Australians love to renovate, and the Do-It-Yourself attitude is one that most Aussies embrace as a means to help them save money. I mean why would I pay someone to do it when I can do it, right? Right! That is the true DIY attitude that allows us to exploit our passion of renovating our homes and attempt to DIY as much of our project as possible to keep that ever increasing budget down, or simply to make room in the budget for that divine freestanding bathtub you have your eye on!
Whilst this hands on approach can help you save money, there are some DIY NO-NO’s when it comes to renovating. DIY Plumbing and DIY Electrical works can be illegal if it is much more than changing a lightbulb or tap washer, so if you are unsure best to call a licenced tradesperson. As the requirements vary in each state, your best bet is to have your work completed by a licenced professional to ensure your work is certified.
Although you do not need to be licenced to buy plumbing and electrical goods, it is imperative that the installation is carried out by an authorised tradesperson. It is important to remember that the rules and regulations are there to protect your safety, and that of the next family to live in your home when you sell it. Although you may think plumbing work is not dangerous to attempt to do, there are other factors to consider, such as if DIY plumbing work doesn’t comply (not installed by a licenced plumber) your insurance company will not cover any damages or loss as a result of a flood or water damage, now is that really worth saving the money of employing a plumber? As a DIY renovator you can be convicted and fined for illegal plumbing, electrical or building works – to put it simply it is not worth it in the long run.
The good news is there are many ways you can save money, they make up our DIY DO’s:
Planning, Project Managing & Budgeting- will help ensure that the works carried out are completed in a timely and cost effective manner. If some un-expected costs arise you can ensure you juggle your budget accordingly and help avoid unexpected delays. When replacing bathrooms and kitchens, keeping the layout in the same format can reduce additional charges otherwise incurred by changing plumbing lines and electrical wiring. When using tradies don't make assumptions, ask questions and agree on all the details. Redoing work because of misunderstandings or miscommunication costs money. Your local council should always be your first point of call when considering any significant renovation. They can advise what regulatory requirements you need to meet.
Sourcing- If you discuss with your tradespersons to source their required materials you may be able to save money, however keep in mind you need to be researched and educated on the legal requirements when purchasing said goods. For example sourcing tap fittings yourself might mean that you save some money but you need to ensure your products are Watermarked as Australian Standard Compliant. When sourcing fixtures ensure you consider any additional installation requirements, for example a new in-wall toilet system is modern and will look fabulous but the cost of installation needs to be considered.
Preparation, Strip out and Demolition- You can save some money in preparation and in doing your own demolition of the old kitchen and bathroom, old flooring, old wallpaper etc. It is important to check carefully for power and water when cutting, drilling and nailing into walls, floors and ceilings when carrying our any demolition. It is best to check with local council and engineers when altering the building’s structure to ensure it is adhering to building codes and regulations.
Rubbish Removal- You might be surprised to know that someone might be willing to pay for and remove that old fence, kitchen, shed, lava rocks or extra dug up dirt in your backyard. If you think it could be salvaged by another savvy renovator, why not try listing on an online directory or auction site such as gumtree, eBay etc; if it gets a new home, you save on rubbish removal and if you’re lucky can even make a little profit. Ensure you maintain a safe jobsite by keeping it clean and trip hazard free.
Painting, Tiling, Installing Floors & Carpets, Waterproofing, Installing Cabinetry, Landscaping- All of these jobs can be achieved with success for the DIYer that is well prepared, has all required tools and knowledge, and the patience and tenacity to do the job right the first time. Sometimes it can defeat the purpose of doing-it-yourself if you have to employ somebody to fix your failed attempt. Consider if you will actually save money when you add up the cost of materials and tools, when compared to employing an experienced tradesperson to do the work for you.
Safety First:-Be sure to wear protective shoes, clothing and gloves, as well as safety glasses and dust masks, when you're doing any demolition work-Tie up long hair to keep it out of the way, remove jewellery that could get caught, choose appropriate clothing to ensure safety-Wear hearing protection when using power tools and doing noisy jobs-Keep jobsite clean and trip hazard free-Be aware of the dangers of asbestos, seeking professional removal is required by a licenced removalist in some states, check with local authorities for requirements-Be aware of the dangers of lead paint and other dangerous substances-Be careful up ladders, carrying heavy loads, carrying tall objects and overhead power lines-Do not attempt any of the electrical or plumbing work yourself-‘Dial before you dig’ your yard for information on locating underground utilities-Ensure there is good ventilation wherever possible when you are working
This information in this article is general in nature, any advice may not be applicable to your situation. It contains just a small amount of information relating to DIY plumbing and electrical laws and regulations, we advise you consult your local authorities for the full details. For information on your specific circumstances we advise you call a licenced tradesperson. We recommend you contact your local council for any building and renovating plans first for advice on your legal requirements.
All Fontaine shower screens and panels are designed and manufactured to the Australian standards code AS/NZS 2208:1996 Safety glazing materials in buildings. To meet installation Australian Safety Standards, you must have your Certificate of Occupancy. To maintain your warranty toughened safety glass must be installed by a licensed glazier. Due to the nature of tempered safety glass, please ensure you are careful with the transportation and handling of your products. Toughened safety glass is designed to shatter into small pieces to avoid injury.
Source: VBA https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/home-renovation-essentials
Source: VBA https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/home-renovation-essentials/plumbing-compliance-certificates
Source: Asbestos Guide for householders and general public: PDF
Source: Dial Before You Dig https://www.1100.com.au/