Monthly Archives: August 2013

DIY Free Advice

In addition to our web blog here, the UK Guild of Handymen is now fully committed to Tweeting on Twitter which technically is a micro blog.
What this means is you can ask us a question on Twitter and get a very fast reply from among our member handymen (albeit in 140 characters).
Follow us here and then ask us whatever you want:

…and we’ll also follow you back.

Industry Regulation

I had great pleasure in reading Handyants’ article of July 22, 2013. I agree with his sentiments fully and found it reassuring that there are others out there who feel and operate as I do, which brings me to my rant on Industry Regulation for domestic work.

The commercial arm of the industry has been running the CSCS scheme for many years now, the CSCS card proves that you are what you say you are, and on most sites you are unable to work unless you have this card. Electricians and Gas engineers are also regulated.

In the domestic market however, anyone can say that they are a builder, joiner, painter, roofer etc. and advertise these services and undertake the work. There are many Trade Associations who are also willing to let anyone register for the cost of their joining fee.

Our Guild at least sets a test and takes up references, my local Trading Standards run a Safe Trader Scheme, where again you are vetted and references taken. But these are voluntary schemes. These don’t stop the chancers or those established companies from undertaking substandard or poor quality work.

I have again recently come across work (just completed) where the workmanship or materials used were so poor that I felt upset and let down, not just for the customer, but for the industry. Those who had undertaken these jobs where local established businesses, and should be ashamed of themselves!

Is it not time that we¬†had either a compulsory national or regional register of tradesman set up, where genuine tradesmen could thrive and the cowboys kept at bay. If you were not on the register you couldn’t trade, and if you repeatedly undertook substandard work you could be suspended or struck off!

Until that time comes, we just have to do our best to restore customer faith in our trade, build up the reputation of the multi-skilled Handyman and remember not to take on any work that we are not 100% confident or competent in.

Douglas Bader?

Being a handymen you get to meet a lot of people and can’t help but accumulate the odd anecdote or two.
I recently fitted new worktops for a nice elderly couple whose son had volunteered to get all the necessary stuff. Along with the worktops, on the shopping list were aluminium worktop strips to cover the exposed chipboard at the ends and which are more durable than the stick-on laminate supplied. Because the worktops were fake butcher’s block beech effect the usual end strips chosen are a matching fake beech colour.
But the son was unable to buy the necessary strips because he was apparently freaked out by the colour of these strips being, in his mind, exactly the same colour as prosthetic limbs!!