Despite seeming like a money saver, DIY can end up costing more than you think.
A Halfords survey from 2014 found householders and motorists pay out an estimated £300m a year to professionals to fix the cost of their mistakes.
A 2016 survey for JJ Roofing Supplies found that half of their respondents argued with their partner about DIY tasks and, in extreme situations, 9% had needed medical help as a result of their DIY activity
1) DIY Disasters
and how to avoid them
Our Which? Trusted traders have reported getting a lot of custom from people who’ve had a go themselves, and then need a professional to put things right. For example, Chris Gordon from Electricians in Reading told us they get a lot of emergency call-outs from people who drill through wires when they’re trying to put up pictures.
Justin Bucknell, of Justin Bucknell Electrical, told a horror story about shower water passing over a bare cable, thanks to a faulty installation.
The potential for electric shock was probably the worst we’ve seen – we’re very glad we were able to spot it and get things sorted.Justin Bucknell
When drilling holes in your walls, check the location of cables first. You can buy a simple cable and wire detector from DIY stores.
Always use a fully-qualified, registered electrician to undertake your electrical installation projects.
Campaigning charity Electrical Safety First recommends getting your electrics checked every five years in a private property to ensure they are safe.
Find out moreabout why every home needs an electrical-installation condition report.
Plumbing horror stories
Plumbing is another area where you really need to know what you’re doing. Kris Barry, from Absolute Bristol plumbers, told us that calls from DIYers made up a large part of his business.
Having a go yourself can end up costing a lot of money in the long run – what might be a small job for a professional, might not be for you.
One time, a lady decided to disconnect the trap (a water filled area of pipe that stops waste gases entering the room) on her bath to try to clean it out. She couldn’t get it back on again, and had a bath full of water because she was in the middle of cleaning her bathroom. So when she went to let the water go, it was going through the ceiling … and there was a load of damage to the house.Kris Barry
Use a Which? Trusted Traders-endorsed plumber in your area
Ensure you know where your stopcock is, so you can turn water off at the mains before starting any plumbing job
Don’t try to force pipes and connectors together – it may well damage them.
If you want to find out about central heating and motoring DIY disastersyou can find more in the original article
Happily, most people have never experienced a DIY disaster – but maybe that’s because more than 70% of people are prepared to pay a professional to take control of home and motor maintenance.
If you are going to go it alone, don’t take on work that is beyond your skill level. You don’t want to be the next DIY disaster. If you’d like help with home or motor maintenance, Which? Trusted Traders has endorsed professional tradespeople who can take the strain.
2) Don’t Die for DIY
At this time of year many homeowners are tempted to indulge in a spot of DIY around the home and garden.
The warmer weather and brighter nights provide an excellent opportunity to tackle those niggly little jobs that we have put off throughout winter.
While many jobs are simple and can be tackled without fear of danger, some require a professional assistance.
That is especially true for any work involving electrics. Some people might be tempted to try smaller electrical jobs themselves but it can often end up a terrible mistake – especially if something goes wrong.
Dealing with electrics is dangerous and should be treated with due care and attention.
Carrying out DIY work or using an unregistered electrician can also be a false economy, which could end up costing thousands of pounds and a lot of hassle to put right.
A great way to make sure your home is in tip top shape and electrically safe is to employ an electrician registered with NICEIC.
They will be able to carry out a Periodic Inspection of your home and provide you with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This is an up to date report on the current condition of the electrics in your home – much like an MOT.
They will also be able to carry out any electrical work that you might require around the home and ensure it is carried out safely and in accordance with the appropriate regulations.
For more information or to find a NICEIC registered electrician in your areaplease visit www.niceic.com.
3) Safety Tips for Consumers
when planning Installation Projects
It is a truth universally acknowledged that obligations to ensure an installation project conforms to the plethora of legislation designed to protect consumers and ensure their safety, but there are some practical things consumers can do to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
You know your property better than the traders who are involved in your Home Improvements and whilst there is always the possibility of unforeseen occurrences, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself.
Here are Dispute Resolution Ombudsman’s top tips!
Research your trader
Make sure you carry out due diligence to ensure you know who you are letting into your property. Traders who are members of the organisations who form the CPA are committed to best practice and responsible trading and you can obtain unbiased information about the traders from these schemes.
Access all Areas
Make sure that the access to the property is safe and unhindered. Tell your neighbours that there is likely to be disruption and make provision for your trader to park in a safe manner.
Remove anything valuable from the pathways and areas to which the traders have access – even with the most careful trader inadvertent damage could occur.
Children, pets and the vulnerable
Discuss with your trader in advance of the project to agree boundaries – where will the trader be allowed to go? It will be your responsibility to ensure that pets and children are kept out of harm’s way, so if certain areas of your house are a “no-go”, make sure your trader knows – put it in writing to make sure.
Check the contract!
Who is responsible for what? A project which involves sub-contractors may mean a lack of coherent project management could cause more than delays. If roles and responsibilities are clearly defined from the outset, this could avoid issues down the line with practical issues such as ongoing rubbish removal and rats, skip location and site clearance at the conclusion of a project.
If something occurs which was unforeseen, take advice from the experts. Work within a property can unearth all sorts of hidden elements from asbestos to issues relating with existing services. It may be that additional expense will be incurred to put this right, but if the experts recommend this it may be an unavoidable cost of a safe installation. If you are unsure, certification bodies such as DRO the NICEIC and Gassafe will be able to assist with sound, independent advice and inspection services.
Whilst therefore, it is certainly true to say that the burden of responsibility will fall on the trader to ensure a safe and compliant service, the you can assist by asking the right questions and taking responsibility to ensure the project goes as smoothly and safely as possible.
4) DIY safety
Springtime is the time to try and improve your house via DIY, and you may be tempted to extend this to the gas appliances. But unless you are qualified and Gas Safe registered in your own right, you should never try and work on your own appliance.
Here’s a list of the risks you could be taking if you try to do DIY gas work:
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) – nicknamed the ‘silent killer’ – is an invisible, odourless and lethal gas, which is formed when the natural gas or LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in appliances/pipework doesn’t burn properly. This happens when appliances have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. As well as being potentially deadly, CO can cause other long term health problems such as brain damage.
Gas leaks can occur from faulty appliances and pipework. Whilst gas is not poisonous like carbon monoxide (CO), leaks can lead to fires or explosions. A distinctive odorant is added to the gas to make it detectable – you can usually smell this briefly any time you turn a gas hob on. If you think you can smell gas, take action and call 0800 111 999 immediately.
Fires and explosions
As mentioned above, gas is highly combustible. Safe appliances burn gas in a controlled manner, which helps us heat our homes and cook our food. Should gas leak from a faulty appliance or pipework, it can spread quickly and there is a risk of it accidentally igniting and causing and explosion, with potentially devastating results.