Factor safety into DIY projects

THE phenomenal success of The Block and other home improvement shows has triggered a boom in the local do-it-yourself renovation industry.

Inspired by the quick turnarounds and dramatic transformations on TV, house-proud men and women are increasingly diving head-long into projects.

A recent survey found that Australians spent an average of $6150 on renovations and maintenance around their homes in 2013.

But the path to a sparkling new bathroom or elaborate outdoor living area can be fraught with danger – both in financial and safety terms.

Tamworth handyman John Nicholson, of Nicho’s Home Maintenance, has seen all too often the results of poorly planned and executed DIY projects.

He is frequently called out to salvage inadvertent DIY disasters created by over-zealous and under-skilled amateur tradesmen and women.

“The biggest thing with a lot of people is their ambitions outweigh their skills,” he said. “The DIY market can save you money, but it can also cost you a lot of money.

“(The DIY stores) have great salesmen – they can sell you anything, but forget to ask the question ‘Are you capable of doing it yourself?’”

Mr Nicholson said so-called “reality” shows such as The Block and House Rules had given people unrealistic expectations about what is achievable.

“Look at The Block, that’s a perfect example,” he said.

 “The money they were given as a budget, it’s impossible to build what they’ve built on that.

“On The Block they did a bathroom in three days. But there’s laws and regulations about drying times and waterproofing that you have to follow and it’s not possible.

“It puts tradies on the back foot because the DIY shows have said you can do it for this price and in this time, when in reality you just can’t.”

Mr Nicholson, who started in the industry as an apprentice in the mid-1980s, said ultimately the decision to go it alone or hire a professional could only be made by the individual.

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