Are you ready to deal with these common Christmas disasters?

Make sure you're prepared for any eventuality

No one wants a Christmas like John McClane in Die Hard. All that crawling through ventilation shafts and walking over broken glass… yet surprisingly, 90 per cent of builders find themselves at the maintenance coal face at this time of year.
They might not have to deal with a baddie like Hans Gruber, but they have been called out to fix leaking roofs, burst pipes and broken boilers, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Read on, and discover all  the potential issues so you can intervene before they occur…
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9. Faulty wiring


Image credit: Simon Whitmore

A quarter (24 per cent) of builders have been called out at Christmas to sort issues with electrical wiring. No one wants to be in the dark at Christmas – imagine not having a lit tree on the big day!

8. Trees falling


Image credit: Katie Lee

We kid you not! Nearly a third (29 per cent) of builders have visited properties damaged by falling trees and branches at this time of year. Perhaps Santa’s sleigh is knocking them over!

7. Broken boiler


Image credit: Worcester Bosch

Exactly a third of workpeople have had to arrange for a broken boiler to be fixed for their clients at Christmas. It might be worth arranging a last-minute check up to avoid a cold shower on Christmas morning. Brrrrrr.

Related: How to fix or replace a boiler and look after it over the winter months

6. Leaking doors

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Apparently, 37 per cent of builders have had to deal with a ‘leaking door’.

5. Burst pipes

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? It’s a romantic idea, but the reality can cause all manner of disasters, like pipes freezing up and bursting. Let’s hope the snow stays away until the new year.

4. Leaking windows

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Nearly half (47 per cent) of builders have been called out to deal with leaking windows. Check the seals now to save yourself any festive hassle.

3. Blocked gutters

51 per cent of builders have had to come and repair damage from blocked gutters. This could be peeling paintwork, bitting timbers or even damp, so it’s worth avoiding.

2. Chimneys


If you want to be sure Father Christmas makes a smooth entrance this year, it’s worth keeping in mind that 74 per cent of builders have fixed leaks from defective lead flashings and the apron to the chimney stack.

1. Leaking roof


Image credit: Polly Eltes

It’s top of the house and top of the list! Yes, a whopping 86 per cent of builders have dealt with leaking roofs over the festive season. ‘The festive period is a busy time for builders,’ says Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB. ‘Christmas is a costly time of year and the last thing homeowners want to spend their money on is emergency home improvement work.’
‘To prevent these issues from occurring homeowners should carry out a simple programme of maintenance. Boilers should be serviced and checked in advance of the Christmas holidays to avoid any breakdowns.’
‘If you’re going away over Christmas it’s a good idea to leave the heating on low to prevent pipes from bursting in cold weather. And finally don’t forget to check the roof for any loose tiles or slates to avoid a leaking roof.’
But if you do come across an unavoidable problem, FMB’s ‘Find a Builder’ service can put you in touch with a vetted and independently inspected person for the job.
Fingers crossed that your Christmas is all about mince pieces, music and mistletoe – not maintenance!

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