Clause 1 Be aware of safety during all DIY or household projects.

a) Recognise chemical hazard symbols (e.g. toxic, flammable, irritant) and know how to minimise the danger to yourself and others

The following are internationally agreed chemical hazard symbols. Other symbols can be found on this url

Symbol Symbol letter Indication of danger Symbol Symbol letter Indication of danger
E Explosive T+ Very Toxic
O Oxidizing T Toxic
F+ Extremely flammable Xn Harmful
F Highly flammable Xi Irritant
C Corrosive N Dangerous for the Environment

Always read the label before using any chemicals including what procedures to follow should they come into contact with skin or are accidentally swallowed. Always keep chemicals in their original packaging (never put into different or unlabeled bottles). Ensure these products are always locked away/stored out of reach of children. Follow any specific storage instructions on the bottles.

b) Recognise hazards in particular environments (e.g. slippery surfaces) and when using equipment such as ladders

Virtually everything can be viewed as a hazard depending on how its used. When using tools or chemicals always use for the job they have been designed for, wear appropriate clothing and foot ware and any safety/protective equipment specified. It is always best to ensure that the area is clear of anything that is not required which can be removed. Spills should be cleared up immediately. When using chemicals ensure that the room is well ventilated. Ladders should be tested for steadiness and another person should be supporting the ladder if more than a few steps are climbed. Wherever possible always have another person around when doing any DIY job in case of accidents.

c) Know about and use safety equipment (e.g. goggles, masks, ear defenders, circuit breakers)

Don't use power tools very often but we do have a circuit breaker which can be plugged into the appropriate socket when we do. We also have ear defenders, masks, goggles and protective gloves which we wear when necessary. We wear old clothes are have sensible foot wear for DIY jobs

d) Know how to store potentially hazardous substances such as paint, turps etc

Always store in their original container. Always adhere to any specific storage instructions specified (such as temperature). Store in lockable cupboards/sheds out of the reach of children and animals

e) Be aware that there are regulations which limit what an amateur may do - always check before you begin a project.

Yes I am aware that there are regulations regarding what amateur DIYers can do but to be perfectly honest these are way out of my league, though where my husband and father in law are concerned it's a different matter. My father in law has wired a new build house and had it inspected and passed by the relevant authorities. Below is some information I have found on the web.

As from 1st January 2005 anything more complicated than replacing a plug socket or changing a light switch can require official approval. Works such as fitting a new circuit will require local authority inspection or the use of a certified electrician. Anyone found breaking these regulations can face fines of upto £5,000.

There are currently no legal requirements for plumbing or for work to comply with any standards of quality, however registration with CORGI is mandatory for gas installation. Plumbing must follow the bye-laws and regulation for water and sanitary services in order to install safe and satisfactory plumbing. It may be necessary to consult the water company or local authority before making alterations to plumbing systems as it may affect soil pipes or waste pipes.

Under the 1998 Gas Installation and Use Regulations (Regulation 3) any one carrying out gas work should be competent to do so, this includes work for themselves, family or friends even if no remuneration is involved. This would require the individual to have valid certificates from an apporoved training body (CORGI).

It may be necessary to consult with the planning department at your local council before extending any property or changing the use of a building (such as a garage conversion). Failure to do so could result in the works having to be undone.

Clause 2 Know how and where to turn off main supplies to the house (e.g. water, electricity, gas) and to isolate individual electrical circuits if necessary.

Gas, by the front door in the 'Gas Cupboard' open with triangular key and pull lever down Electricity, In the garage with all the trip switches. Flip the red switch over. Various parts of the house can be electrically isolated by switching over the relevant switch. Water, in the downstairs toilet turn the tap head which by the water meter

Clause 3 Know how to use at least 6 basic hand and power tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, saws and drills. Know how to store, clean and maintain your tools and equipment.

Have used the following:-

Hand and electric screwdrivers (Phillips and Flathead) it is important to use the correct size for the screw otherwise the screw and/or the screwdriver could be damaged.




Wire cutters

Hand and electric drills

All tools should have anything 'foreign' (such as paint, sawdust etc) removed from them before storing. All our hand tools are stored in a tool box. The electric tools are in the boxes they came in. All tools are kept in the garage which is locked and when we are not there the garage alarm is set.

Clause 4 Carry out a home security & safety survey. Check that smoke detectors are fitted and operational. Take action to make the house more secure, such as fitting window locks, marking property with a UV pen or fitting a burglar alarm.

