Doing It Yourself Can Pose Risks


Your home is likely the largest investment you will ever make, and beyond the financial aspects, your home is your personal haven. We want you to be successful and comfortable in the choices you make. Which is why a good part of our messaging is about the benefits of working with professionals.

Our members are serious about their craft, so you might think we would not support homeowners doing their own work. The truth is that we understand the fun of being hands-on and the personal satisfaction gained from a job well done. In fact, our best reward is seeing the joy on the faces of our clients after the completion of a job.

For many homeowners, do-it-yourself home renovation and repair projects are a source of considerable enjoyment and pride. The best advice we can offer is that you consider your skills and abilities carefully when planning your projects. Getting in over your head can end up costing more money than hiring professional help in the first place.

Before you jump in, take a few minutes to review the following questions:

  • Do you have any knowledge of current building codes and good building practices, which are essential for many projects? What about new energy-efficient methods of construction and building materials?
  • What would happen to your income from your current employer if you were injured at home and unable to work?
  • Do you have the time to research, plan and do the work properly? Do you know how long it will take and is your family prepared for the inconvenience?
  • If needed, for the parts of the job that you can’t do yourself, do you know trade contractors and subtrades that will do a good job on your home? And will you be able to schedule their work without overlaps or lengthy delays?
  • Do you have the proper tools to do a good and attractive job?
  • If you act as your own contractor and hire someone to work for you, do you know how to protect yourself against liabilities in case of accidents or mistakes? Or against damage to your home in the course of the work?
  • Do you know the government requirements for ensuring a safe work site?

Safety is an extremely important consideration. Builders and renovators are well aware of legislation regulating construction and the requirements for safety compliance.

However, every year there are stories about brave souls who have taken on either the entire construction of their new home or a major renovation. We hear about it when someone gets injured and the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association of Ontario and the Ministry of Labour fine the homeowner for failing to reasonably protect workers in their home, or provide a safe work site.

A few last important points for consideration. It’s now commonplace for lawyers to require confirmation of a building permit and inspection approvals for renovations, prior to the purchase of a home. Insurance companies also are beginning to require the same proof either before issuing insurance coverage or prior to paying a claim. Not knowing or abiding by the rules can have serious consequences.

If your primary reason to do the work yourself is to save money, talk to a few builders or renovators before you make a final decision. They may be able to suggest ways of reducing the cost of your project while still using professional services, by modifying the design or substituting products that you might not be aware of.

Your home is your design statement — but be smart and stay safe!

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