1st July, 2014

What dangers come from taking on building work yourself?

Australians love DIY, with an ever-growing number of TV shows and retail options offering inspiration for those looking to take on their own project.

Although much of this work is limited to cosmetic projects, there are also more people taking on their own building renovations on a much more ambitious scale.

While there is nothing wrong with taking on an ambitious project, you need to understand the risks that come from working independently and also make sure you have the right insurance cover to protect you in case anything goes wrong.

But what sort of issues do you need to protect against when you take on building work yourself?

The first thing you need to consider is what the scope of your project is, and what potential harm could be caused by your work. This will involve assessing the scope of the renovations you plan on carrying out and also addressing what dangers this may pose to the rest of your property and possessions.

You will also need to consider any potential effect that your project will have on neighbouring properties, especially if you live in a semi-detached house or if your work is on a larger scale. Any damage caused to surrounding property can end up costing you a lot of money while also souring your relationship with your neighbours.

For a larger project, you should also consider whether you need to take on any subcontractors in order to perform jobs you are not skilled in or just to provide a second set of hands to help you get the job done.

While taking on workers can make your work flow much better, they will also bring with them a range of hazards which need to be managed. For a start, if your staff harm themselves on the job, you will likely be culpable for any costs which arise from their recovery.

Finally, you may need to consider the risk of employee fraud when taking on subcontractors. While a lot of the hazard that comes from taking on staff can be avoided by checking out the references of any workers you take on, it is also important to have owner builder insurance in case anything goes wrong.

Author: Murray Bruce