Grand Designs: Hallways to Heaven

29th July 2012 posted in Home Lifestyle

Grand Designs: Hallways to Heaven


Enjoy a serving of schadenfreude as you read these true stories of DIY attempts gone horribly wrong. These cautionary tales show us where to be careful, or where sometimes, it’s just better to bring in the experts.

Costly Mistakes

In 2005, the BBC reported that BT billed over £25,000 to a 40 year old Mr Brown from Cambridgeshire. The unfortunate Mr Brown hadn’t racked up the charge by calling premium rate numbers, rather, he’d accidentally sliced through one of BT’s underground lines while building a fence in his garden.

An easy mistake to make, perhaps, but rather more baffling was the 40ft long, 30ft wide and 6.5ft deep hole dug by a Mr Lynch in his back garden in 2007. He’d intended to dig a 20ft by 15ft hole to lay foundations for his garden shed, but ended up getting carried away using his brand new £18,000 mini-digger (well, who wouldn’t?). The hole threatened to swallow up neighbouring houses and Mr Lynch had to pay a whopping £50,000 to sort out the damage.

How about the housing association tenant who decided to join in with the vogue for open plan by knocking down the wall in between his sitting room and kitchen? A cool idea, but unfortunately it turned out to be a supporting wall, and within no time the upstairs flat’s bed, wardrobe and floor were tumbling down into his living room. Luckily he escaped unharmed, but he had to face a £17,000 bill from the housing association, and a sentence from the local magistrates’ court.

Painful Procedures

It’s not just finances that are at risk through DIY mistakes. Powerful tools in the wrong hands unfortunately mean that there are many thousands of A+E admissions each year due to DIY-related injuries. According to RoSPA, (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), the most common DIY accidents are due to improper use of tools or machinery, resulting in a total of 87,000 hospital visits per year. 60,000 are related to dust, splinters, grit, and other particles, while 41,000 visits are as a result of ladder and stepladder accidents.

Pity Alan Williams, who appeared in the Sun newspaper just this March after slipping over and accidentally nailing his hand to the floor while doing some DIY at home. He was left waiting for hours until his partner returned from work.Amazingly, the nail missed tendons and blood vessels, leaving builder Williams with full use of his hand. 

The good news is that we can avoid most DIY accidents by taking simple precautions and getting expert help when a project is simply beyond our capabilities. Take a look at a recent Hunters article on preventing DIY disasters.

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