INCOMPETENT tradesmen have cost UK homeowners an estimated £1.9 billion over the last year, five times more than domestic burglary claims over the same period, a survey suggests.

Almost one in five (17%) of the 18 million homeowners who have employed tradesmen in the last 12 months had to have at least part of the work redone at an average cost of £600. The poll was carried out for the launch of the updated TrustMark scheme, the Government-endorsed set of standards for tradesmen.

A quarter of those polled (26%) did not know where to find impartial information about tradesmen, with the same number saying they made a decision based on a recommendation from friends or family. Some 6% selected a tradesman based on the cheapest quote.

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Most homeowners (57%) who hired tradesmen in the last 12 months did not check qualifications.