It has been announced this week that one of our major DIY outlets is to close 60 stores and replace them with something aimed at the Building Trade instead of Joe Public.
Actually, we as Joe Public use these stores too for the purchase of screws and fixings (not intending to advertise here of course, even though both are owned by the same umbrella company).
Hubby and I aren’t strangers to DIY.
We have revamped kitchens and bathrooms, decorated property throughout, revised plumbing and replaced leaky radiators, windows or badly fitting exterior doors, and our panel fencing is legendary.
Any job we have undertaken has been done practically, safely, tidily, and works.
Think on this:
How many men does it take to change a light bulb?
(Answers on a postcard please……. with your explanation as to why this varies from one to ten).
The practical and frugal answer is of course One.
Now get Health and Safety involved.
And an electrician.
And a purchase order.
And a payment authorization.
And a delivery guy.
Someone to raise the cheque.
Someone to sign the cheque.
A builder to supply a ladder.
Someone to dispose of the defunct light bulb.
Someone to make the tea.
You think I’m joking?
I worked in an office where our messengers were the Mr Fix It guys when something simple like a plug fuse or light bulb blew.
Then, thanks to the EU, the rules changed, and they were no longer qualified to do the job.
They couldn’t even go out to a supermarket and purchase a standard light bulb, get a receipt and claim the cost back.
A purchase order had to be raised to a specific/preferred supplier (twenty pence light bulb now costs two pounds), a delivery date agreed, and then a professional qualified guy hired to come and fit it. Total bill for job, including VAT, £75.20 (not including my wages for raising the cheque or bank charges for clearance).
This is why DIY is dying.
No longer can we, as householders trying to maintain our property, do such simple jobs as replace a worktop or plumb in a dishwasher, because we don’t have the qualifications.
We can’t purchase a replacement double glazed window and fit it ourselves because we can’t provide the necessary ten-year paper guarantee that all double glazing units must have now.
Although we may be competent to take a spur off a power point, we cannot, because we aren’t professional electricians with the paperwork to back us up.
So the rub is, as we are being forced
to line the pockets to rely more and more on ‘professionals’ (and fork out ten times the cost), there will be no call for DIY shops to supply doors, plugs, wiring, electric sockets, radiators, and all the other paraphernalia to us poor (literally) mortals, or anyone else with an iota of common sense who can fit it themselves.
As for some of these so-called Experts:
We hired a ‘professional’ to fix our gas boiler. The idiot hit it with a hammer, hard, and it almost fell off the wall, so we had to find someone else.
In another house, we hired a ‘professional, qualified and registered’ fitter to replace the central heating hot water pump. If Hubby hadn’t been watching him as he wired it in, we would have all been blown sky-high. We reported him to the governing body he was registered with, and not only was his ‘identification number’ invalid, THEY HAD NEVER HEARD OF HIM.
In our last house, we couldn’t afford to replace the front door which leaked like a sieve, as for a professional company to fit one would have set us back over £1000. We could have purchased a perfectly adequate front door, double glazed and with door frame, for £175.
However, we needed that official guarantee as our house was being sold, so each year we painted the door, and after heavy rain from one particular direction, mopped up if necessary.
I can understand the need for qualified experts to do specialised work, but there are a lot of such people who, although they have the ‘paper’, I wouldn’t trust to do as much as strike a match.
I think everyone is so intent on covering their asses, they are afraid to do the simplest things, such as changing a fuse, without supervision or a bona fide certificate of competence confirming they are allowed to do the job.
So the question is, where do we go from here?
I just hope it doesn’t get to the stage where I need a hygiene certificate to prepare meals and cook in my own kitchen.
It only takes one person to change a light bulb, as long as the light bulb wants to be changed! This is according to a “shrink” I once knew. 🙂
Priceless my friend, priceless!
Yikes. You’ve brought up some really good points about where we’re headed. It’s a scary thought that soon we’ll all have next to no qualifications for most things we’d like to accomplish. And it makes me cringe to think of two people I’ve come to know as some of the most admirable DIYers around not having the opportunity to save money where needed because you have the know how, but lack the appropriate paperwork. Sad days, indeed.
Hubby and I both have a lot of practical experience with a variety of things, but our ‘papers’ are dated and don’t count any more. To officially update them is expensive. Catch 22, but we manage.