The figure comes in research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, using data from a study carried out by the Building Research Establishment with 5,500 home-owners for the 1991 English House Condition Survey.
It found that most DIY work involved decorating and upgrading properties, with 40 per cent of kitchens and 30 per cent of bathrooms being fitted by owners themselves.
And as many as 40 per cent of owner-occupiers who carried out major improvements or work at home chose to do at least some of the job themselves.
Labour-intensive jobs were more likely to be carried out by DIY than those where the cost of materials was relatively high, the report authors found. But the complexity of any task appeared to be a more important factor in owners' decisions whether to use contractors or to tackle the job themselves. Agnes Severin