“We would encourage all consumers to go ahead and make the necessary changes to their homes to keep themselves safe, mobile and independent, by seeking out a BHTA member. Our members commit to our Code of Practice, ensuring they uphold standards over and above the law, to give consumers confidence that they are professional and ethical.

“Also, consumers have the added peace of mind of knowing that in the rare event that a dispute does occur between themselves and a member, the BHTA is on hand to provide a fair and transparent mediation service.

“We recommend consumers look out for the BHTA’s logo on companies’ websites and literature when searching for companies that provide and install home adaptations. The logo acts as a badge of trust and can be found proudly displayed by all BHTA members. Consumers can also find, and verify, our members of the BHTA by visiting our website.”

To find or verify a BHTA member, visit the website

To enquire about becoming a member of the BHTA, contact membership@bhta.com

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