speculation is mounting that the government is about to roll out its anti-cowboy builder quality mark scheme across the UK.
The DTI is understood to have decided to expand the scheme following two pilot schemes in Birmingham and Somerset and a three-month review of the initiative.

Whitehall sources said the most likely date for the launch was this spring, after the conclusion of the review at the end of February.

The review into the feasibility of the scheme was launched by construction minister Brian Wilson. The quality mark has endured heavy criticism from contractors and indifference from consumers.

The scheme was criticised last month by trade federations for its entry costs. It costs £500 to join, and a further £250 in annual renewal fees.

The pilot schemes attracted 138 certified builders with 250 other firms in the pipeline to join.

DTI officials are understood to have been encouraged by demand from contractors in other areas of England to join the quality mark. This has led to the scheme being extended to Leicestershire and Dover.

A DTI spokesperson said this week that no official statement would be made until the end of the review.