Five jobs you should always leave to the experts

Put simply, there are some DIY jobs that no homeowner should try to take on. A simple fix for a qualified professional can be dangerous for an amateur to tackle, and could even invalidate your home insurance. Here are five examples of jobs you should leave to the experts:

1. Fixing a gas leak

If you smell gas in your home, don’t try to tackle any leak yourself. Just turn the gas off at the meter if it is safe, and call the 24-hour Gas Emergency Services line on 0800 111 999. The operator will advise you what to do next and send out an engineer. It’s a good idea to open all your doors and windows to help the gas escape, and don’t use any light switches, which could spark an explosion.

Fitting electrics

2. Installing electrical cabling

Electrical work in the home is a highly regulated area, and for good reason. Any substantial electrical jobs are covered by Building Regulations laws, the legal framework that sets the rules on how homes are built.

Part P of the Building Regulations says that anyone doing electrical installation work must make sure the work is designed and installed to protect people from fire and electric shocks. Part P applies to any changes made to existing installations, including any parts that have been rewired. You can find out more here.

“I’d always advise getting a professional in. If you’re confident and have some experience with electrics, then there are some jobs in the home you can feasibly do yourself - like changing light fittings and swapping switches. But be careful. I’ve taken hundreds of calls from people who have rushed into what they think is a simple job, and have caused an electrical fault as a result. You need to make sure you’re clear on how to turn off your electrics properly, and read up on the latest advice.”

Nick Speak at NJ Electrical Solutions in Manchester
Checking for asbestos

3. Removing asbestos

Asbestos can be found in any home built or renovated before 2000. It was used to insulate and fireproof buildings and can be difficult to spot, so here’s a handy guide: When it is disturbed or damaged, it releases fibres which can cause serious diseases if inhaled, so if you think there may be asbestos in your home, don’t try to repair or remove it. Left as it is, it is not an immediate danger, but check its condition from time to time to make sure it hasn't been damaged or started deteriorating.

Asbestos removal should only be carried out by trained professionals, and it needs to be legally disposed of as hazardous waste. You can get advice from the environmental health department at your local council.

Fitting a bath

4. Fitting a new bath

When it comes to complex plumbing jobs, like fitting a new bath or shower, leave it to a qualified professional or you could be fined for breaking Water Regulations. Approved fittings must be used, and in some cases you may also have to tell your local water supplier before carrying out work. If you break the rules, your home could even be disconnected from the water supply.

Knocking down a wall

5. Knocking down an internal wall

Open plan living is a great way to maximize the space in your home, but before you take a sledgehammer to that wall, get the advice of a structural engineer. If the wall is load bearing (supports the upper level of your house), your home could be at risk of collapse. Load bearing walls also often contain electrical wiring and plumbing, which will need rerouting by a professional.

Speak to your local council before you start any substantial building work like this, as you may also need to get Building Control’s approval. Employing a professional builder means it’s their responsibility to make sure the work complies with all regulations.

Swinton Insurance is not liable for any of the views expressed by tradesmen within this article. 

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