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Professional advice required for DIY enthusiasts

Property owners planning to carry out DIY renovations to their home have been urged to seek the advice of professionals before embarking on any large-scale projects.

Andrew Leech, director of National Home Improvement Council, said the specification of materials, understanding the skills that will be required to deliver a professional finish and realising the risks involved in any home improvement can only really be learnt by getting in touch with a tradesman.

He commented: "Homeowners should make sure that their skills are up to the job and if they are not, get a professional tradesman in who has got some qualifications behind him.

"You can get DIY chaps in to do these jobs, but they aren't all up to the standard. If you get a professional tradesman in, you can guarantee that they are linked in with an association and will have the appropriate insurance to cover the job."

Mr Leech added that getting in touch with their local authority is a good place to start to find out if projects will need planning permission or accreditation, as well as being a good source of skilled tradespeople.

Meanwhile, any tasks which involve electrics, plumbing or gas should always be left to the professionals, as making a mistake in any of these areas can be potentially life threatening not only to the person carrying out the job, but also to other occupants of the premises.

Earlier this month, communities minister Don Foster announced a raft of new measures aimed at reducing the burden of red tape on British homeowners.

Launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the updated legislation allows property owners to carry out a number of DIY tasks that were previously only open to professionals and which required signing off by councils.

It is hoped that this reduction in red tape will help Brits to save on callout fees for tradespeople, while at the same time reducing the regulatory burden on local authorities. 

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