Is DIY on the decline?
In the last week we have been approached by local and national media for comments on the decline of DIY skills in the general population. Here are some thoughts on that, based on what our customers say to us.
There are a variety of comments that customers make when they call and often these relate to their own skill level and how capable they feel in regard to working on their own home. Increasing numbers tell us “I’m hopeless at DIY, I don’t even know how to change a fuse” as though ashamed and proud at the same time.
In spite of the rise in popularity of Home Makeover shows on TV and the apparent desire of every house or flat dweller for house beautiful and much ‘WOW Factor’ we get asked to complete more and more basic DIY tasks. Back in the 60’s and 70’s we were taught basic skills. I remember being taught how to rewire a fused plug at school, but we seem to have separated essential from desirable, and it’s essential that is missing out.
There has been a worrying lack of interest in our ‘Save ££££’s by learning how to turn off your own Stoptap’ video (and this really is as simple as turning a tap and literally can save hundreds if not thousands of pounds in damage limitation) – it’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, but actually, in an emergency, it’s essential.
It is almost as though the population of UK strongly want and desire to improve their home environment but are resistant to maintaining them.
Have we become such a ‘buy new’ culture that we are unprepared to learn a very few, very easy, basic skills that would save us hundreds of pounds in potential damage or at the very least, an emergency call out charge?
Are we such a ‘buy new’ culture that we’d rather accessorise than learn some very basic DIY skills that can save us literally thousands of pounds in damage limitation?
We’ve been surprised at the numbers of people who cannot wire a plug or who don’t know how to change a fuse, and the even more essential but even scarcer, turning off their stoptap and preventing very expensive damage, while colour matching and appropriate accessorising is on the rise.
We’re happy to beautify and improve, but what do we do in an emergency? Panic and reach for our phones it seems.
It is as though practicality is culturally acceptable if it is to beautify but not when it is simply practical for practical’s sake.
Even though our women plumbers can make quite a lot of money reducing flood damage by turning off stoptaps on Bank Holiday weekends and then going back at our normal rate to fix the problem, we’d far rather people learned these simple, basic skills and let us have our weekends and Bank Holidays too.
Can these skills be taught as essentials please? Can it be impressed on everyone that when moving to a new house, they find out where the fuse box and stoptaps are and know what to do in an emergency?
Really, these are not even DIY ‘skills’ they’re basics, like turning your computer off and on again, and just as easy.
We’d all feel safer and more in control of our homes and these skills won’t stop us making them even more WOW.