Cowboy builders working group chief Tony Merricks has called for a regional launch of the “quality mark” he recommended to ministers this week.

In a letter to housing, planning and London minister Nick Raynsford, he said this would be a good way to obtain “concentrated” support from local builders to get the scheme to combat rogue traders off the ground.

Merricks also recommended the creation of an independent body to oversee the scheme.

The group’s final report to the DETR called for a body with construction industry, consumer and local authority representation that would own, set standards for, and supervise the quality mark.

Ministers are expected to decide whether to implement the working group’s recommendations by November. If they are accepted, the group’s findings will form the basis of a new anti-cowboy drive in 2000.

A pilot scheme based on the group’s report is likely to be set up in Birmingham by Christmas. A second pilot is being organised in Somerset.

The working group also says firms must offer customers financial protection to win quality mark status.

This would cover additional costs caused by a builder’s failure to finish on time or repair defects; and fraud by, or insolvency of, the builder. This protection can be provided by separate or integrated warranty packages.

But consequential losses, where the builder is blamed for the broader knock-on effects of its work and where the client tries to rectify a problem without giving the builder a chance to put it right, need not be included in the package.