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

The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is encouraging older people to go ahead with making vital home adaptations by seeking out its certified members.

It comes following the publication of new research, suggesting 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.

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

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.

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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 a significant percentage (32 per cent) 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 per cent), closely followed by worries that tradespeople won’t give a fair cost for the job (56 per cent), as well as wariness having experienced problems with tradespeople in the past (44 per cent).

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

The results emphasise 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.

David Orr, Chair of The Good Home Inquiry, commented: “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.”

The CEO also outlined that consumers can be reassured that if, in the rare event, a dispute does occur between themselves and a member, the BHTA is able 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,” continued Simon. “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, click here

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

The Good Home Inquiry launched last year after data found almost 10 million people spent the coronavirus lockdown in a home that seriously threatened their health and safety. It supports the Centre for Ageing Better’s goal of reducing the number of homes classed as ‘non-decent’ by at least one million by 2030.

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