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Home improvements and the law

With one May bank holiday down and one to go, you may well be spending time improving your home.  The longer nights and more clement weather make tackling those DIY jobs a little easier, (unless the lure of the BBQ catches you first), but if you are thinking of doing some plumbing or heating jobs yourself without calling a professional in first, there are some things you need to know.

Whether you are undertaking the jobs yourself or employing a professional tradesperson, everyone has to adhere to Building and Water Regulations. These regulations are set down in law and not just a ‘best practice’ guide - so if you indulge in some DIY, make sure you know what you are doing because work that contravenes Building or Water Regulations can have some serious consequences. Think it won’t matter? Breaking regulations could devalue your home, make it hard to sell, cause illness or injury to those you love, lead to prosecution and hurt your pocket with a hefty fine.

So what jobs should you take on?  If you have the know how, then simple tasks such as changing a tap washer, taking off a radiator to do the decorating or plumbing in a new washing machine shouldn’t pose too may dangers, however, you have to be registered with Gas Safe to work on gas. The Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. 

The bottom line is that if you need work done which involves gas appliances you have to ensure the person(s) doing so are Gas Safe Registered AND you will need all the appropriate paperwork completed.  Dangerous gas work can be deadly or cost you thousands of pounds to put right, so it really isn’t worth risking a botched DIY job to save yourself money.

Last but not least, we have to give a nod to Health and Safety Regulations.  Hospital A&E departments see a great rise in admissions due to DIY over the bank holiday weekends.  Make sure you work safely at height, remove obstacles that may cause you to trip and fall and make sure all tools and equipment is out of reach of any young people in the home.

You can find a registered plumbing or heating professional here: http://www.ciphe.org.uk/Find-a-Plumber/