SINGAPORE's consumer watchdog Case and the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA) have joined hands to come up with an accreditation scheme for renovation contractors.

When homeowners engage contractors accredited by CaseTrust-RCMA - CaseTrust is Case's accreditation arm - they enjoy the protection of a performance insurance bond, Case and RCMA said in a statement yesterday.

"The bond will act as a buffer for non-performance of contractors and provide greater peace of mind to consumers who are renovating their homes."

The contract between contractor and homeowner will list the policies on fees and refunds. And if disputes arise, a system of redress with a dispute-resolution mechanism will kick in for the business and the consumer.

Accredited contractors will have sales employees who can provide quick and accurate information on the renovation. Accredited contractors have to open up their worksites to assessment by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore, which will use the workmanship benchmarks drawn up under its Construction Quality Assessment System (Conquas).

The number of complaints against contractors has been rising in recent years, from 1,488 in 2011 to 1,779 last year; already, in the first seven months of this year, 813 complaints have been lodged.

Most have to do with unsatisfactory service and failure to honour the contractual agreement.

RCMA is planning to establish a one-stop renovation city hub to gather accredited firms under one roof, thus making it easier for customers to find information, for example, on the best renovation loans.

The joint Case and RCMA statement said: "We hope the joint accreditation scheme will help strengthen and uplift industry standards, and promote fairer business practices in the renovation industry."