Dr Bill asks whether we’d rather not DIY these days
Over the last few years, the perceived popularity of DIY has continued to grow, but is there a gap developing between perception and reality?
The recently announced closure of a large number of branches by a major national chain of DIY stores, has drawn attention to the possibility that the Great British Public may actually be starting to fall out of love with DIY.
Is this a reflection of increasing prosperity, the ever onward march of on-line shopping (including ‘click and collect’), or simply that less and less of us feel confident in carrying out major jobs around the home? Compared to my father, I am certainly less skilled in matters DIY, and I suspect I am not alone.
If this trend, is confirmed, whatever its complex roots, ‘traditional’ builders merchants may need to adjust in order to benefit significantly. If householders turn to professional builders for smaller and smaller tasks, the quantities of materials required for any given job will decrease.
For some materials, bricks and blocks for instance, this is not a major issue as builders could still purchase them in reasonable quantities and resource the smaller jobs from their own stock. But for other materials that have a defined shelf life or ‘best before’ period, this is not an option.
Cement, pre-packed mortar and concrete, as well as admixtures and certain surface treatments among others, have a regrettable tendency to degrade once the packaging is open. With large packs, tubs, tins etc, this often leads to wastage on site.
Stocking these types of material in smaller packages and weatherproof or re-sealable packaging, alongside the usual stock, would help the builder to take on these smaller jobs without risking too much wastage. It could also attract the DIY enthusiasts themselves as their traditional purchasing destinations become less common.
Who can tell if the popularity of DIY is truly on the wane, or if this is just a blip, but it is certainly worth considering how to adapt to it.
Dr Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Lafarge Tarmac UK. Follow him on Twitter @ConcreteDrBill