DIY green home improvements
With people now more aware than ever before of the environmental and financial benefits of green home improvement, an increasing number are planning to undertake DIY projects.
One study by Halifax concluded that 56 per cent of homeowners had tried their hand at a spot of DIY over the previous 12 months, with the average cost of the work £6,362. Among the popular DIY projects undertaken were redecorating, garden upgrades, fitting new kitchens and installing new bathrooms.
DIY is an attractive option for many homeowners, as it is perceived as being a low-cost option and can give you a real sense of satisfaction when the job is complete. However, there are a number of things you should consider when deciding whether to use a reputable tradesman or instead embark on a DIY project.
Cost and the quality of finish you can achieve are both bound to be issues, but you also need to think about safety and building regulations, so it is important to do plenty of research before you start work.
What DIY projects can you do?
While there are plenty of rules and regulations covering major projects, there are also lots of home improvement jobs suitable for DIY.
One of the most obvious is painting and decorating. Giving your house a lick of paint and putting up some new wallpaper is perhaps the simplest way to improve the look of your home - and is something anyone can turn their hand to.
In this case, the decision about whether to embark on a DIY project is likely to revolve around cost, the quality of the job you can do and how much more quickly a professional painter and decorator would complete the work.
It is a similar story with other straightforward tasks, such as fitting loft insulation, but once you begin to think about a job like fitting a bathroom or kitchen, things become more complicated.
However good you are at DIY, you should consider what can go wrong. If you botch fitting a bathroom, you could cause serious problems and incur a major repair bill. A reputable bathroom fitter should not experience such problems, but even if they do, should have the right insurance to cover the cost of the damage.
When fitting a kitchen, it is important to remember that there are regulations governing who can install gas appliances. Even if you feel confident that your joinery skills will enable you to do a good job on the units, you must use a Gas Safe-registered engineer to carry out any work involving gas.
Similarly, some electrical jobs, including fitting solar panels, must be carried out by a qualified electrician.
How will planning and building regulations affect your home improvements?
Whether you intend to carry out a DIY green home improvement project or to use skilled tradesmen for the job, it is important to check what planning and building regulations apply.
For example, most extensions, conservatories and loft conversions are considered to be permitted development, but the restrictions mean that some such projects will require full planning permission. An experienced builder or conservatory specialist will be able to advise you about this, but you should still check with your local planning officer before starting work.
You are also likely to find that building regulations apply to more things than you may imagine. For example, there are regulations governing the thickness of the insulation to be used in loft conversions and the type of glass that can be used for windows.
Similarly, if you are planning to install some form of renewable energy generation equipment, such as a biomass boiler or ground source heat pump system, there are a number of building regulations to consider.
Navigating your way round building regulations can be difficult, so you may find using a tradesman familiar with the rules is better than attempting a DIY project.
How can Rated People help with your green home improvements?
You may find that many green home improvement projects are too big to be DIY jobs or require skills that you do not have. That will leave you with the problem of finding reputable tradesmen to carry out the work.
With Rated People, finding the right tradesmen is easy. Simply register with the site and post details of the work you need carrying out, and Rated People will introduce you to local tradesmen interested in providing you with a quote.
You can then use that quote and the on-site recommendations from people who have already used the tradesmen to make a final decision about who to give the job to.
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