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Can I do it myself?

Postby kingrolo » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:23 am

My house requires a lot of work. I am a DIYer with a degree in Electronic Engineering (if that's relevant). I am on a tight budget and am limited to how much work can be done according to the funds availble. I would like to do as much of the work myself as possible (and I feel I am more than capable). I need...

1. New boiler (condensing) (plumbing, gas, electrics)
2. Unvented cyclinder (Megaflo?)
3. New bathroom in new location. (basic plumbing)
4. A few new/moved electrical mains sockets.
5. A few new/moved radiators.

I can't afford to have someone do all of the above for me. How much can I do myself? Could I then just have someone check/certify my work? Or...would it even pay me to get myself qualified for installation. (I understand that I don't have the kit for testing the electrics, but can i do the installation?).

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Postby rosebery » Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:50 am

"1. New boiler (condensing) (plumbing, gas, electrics)"

You need to be an RGI to install (yes even just to hang it) a boiler.

"2. Unvented cyclinder (Megaflo?)"

You may not install one of these unless you are a "competant" person.

"3. New bathroom in new location. (basic plumbing)"

This is more than basic plumbing. You need building regs approval for a new location. Electrics are notifiable as any bathroom is a special location. Structurally you need to ensure the flooring can take the additional load and there are waste implications.

"4. A few new/moved electrical mains sockets."

You're probably OK to do these unless it involves work in the kitchen (or other special locations) or outside or anything to do with the consumer unit. All of these are notifiable.

"5. A few new/moved radiators."

You're probably OK with this as well but as you are planning a new boiler then the heating system needs to be appropriately planned and specified.

So my question to you (which you are not going to like I'm afraid) is can you afford not to employ a professional. At the very least you should get some people in to quote you for the work you want doing and get at least three for comparison purpose and make sure they are fully detailed. At least you then have a baseline from which to move forward.

The only relevance of your degree is probably that you have the intelligence to understand technical things. It won't make you a plumber though. Also feeling you are capable is not the same as being so unless you are understating your confidence in yourself in which case I apologise.

If you think about it this way. How much is my time worth to me? If you spend, say, ten hours on a job which if you were at your normal place of work and would have earned £ 20 which would take a professional two and he would charge you £ 2 (obviously silly numbers but just for illustration) where on earth is the saving to you?

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Postby kingrolo » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:06 am

Thanks for the response rosebery, that makes a lot of sense. I've had all the quotes in and some are definitely worth while, whilst others are a bit scarey. I've done a lot of plumbing in the past and I'm pretty quick and my work is good (IMHO). So it's disappointing that the area I could save the most money is the one I legally can't do.

(I'm self employed and my schedule is very lumpy (I currently have a month window which I was planning to use for DIY), no money comming in, but plenty of time..hence watching somebody doing something I could do myself is frustrating).

I spoke to our builder about the chances of me doing the plumbing almost up to commissioning (boiler and cyclinder) and then having a plumber 'finish off', but understanderbly a pro would not want to certify any of my work. What are your thoughts on that?

Thanks again
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