Home Insurance

DIY enthusiasts warned not to attempt work that could be illegal

Homeowners have been warned not to attempt a number of repairs or upgrades themselves or risk breaking the law.

More than a fifth of people admit they would carry out home repairs that are required to be done by a registered tradesperson, according to a survey by Direct Line business insurance.

With the cost of living crisis biting, Britons may be tempted to carry out work themselves rather than calling in a tradesperson or claiming on their home insurance.

But certain gas and electrical work including fitting a new cooker, fuse box or circuits, must be carried out or checked by a registered electrician (under so-called Part P legislation) or Gas Safe registered engineer.

Not complying with building regulations is a criminal offence. Civil proceedings could also be launched if injury or damage to property is caused.

Not only that but uncertified works without proper paperwork could become an issue when it comes to selling the property. Work could need to be redone before a sale can be completed. Or buyers could even sue after the sale of the property if they uncover dodgy works.

Not using a Gas Safe registered engineer could put lives at risk, with the potential for a leak, explosion or fire.

And if work is carried out by someone unquaified it may invalidate warranty on a boiler or invalidate home insurance policies.

Direct Line's poll of 2,000 people in the UK, released this month, found 21% of people would carry out works themselves even if the law required them to have it done or checked by a registered tradesperson.

And 42% of people questioned in September already carry out DIY works at home themselves. However, some people reported injuring themselves or making things worse by trying to do the work themselves.

Alison Traboulsi, product manager at Direct Line business insurance said: "During difficult times, it's important that people still look for professionals to do complex work rather than breaking the law or compromising their own health and finances.

"For those worried about cost, it's always worth seeing if you could negotiate on price and it's sensible to compare quotes from a few contractors, and check reviews online for service quality."

If you’re wondering which works must be carried out by registered electricians, charity Electrical Safety First has a list of specifics.

The Gas Safe Register has a homebuyers' guide to gas safety basics including:

  • Finding out where the gas emergency control valve is so you're ready in an emergency.
  • Have regular safety checks on gas appliances and pipework.
  • Don't use appliances until they've been checked if you're worried.
  • Be on the lookout for lazy yellow flames, black marks or sooty stains on or around the appliance, as well as more condensation than usual or intermittent pilot lights.
  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer for works.
  • Don't cover air vents and flues.
  • Check what's behind a wall before you start drilling or hammering.

Our team of writers has expertise in business, car, travel, home and pet insurance as well as personal finance issues.