Illegal home repairs – a fifth of brits would break the law

  • More than two in five (42 per cent) people carry out DIY work themselves instead of hiring a professional tradesperson
  • Nearly a third (30 per cent) of those who have injured themselves doing DIY work cited slipping and falling as the reason
  • Over half (52 per cent) are wanting to save money due to the increased cost of living instead of hiring a professional tradesperson

Over a fifth (21 per cent) of Brits admit they would complete home repairs themselves that are legally required to be carried out or checked by a registered tradesperson, reveals new research from Direct Line business insurance. 1 Completing certain gas and electrical work, such as fitting a new cooker, fuse box or circuits, must by law be carried out or checked by a registered electrician or Gas Safe registered engineer. Completing work that does not comply with building regulations is a criminal offence and could lead to a maximum fine of £5,000.

It is not just that people could be sued if they complete works themselves, tackling jobs that are designated for professionals and not following health and safety rules can cause serious injury and damage. Homeowners with uncertified installations could also face problems further down the line, as not having the necessary paperwork, could become an issue when selling a property, resulting in delays, extra expense or work needing to be redone.  

More than two-in-five (42 per cent) UK householders carry out DIY work at home themselves instead of hiring a professional tradesperson to complete the job. As a result, 14 per cent have either hurt themselves or made a problem worse by tackling it themselves.

Of those who hurt themselves, 30 per cent slipped and fell. Nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) of people either cut themself or strained a muscle and 34 per cent burned themself. According to NHS data, there were 6,610 hospital admissions for injuries from falling from a ladder in the last year. 2 Other DIY-related admissions include scaffolding (427), exposure to unspecified electric currents (187), contact with nonpowered hand tools (2,730), contact with powered hand tools (5,343) and contact with lawnmowers (438).

Starting a new Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project could cost UK households more money than it’s worth, as the cost to repair damage caused by at home DIY mistakes is on average £1,076.

Alison Traboulsi, Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance commented:

“Trade based skills are a crucial part of the UK economy. As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, it’s understandable that people may look to cut costs where possible, such as carrying out home improvements themselves. However, for safety reasons, some home improvement projects involving gas and electrics must be completed or checked by a registered professional.

“During difficult times, it’s important that people still look for professionals to do complex work rather than breaking the law or compromising their own health and finances. For those worried about cost, it’s always worth seeing if you could negotiate on price and it’s sensible to compare quotes from a few contractors, and check reviews online for service quality.”

Of those doing DIY, painting (71 per cent) is the most common type of home repair completed in the past three years. Other popular forms include putting up fittings (49 per cent), landscaping (28 per cent), installing fittings (19 per cent), plumbing (18 per cent), electrical works (15 per cent), tiling (14 per cent), and plastering (14 per cent).


(1) Opinium survey of 2,000 adults in the UK, conducted 27th-30th September 2022

(2) ‘Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity, 2021-22: External causes’ data from NHS Digital 2021-22 Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity –

Direct Line Group

Unni Henry

PR Manager

Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting