The National Consumer Agency has called for the regulation of tradespeople.

In a report into domestic construction, the agency reveals that more than a fifth of those surveyed had experienced problems either in buying a property, or in having renovation work done. The majority experienced problems in having renovation work done.

A list of 25 recommendations from the report include the establishment of a statutory system of certificates of compliance, the development of a standardised contract for small, domestic building works, and improvement of dispute resolution procedures.

Launching the report, Anne Fitzgerald, director of the National Consumer Agency, said that buying a home was the biggest financial step many people take, and that a lot remained to be done to ensure their rights were protected.

The agency's report said legislation was in place providing for the comprehensive regulation of electricians and gas installers. It said that, in contrast to these two areas, other contractors in Ireland were hardly regulated at all, unlike many other countries.

The agency said that if the model for electricians and gas installers proved effective, they could serve as a basis for the future regulation of other contractors.

'From experiences abroad, the strengthening of regulatory structures, especially through a system of licensing, appears to bring considerable benefits to consumers in the form of guarantees of qualifications, accountability and redress in the event of dispute,' the report said.