#Immediacy on speech making

IRAIN - DIY projects are more often dictated by the experts who write the....

DIY projects are more often dictated by the experts who write the manuals than by the builder's individual needs. And DIY materials are too often shoddy, second-rate and ecologically disastrous: a recently published website describes the local DIY shop as 'one of the most comprehensive sources of hazardous materials available without prescription or special licence'. In most DIY projects convenience reigns supreme. This means that traditional construction techniques that have stood the test of time are given up in favour of plastic clips and plywood veneer. Many DIY techniques involve health hazards too, especially those which use toxic chemicals like wood treatments and solvents.

DIY power tools cause 11,000 serious accidents each year. But if you use ecologically sound materials, learn to use tools safely and take proper precautions (such as wearing goggles and ear plugs when necessary), doing it yourself will enable you to create the surroundings you want, and give you a great deal of pleasure in the process. WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: What the do-it-yourself enthusiast needs is full and accurate information about the products and techniques on offer. All DIY chemicals should be labelled with detailed lists of ingredients, safety instructions, and health and environmental risks.

Safer alternatives should be developed, and householders encouraged to use them. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Learn about basic DIY safety precautions (how to use tools properly; protective clothing, proper ventilation and fire hazards). The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents can provide literature. If you want to learn DIY, ask your local education department about evening classes.

Before you start a DIY project, think carefully about the end result. Is it what you really want, or is it what the designer or manufacturer wants? Try to use healthy, environment-friendly materials and techniques: natural materials, and mechanical rather than chemical techniques. Use only 'good wood'. Use chemicals sparingly and appropriately, especially solvents and wood treatments.

Check, for example, that you have live woodworm (look for sawdust round....

Check, for example, that you have live woodworm (look for sawdust round the holes) before using highly toxic chemicals. Remember that you can now hire many tools rather than buy... read more

Three hundred years ago most families, with help, built their own houses,....

Three hundred years ago most families, with help, built their own houses, and what little furniture they had was home-made. Houses were built from lo... read more

Introduce as much natural light as possible, and spend as much time....

Introduce as much natural light as possible, and spend as much time as you can in the lightest rooms. Daylight is much better for you (and cheaper) than artifici... read more