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The question DIY

The question: GP Jonathan Heatley got his five minutes of fame this week by performing his own vasectomy. With the Bank Holiday approaching we asked engineers about their most memorable DIY feats.

I live in Edinburgh where house prices are going through the roof. As a civil engineer my greatest DIY feat is therefore to be able to afford to live here at all. I have done this by buying two cheap shabby flats, doing them up and selling them on at a vast profit a few years later.

Now I am on to my third.

Anyone want to come to my castle warming party in 2010?

Kenneth Brown, 29, structural engineer, Edinburgh

It would have to be my 'Team Phillips' shelf. I wanted to create a thick solid wooden effect shelf to fit into an irregular shaped alcove, that would span a clear distance of approximately 2m. My preferred solution was to create a hollow ply box, incorporating an internal cellular structure that would be lightweight and thus would keep dead load deflection down to a minimum. I set to work and only some four weeks later did I proudly erect the high tech structure into its alcove (where unlike the boat it still stands proud). I displayed this shelf with pride to all that came to visit my abode, and most were very impressed. However, my bubble was eventually guided back to earth when a friend suggested that instead of shedding all that blood sweat and tears - and eating the vast quantities of eggs needed to acquire the egg boxes that made up the cellular structure - it would have been far easier to salvage an internal hollow door and cut it to the required shape.

Jon Fearnley, 28, engineer, Nottingham

My most memorable DIY was the removal of a small section of blockwork wall during a kitchen refurbishment. Two months of discussion, a full structural survey, and the assurances of a colleague were needed to persuade my partner and her mother, both of whom insisted that the wall was loadbearing and could not be removed. It was removed with no adverse effects, proving that all that time I spent at university and work has not gone to waste after all.

Christopher Shipman, 30, consultant, Kent

My most memorable feat was when I climbed up to demolish a chimney at the back of our house. I gradually broke away the bricks I could reach, then realised that the chimney was becoming unstable and the bricks which needed removing to balance it were out of my reach. My wife came out to see how I was getting on, and I gave her short shrift. She called our neighbour round, a big beefy guy, who rescued me by pushing the chimney over the edge of the roof, making a deep hole in the ground.

Nowadays, I would try and sell you a risk assessment.

David Frankl, 50, consultant, Bucks

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