City handymen on which DIY jobs you really SHOULDN'T try at home

Carpenter Andy Walker-Hall from Norwich who trades as Handy Andy

Carpenter Andy Walker-Hall from Norwich who trades as Handy Andy - Credit: Andy Walker-Hall

Armed with shiny new tool kits and planks of plywood, droves of people in Norwich attempted to renovate their homes during lockdown.

But ahead of a winter potentially dogged with more orders to stay in, experts have warned there are some jobs amateurs really shouldn't try themselves. 

Some attempts could end in a bodged job, they say, but some could end in real catastrophe. 

Roger Gidney, managing director of Property 1st (Maintenance) Ltd

Roger Gidney, managing director of Property 1st (Maintenance) Ltd - Credit: Roger Gidney

Roger Gidney, managing director of Sprowston-based Property 1st (Maintenance), which started in 1989, said: "This is the busiest we have ever been. This last year we have been inundated. Business has gone up 30pc."

He has employed extra staff but believed the increase in requests for non-emergency work would slow amid rising gas and electricity costs.


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Giving his top tips to people attempting DIY, he said there were online video tutorials on most jobs that can be done around the house.

The 68-year-old carpenter and joiner said people should attempt jobs relative to their practical skills and confidence.

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He also advised people to "shop around" for products amid supply shortages and product price hikes.

Mr Gidney said any "challenging" jobs related to plumbing, electricity, roofing and gas were best left to professionals adding: "When working on electrics and it bites, believe me that hurts. If anything goes wrong things could turn nasty."

Carpenter Andy Walker-Hall, 39, who lives off the Aylsham Road, has run Handy Andy for the past decade.

He said: "I'm getting inquiries every day."

Giving tips to DIYers he said: "Make sure you have the right materials, enough materials, and the correct tools.

"Research it thoroughly - there are a lot videos on YouTube.

"If you are going to make holes in a wall, make sure there are no cables or pipes.

"Read the fitting instructions. Follow them properly. All the pieces are there for a reason.

"And find out about building regulations."

Independent store defying supply issues

An historic store on Norwich Lanes is keeping customers supplied despite the challenges from rising prices.

Director of Thorns, Miriam Devlin has been in talks with the council to extend the times for their l

Director of Thorns, Miriam Devlin - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Miriam Devlin, director of Thorns DIY in Exchange Street, which has been trading since 1835, said: "It has been a challenging getting supplies but we have got over 100 sources."

She believed the boost in people sprucing up their homes, inside and out, would continue rather than people getting tradesmen in.

Ms Devlin said the store's painting and gardening supplies were high in demand and said trade had got increasingly better over the past six months.

The director gave the following advice to people taking on projects:

  • When painting a product, ensure the surface is prepared properly;
  • When using garden machinery, ensure you wear the appropriate safety equipment;
  • At this time of year check round the home for any damp patches on walls and treat appropriately.

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