Is it advisable and/or worth it to install your own electrics and heating?

Hi
I'm a bit fed up now of paying people to do building work just because
I feel I don't have the skills. I seem to almost always (especially
here in London), end up paying over the odds, with less than
acceptable results. Also, with the shortages of skilled tradesmen,
they are often a law unto themselves, and can be quite pushy. I know
this doesn't apply to them all, but in my experience, it is more often
than not.
Now I know the electrics is covered by "Part P", and that one has to
inform the local council's build regs. But apart from that, is there a
similar thing for plumbing?
The other thing is actually learning the skills. On paper, none of it
seems too hard in theory. However, I of course realise there are many
many details, such as run lengths, pip sizes, so on and so forth.
With all that in mind, do you think it would be practical to learn
this from a good book and/or website? Or are we talking years of full-
time courses and practical experience?
Would the required equipment be prohibitive for a one-off job?
As an aside, this is not purely a cost saving measure - more a sort of
take-control-life-style decision. So if things take a bit long, and
the cost saving is not much, I'm still interested in trying it out. I
would also hope it would pay off in the long run, for all those jobs
that are too small to call in a professional.
It might be worth mentioning that I'm generally quite a methodical
person, have an A-level in physics, and a degree in computing and
electronics. (Not that I think that's anything special, just I guess
it might help)
Reply to
marcos.scriven
New drains can be notifiable work. New boilers are notifiable work. I think new hot water cylinders might be.
But even if you only do the 'unskilled' work of lifting and relaying floorboards, cutting wall chases, etc, that can cut a lot off a professional's bill.
You only need to learn the bits you need to know, not become a fully qualified plumber/electrician. The practical skills are just practice. If you're diying it, it doesn't matter if you're slower or take several goes[1,2]. Because you aren't paying labour[3] you can spend more on better quality materials and take the time to do a proper job.
Don't fool yourself that all the tradespeople are skilled or experienced.
Buy and resell, or hire it.
Owain
[1] Provided you don't flood / blow up the place [2] This does not apply to gas boiler-y things [2a] Plastering, and cutting kitchen worktops, are opportunities for making a serious muck-up of a job with surprisingly little effort [3] There is an opportunity cost of what you would be doing with your time otherwise
Reply to
Owain
In article ,
The biggest part of re-wiring - and to some extent plumbing - isn't those actual skills but others revolving round them. When wiring you need to lift floorboards, chase walls for the cables and boxes etc, fix things in place and make good afterwards. The actual wiring part in an average domestic installation ain't that complicated. Same really with plumbing - especially if using plastic pipe. The difficult part might be fixing the radiators, basins etc to walls and laying in the pipes. The actual connections being relatively straightforward.
It sounds rather like you don't do any DIY at present. So quite a few simple skills to learn.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
Is it really the lack of control of the result and the means to achieve it that are the prime motivators?
If it is pure cost saving and your thought is to do only one electrical or plumbing project ever, then a major thing to consider is how you value your time.
There is certainly a learning curve and there will be mistakes. Spending time on planning and asking will make a difference to outcome but it is time used. Moreover, time taken on a project will almost always be more than it would take a professional.
So it is really time and patience that are the investment in this. The expensive mistakes, but not all mistakes can be avoided
Generically no for much general pipework, but there are some regulatory factors:
- Other parts of the Building Regulations such as J and L and others that relate to fuel burning appliances, heating installations for energy conservation, sanitary installations and hot water production. You can download the Approved Documents for these.
- Water Byelaws which influence installation of showers and certain other bathroom equipment.
- Gas safety requlations which are related to siting, installation and commissioning of gas appliancs such as boilers.
Of these, there are only a very few which exclude DIY work by implication or by mandating professionals - one being pressurised hot water cylinders.
On others you can take a view, but bearing in mind that there are some where absence of a piece of paper may hinder a future sale.
No it isn't.
If you can drive a calculator you can do any of this stuff either from first principles - e.g mass x specific heat x temp rise - or using tables of data.
The trickier part is the practical skills such as lifting and replacing floor boards, cutting chases in walls and so on.
You can learn the basics from looking and asking, but there is still doing. Here your investment is time and some amount of fixing mistakes
You can buy the tools and power tools needed for a budget of a £X00 where X = 2 to 5 depending on how many things you buy and their level of quality.
There are some specialised power tools such as wall chasers that are probably better rented for a day or two, and others such a gas analysis equipment for setting up a boiler or electrical safety test gear where it probably makes more sense to get th testing done by a professional.
If that is your approach then it's reasonable.
If you were saying one off jobs, time is important and you expecting to save a lot of money then it could be disappointing.
It certainly does.
A methodical approach and attention to detail count for a lot.
Reply to
Andy Hall
New as in never one there before, or new as in replacement? I've just discovered I have to replace my hot water cylinder as it's rated for 6m head of water, and I will now have a 10m head when I refill it.
-- JGH
Reply to
jgh
it would be under (English Regs) Part L (Energy conservation). If the work is notifiable, I think it would apply to both.
Owain
Reply to
Owain

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