Brits count the cost of Bank Holiday DIY disasters

1 May, 2018

01 May 2018 An army of have-a-go builders is expected to cause damage to their properties, wallets and potentially themselves as Brits get serious about ‘Do-it-Yourself’ this May Day.

A national poll commissioned by Nationwide Current Accounts reveals that May 7 could be an expensive time for DIY enthusiasts, with the research pointing towards bodged jobs, accidents, and repeated visits to the store as the nation struggles to get jobs right first time.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults shows that six in ten are planning home improvements next week, and for a variety of reasons too. More than a third (34%) say it’s the only time they get to do things, while just under a fifth say the three-day weekend gives them time to correct if they get it wrong.

Nationwide data reveals customers made a million transactions across the big four home improvement stores* on the last May Day Bank Holiday – one of the most popular times to do home improvements. The average spend across debt and credit cards was £40.29 per transaction, with 76 per cent more transactions than a regular Monday in May.

Costly disasters:

DIY jobs often end in disaster, with more than one in five (23%) stating they resorted to professional help in order to rectify a bungled job, with the average cost of repair being £166.76. More than one in ten (10%) have called on experts on multiple occasions.

Londoners are much more likely to suffer a disaster according to the research, with just under a fifth (18%) paying for a professional compared to just six per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber.  Equally, some 19 per cent of those aged 16-24 received help compared to four per cent of those aged 55-plus.

Of those who have experienced home improvement disasters, the top calamities include:

  • Short circuit/ electricity problems: 34% have experienced
  • Plaster fell off wall: 28%
  • Blown a fuse/ broke appliance: 26%
  • Flooding from damaged water pipe: 19%
  • Fell through the ceiling: 12%
  • Ruined structure of the house: 10%
  • Caused a fire in the home: 9%

Despite more than half of Brits believing men and women are equal when it comes to DIY, more than a third (35%) believe men are typically more proficient, versus 10 per cent for women. However, the poll shows women are around half as likely as men to have an accident or bodge a job, at 16 per cent versus 30 per cent.

A poor worker blames their tools:

It is perhaps little wonder that DIY jobs are often calamitous. A quarter (25%) of respondents say they attempt jobs using whatever they can find lying around rather than go to the shops. Lack of preparation is also higher when younger according to the poll, with more than a third (35%) of those aged 16-24 using whatever they can find compared to a fifth (20%) of those aged 55 and above.

A further 20% of people fail to properly ‘cost’ a job, making repeated trips to the shop because they always forget something.

When it comes to jobs, Brits are willing to give most things a go. The top ten jobs that the nation feels comfortable doing themselves include:

  1. Change a lightbulb: 76% comfortable
  2. Hanging pictures: 71%
  3. Painting and decorating: 69%
  4. Change a plug: 60%
  5. Putting up shelves: 54%
  6. Bleed a radiator: 53%
  7. Lay carpet: 24%
  8. Woodwork: 23%
  9. Hanging doors: 23%
  10. Laminate/ wooden flooring: 22%

Carl Burke, Nationwide’s Head of Product Management, Current Accounts, said: “Do-it-yourself is as much a part of a May Bank Holiday as going to the seaside or getting stuck in traffic. As a nation we spend millions of pounds on tools and materials across Britain’s home improvement stores and online, with our data showing the average spend as slightly over £40.

“But as our research shows, the actual costs could be much higher, particularly as we often misjudge routine jobs around the house. Luckily it’s easier than ever to pay for goods, with contactless and online payments, which is just as well given that a fifth of us end up dashing to the stores multiple times because we’ve forgot that all important screw or spanner.

“Whatever the project, plan for the cost accordingly and ensure you are confident of not only attempting the job but also that it will be done properly and to budget.”