Lifestyle General DIY Reality Check
DIY Reality Check


Emergency departments brace themselves every long weekend for victims of the latest mind-altering scourge. Under its demonic grip, users will knock down brick walls with their bare hands (while holding only a sledgehammer) and have delusions that they are capable of tiling.

Wardell-Wendy-Ms-cropped Mar14130x110 Wendy Wardell

Every payday, legions of ordinary people who have fallen victim to this hellish addiction blow the kids’ school lunch money in Bunnings on cheap Chinese power tools and poor paint choices.

In the reality TV-fuelled delusion that it will make their three-bedroomed fibro cottage fit to grace the pages of Vogue Living rather than a Crimewatch Alert, people are committing unspeakable acts of renovation and paying a heavy price.

It's not just rooms with decorative themes that resemble the pavements of Northbridge at 3am or inspire in visitors an urgent desire to fall into a coma; it's a lack of ability on an epic scale.

One of the most powerful arguments for not giving Australians the right to bear arms is the damage they can inflict with only a paint roller and a Dulux colour chart.

Simply painting a ceiling in white without consequent blood spatters seems beyond the reach of a generation who need an app to work out whether the ladder points up or down.

An Injury Control Council pamphlet on the use of such equipment has, as its blunt closing statement “Bins are not ladders”. This is clearly inadequate and further advice is needed along the lines of “Power drills are not toothbrushes” and “Forks aren't your friend when stuck in a socket”.

I can't even claim immunity. I borrowed a power drill to put up a curtain rail in my lounge and now have walls that look like they were strafed in a mafia shootout.

Dave-Freemantle-DIY May15Adding fuel to the raging inferno are imported programs like Grand Designs which should more realistically be entitled What the Hell Were You Thinking???

Each show has an unconvincingly happy ending with the couple sitting in their dream home rather than bankrupt, divorced and curled in the foetal position under the dining table; a much more likely outcome of their vainglorious crusade to immortalise themselves in bricks and mortar.

When people whose experience with dangerous equipment peaked with a stapler in Year 4 decide to cut out the middleman and engage in some home renovation, the learning curve is steep and unforgiving.

I’m shocked that our Government has not interceded in this mire of personal creativity and free enterprise and milked it for all it’s worth. If a licensing system was introduced it would ensure that people at least understood where the pointy end of their power tool was.

Certain competencies would be required to purchase more powerful equipment, policed by the wise elder statesmen now employed in our hardware stores.

''I'm sorry sir, but I can't sell you that angle grinder. Your current licence only qualifies you to handle gardening gloves.''

It would also be a great revenue-raiser, although let's face it, the chances of it finding its way back into the health system are about as high as my curtain rail is likely to be in a few weeks’ time.

ED: And to top it off, renovators of houses built pre-1988 may have asbestos to contend with!