All downstairs windows have duel locking handles plus an additional lock. These are kept locked all the time All upstairs windows have a single locking handle as well as an additional lock, these are always kept locked. The skylight windows are kept shut but don't have any additional locks. Two windows that can't be seen from the house also have decorative iron work fitted to them. The two patio doors have double locks and can't be lifted out by a spade. The backdoor and conservatory door have five bolts that lock into place when the handle is lifted. The front door has four bolts two chains and two peep holes, one at my husbands height and one at mine. Any windows that have been opened are shut and locked when we go out, we also use the alarm every time we go out. We have two alarms one for the house which triggers if there is movement in the kitchen or hall or the contacts on the patio doors in the lounge or dining room are broken. A second alarm has been fitted to the garage and study and will trigger if the doors are opened or there is any pressure applied to a pressure pad below the study window. We have security lights on the garage, back and both side of the house which are trigger if there is movement and its dark. The lights on the side and back of the house are fitted high up so that they cannot be disconnected. There is a similar security light be the front door which is set to dim when switched on, when it's triggered it goes bright.

We have a smoke detector at the top of the stairs which is tested weekly by pushing the button. Unfortunately it was fitted in the house before we move in and although I can poke it with a broom handle to test I cant change the battery as the step ladder/chair would be too close to the edge of the stairs for safety. Luckily my husband is 6ft 5 and has no problems. We usually change the battery once a year and occasionally vacuum it. We are also looking into having a carbon monoxide detector fitted. Having suffered from CO2 poisoning as a child I'm not keen to go through it again. The next door neighbour leaves windows open when she goes out, doesn't lock her back gate, has a large dog flap and some windows are not closed properly as there are cable running to the back garden and never puts her alarm on making her property much more attractive to would be thieves.

Clause 5 Be able to do all of the following:

Change a lightbulb I can do this

Fit a plug (correctly wired!) and change a fuse I can do this

Bleed a radiator I can do this

Test and change the battery in a smoke detector I know how to do this and could do it but for safety reasons (step ladder/chair would be too close to the edge of the stairs) I don't, my husband who doesn't need either a step ladder or a chair does it for me.

Clause 6 Learn how to deal with at least 4 minor emergencies, and where applicable, how to minimise the chances of them occurring in the first place.

I've searched the internet and found out about all of these some are out of my league others I would tackle

A blocked sink

If water drains away slowly there may be a partial blockage in these instances a chemical cleaner could be used before the sink becomes completely blocked, always read the instructions for using the chemical carefully before using. A hand plunger should deal with most blocked sinks. Frequently the blockage will be in the trap beneath the sink. The quickest way to remove it is to clean out the trap, which unfortunately is beyond my abilities at the moment. Best way to deal with blocked sinks is not to let them block in the first place. Don't put fat or food waste down the sink, use a washing up and invest in something that will fit over the plug so that only very smallest particles get washed down

A dripping tap

Probably due to a worn washer. Turn off the water supply at the main stopcock. Close the valve on the cold feed pipe to the hot water cylinder. Switch off the boiler or immersion heater. Close the valve on the feed pipe from the cold water cistern to the taps. Turn on the taps to drain the system. Its best to put the plug in the sink to avoid losing small parts down the plughole. First unscrew the shield. If it sticks, use a spanner, protecting the shield with a cloth. Undo the headgear nut, just above the body of the tap, with a spanner. Lift the headgear assembly out. The the jumper and washer should come. Prise the washer off the jumper, or undo the fixing nut if there is one. Fit a new washer, refit the nut, and reassemble the tap. Restore water supply. As washers are perishable they will go eventually, though turning taps off too tightly will cause them to wear quicker.

An airlock in water pipes

Air trapped in a water pipe can cause a tap to splutter or even dry up. Use mains water pressure to force the air out. Connect a hose pipe between the kitchen cold tap and the affected tap. Leave both taps on for a few minutes and then turn off - the affected tap first. Test the problem tap and repeat if necessary until water runs freely.

Frozen pipes

Turn off your water supply at the internal stop tap. If the pipe hasn't split heat the frozen section gently using hot water bottles or a hairdryer - never use a naked flame. If the pipe has already split, plumber can replace or repair the joint or section. If the pipe is leaking emergency tape which will reduce leaking when wrapped round the pipe once the supply is restored. The majority of frozen pipe occur in the roof space, to avoid frozen pipes ensure that your loft is properly insulated. Special insulation for outside taps and pipes can also be purchased.

Adjusting the float arm in a cistern or water storage tank

I have inspected all three of our toilets and didn't find what I expected to. All three had a short floating arm with what I can only describe as a small plastic device which look like the foot pump on my sons ready bed. Sticking out of the top is a short threaded piece of plastic (like up side down screw) this needs to be twisted to adjust the how high up in the tank the 'foot pump' sits.

A jammed door or window

If the door/window has jammed because its dropped in its frame, the only solution is to rehang the door/window. Locks that have jammed can some times be helped with a bit of three in one oil to help them to move, otherwise you may need a lock smith. Three in one worked into the hinges can also help stiff doors. Shutting doors too hard or letting them slam can cause door frames to move slightly causing them to stick or not close properly. Too many layers of paint can also cause a door/window to stick in the frame, if necessary remove old layers of paint before putting any new coats of paint on. Occasionally a door may need to be planed if a new thicker carpet is laid

Common stains, e.g. ink, wine, coffee on clothing, carpets and upholstery

Have chosen the stains listed and added a couple that occur in our house hold. Stain devils can be purchased to deal with most stains. Once stains have been removed wash the garment following the instructions on the garment labels.

Coffee Soak in warm water and detergent until stain is removed. Carpets/upholstery. Blot up surplus. Soak up as much as possible using damp cloth and kitchen roll alternately. If necessary treat with carpet cleaner

Wine Use salt and then soak in cold water and detergent until stain is removed. Carpets/upholstery Use salt, then sponge with water. Use a carpet cleaner if necessary

Ink Run under cold water once the majority has been removed rub some neat washing up liquid into the garment and rince. On carpets/upholstery blot any excess with kitchen roll. Soak up as much as possible using damp cloth and kitchen roll alternately. If necessary treat with carpet cleaner

Blood Soak in cold water. Rub in a little neat washing up liquid and soak again. If this has not solved the problem peroxide can be used. Test on a small area first. I've never tried this but my father in law says it works. On carpets/upholstery blot any excess with kitchen roll. Soak up as much as possible using damp cloth and kitchen roll alternately. If necessary treat with carpet cleaner

Chocolate Get quite a lot of this with my three year old Soak in luke warm water and detergent. Rub garment together until the stain is removed.

Poo Probably not a common problem in most house holds but I've included this one as my three year old is not very good at wiping his bottom and consequently we get a lot of dirty pants. Thankfully we do not get this problem on carpets or upholstery. Remove any excess and flush down toilet. Soak in cold water and detergent. Rub garment together until all the stain is removed.

Clause 7 Put up basic shelves or put together a "flat pack" piece of furniture (e.g. cabinet, book case etc)

As I don't need any new flat pack furniture or shelves at the moment I have taken apart and cleaned a small set of drawers (5 in total) before reassembling. The unit is several years old, bought from Argos in the late 1980's. This was slightly more challenging as I no longer have the instructions. I did think of changing the handles but again I couldn't find the alternative handles. I removed all the screws, cleaned the unit with and cream cleaner and then reassembled. The unit is still standing a week later so I must have got it right.

Clause 8 Take an active part in a major DIY project, indoors or out, such as:

Insulate the loft, or fit draughtproofing to windows and doors.

Learn to hang wall paper and paper a room

Prepare and paint the walls of a room, woodwork, windows frames or an item of furniture.

Have rubbed down the skirting, door frame and window frames of the downstairs toilet and stained with a wood stain, cleaned brushes in white spirit. Painted the ceiling with magic white emulsion (it goes on pale pink and dries white). Painted the walls with magnolia bathroom and kitchen emulsion using both brush and roller, cleaned brushes and roller with cold water. Painted the radiator and all pipes (and there were a lot) with radiator paint, cleaned brushes in white spirit. The amount of pipe work and the toilet and hand basin in a confined space made this room difficult to decorate. This was my first decorating job. My husband says I've passed and he'll let me decorate again.

Prepare and tile a wall, surface or surround

Fit a curtain track and valance rail and hang curtains.

Cover a floor with vinyl overlay, tiles, laminate flooring or carpet.

Hang a door and fit or repair locks and other door furniture.

Fit an outside tap

Lay a patio or path.

Build a low wall, barbecue, gate or fence.

You should be involved in the planning of the project, including taking measurements and choosing the right materials and tools for the job.

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