Page 63

Tips of the trade Tips for DIY safety following rise in home improvement accidents Jason Orme, property expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show, says: Don’t rush it With so many resources available online to show you how to do DIY, the number one reason for accidents or poor work is not the result of a lack of skill, but of trying to get everything done in a very short amount of time. When you cut corners, it’s either your safety or the quality of the job that’s at risk. If you approach DIY methodically, by taking time beforehand to do your research, anticipate what resources you need and how much time you should put aside, you minimise the chances of being caught offguard. Regardless of the type of work that you do throughout the house, the same rule should apply to all areas. It usually comes down to time – if you are tired at the end of a long week at work and then try to do these projects at weekends, when you have a three-hour window to finish them, inevitably you won’t be thinking about every single cut and the mini actions which go into the project, so that’s when you’re rushed. If people are quite tired physically and mentally, it becomes a strenuous activity, muscles fade and the weakness sets in. Professionals which do this day in, day out have the muscle memory and the stamina to take on board these projects. For DIYers, everything is new so there’s a higher likelihood of an accident. Use the right equipment Mistakes can happen when you also don’t have the right tools to hand and when you don’t use enough protective gear. Proper work trousers are a good starting point; these can be bought from DIY sheds for £30-50 and are a good investment, as they can stop the common scratches while offering you

things like compartmentation. For example, if an office unit had cables running through walls, the portholes created for this function might compromise fire compartmentalisation in a residential unit, unless this feature was modified.

The same considerations should be applied to the higher education community, where rapid refurbishments are often done in order to meet

I also recommend paying plenty of attention to the quality of the air which surrounds you. If you deal with adhesives and sealants, grout, cement etc. without wearing wellfitting gloves and a face mask, you might develop breathing problems or your skin could become irritated from all the dust in the air. Professional builders wear protection as a matter of course, so inexperienced people are even more required to do so. If painting in closed environments, you can get headaches if they aren’t ventilated. To avoid this, consider buying low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, available in specialist shops. You can also purchase dust-free net sanding discs, which when combined with the right tool and an extractor, will virtually eliminate dust. Ask for help DIY jobs, although they imply tasks that you can do yourself around the house, can benefit from an extra helping hand. Don’t hesitate to ask when you need someone at the bottom of the ladder to hold on to it, or when you need assistance in lifting something heavy off the ground. You could also benefit from a considerate, calm opinion from someone more objective than you, but be careful who you involve in the process as a lot of people or children around can actually interfere with your focus and do you a disservice. If alone on a ladder, take your time and make sure it’s at the right angle. When climbing it, don’t overstretch yourself without extending it, as the chances are quite high for an

incident to occur. Better still, if you’re using it constantly, consider investing in a ladder that’s flexible and can adapt to your needs without putting you in danger. Spatial planning It’s not just about having the right tools – you also need to have the right space to work in, where everything is organised and within easy reach. Especially when working in tight areas such as a bathroom, some people tend to leave everything in there and then struggle to manoeuvre, and this is when things can go wrong. Remove everything that’s unnecessary at the start of a new task – from storage solutions to untangling cords and decluttering tips, you have all the information a click away. If you set your mind to deal with the basics and allow as much time for this part as you do for watching DIY tutorials, you are a step closer to completing your projects in time and in one piece.

a short-term need but the long-term use and suitability of these buildings are not always considered. As such, fire risk assessments must be carried out on all change of use buildings before passing building control and a building is occupied. This is critical, as in a worst case scenario, if fire safety does not meet requirements, building control will not be passed and if a building is occupied, an emergency evacuation procedure will be implemented until remedial work has been done. In order to avoid this, developers, landlords and all persons responsible for the refurbishment of a change of use refurbishment should be aware of their obligations and always seek expert advice when it comes to fire safety. Bureau Veritas offers a one-stop solution for fire safety and compliance via an experienced team of technical experts. For more information, call 0345 600 1828 or visit

RRNews - Issue 38

The means of escape also may not be suitable given the potential changes in occupancy figures. Additional fire risks may be introduced too, through communal cooking and use of cooking equipment in small confined bed-sittype rooms; also items such as heaters may be brought in by residents to dry clothing where the provision of communal facilities are inadequate. Even small things such as lighting candles can pose an additional risk, which is why on this basis safety features such as automatic fire detection will certainly need reviewing.

durability and comfort. Eye protection is also critical, while good ear plugs come in very handy for people who use disc and tile cutters.


Profile for Lapthorn Media

Refurb Renovation News Issue 38  

Refurb Renovation News is the UK's leading product magazine designed as a useful tool for professional specifiers and buyers who are involve...

Refurb Renovation News Issue 38  

Refurb Renovation News is the UK's leading product magazine designed as a useful tool for professional specifiers and buyers who are involve...