Timer Icon 2 Minute

Make do and Mend?

This week we invited Dr Bill Price from Lafarge to write an article about ‘the real cost of a DIY project’

We are now at that time of year when we start to get on with our treasured DIY projects (the monsoon having departed for the next month or so, hopefully!). There are probably two main reasons for embarking on DIY, one would be lower cost, but another is the personal challenge of finishing a job well done. But what is the real cost of a DIY project?

A recent BBC report suggests that on average, the DIYer spends £3,342 on each project, and for those of us who have passed the 55 year milestone (a distant memory for yours truly, I’m afraid), this rises to £4,055. Increasingly DIYers are looking to merchants as well as traditional DIY stores to get those all-important products and tools. But do we need to spend so much and what are the additional costs of getting in a professional if we get it wrong?

As regards avoiding costly mistakes, doing your homework and spending sufficient time on preparation is a key factor to achieving a successful outcome. Whilst experience can only come with time and by learning from others, good planning and preparation is always rewarded. Do not charge at the project like a ‘bull at a gate’, and at the risk of mixing my metaphors, ‘look before you leap.’

What are the hidden problems in the job? You can download lots of useful information from the internet and from your local merchant. Merchants are experienced, ready and willing to help, so don’t look that gift horse in the mouth!

Try and anticipate problems like buried pipes and hidden wiring. Just remember that getting someone in to rectify mistakes is likely to cost more than doing the job properly in the first place. Although, just to make you feel a bit better, it is estimated that the cost of rectifying mistakes by professional tradesmen in the UK could be as high as £1.9bn.

And when it comes to cutting the cost, do you really need that ‘state of the art, goes anywhere, does everything’ tool? Although the old rule of you get what you pay for will normally apply, be sensible. A £50 power drill will often do the job, whatever your DIY needs. Tools are precisely that – they are ‘tools’ for doing the job, not DIY bling!

The weather is warming up, and with the summer set to be a scorcher, get some advice, consider safety and don’t forget to do your homework.