The past 14 months have been, by anyone’s standards, unprecedented, as the challenge of COVID-19 has impacted every detail of our lives, prompting change and a new way of living and working. Multiple lockdowns have seen most of us homebound for long periods of time and, subsequently, we have been forced to discover new pastimes, albeit, ‘closer to home’. One such activity undertaken by many during this time has been DIY, with consumers focusing on home improvements rather than moving.
Repair and maintenance in the private housing sector is worth £1,862 million and, in this most recent month, has increased by 4.7%. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that between February 2020 and April 2020, the initial reduction in repair and maintenance on private housing was 49%. However, between April 2020 and February 2021 it had recovered to a staggering 111%.
“There are a number of reasons why we have seen such a surge in home improvements over the past year,” explains DHF’s Head of Commercial Operations, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens.
“We have had more time on our hands to tackle the jobs often neglected because of the pace of our lives, or to take more notice of what we would like to improve in the home. For DIY activities, many homeowners have attempted to complete jobs themselves that they might otherwise have left to the professionals. And with leisure activity, such as visiting restaurants and going on holiday drastically reduced, the nation has had more disposable income for larger home improvement projects. In all instances where professional installations are required, such as fitting a new garage door, we would urge caution, and to use a trained DHF member who can offer a correctly installed and fully compliant product. It is particularly important that the garage door is supplied with the correct safety features, to ensure that the door retracts if it comes into contact with anything or anybody. ‘Hold to run’ controls that can be operated out of direct sight of the door are not compliant unless another safety feature is included such as a safety edge. ”
“The DIY market is extremely buoyant at the moment, and this is largely because of COVID,” explains Julie Chester of Garage Doors Lancashire, her family business that has been in operation for more than 40 years and is a long-standing member of DHF.
“People have more disposable income and are investing in home improvements. Fitting a garage door is an extremely specialised craft however, particularly if automated, and we always recommend using a DHF member.”
Mark McEvoy of Garage Door Systems and Chair of the DHF Garage Door Group echoes Julie’s sentiments:
“When COVID first hit last March, the months of March and April were quiet; there was much uncertainty in the market. However, since then, and over the past year, the market has boomed, up 30%, and this includes those two lost months at the start of the pandemic. Despite the supply issues relating to Brexit, the market remains buoyant. I predict this will remain the case for the next 12 months at least as many will still be cautious about travelling overseas and will wish to spend their income on home improvements.
“As with any major DIY project, using a professional is key. A garage door is the largest moving object in the home and fitting one is a highly specialised job. We would always recommend seeking the skills of a fully trained installer to fit a garage door, or indeed, anything else within the home that requires specialist knowledge.”