Can builders still safely work on your house renovation project?
Lockdown has forced us all to look at our homes and make improvements, but can builders still safely work on your house renovation project?
We are still in partial lockdown, but yes tradespeople can enter your home, though they have rules they should follow…
Households wanting to undertake work to improve their new home or prepare their old home for sale are allowed to do so during the coronavirus pandemic, in new guidance outlined in a government document.
Fitting new kitchens, redecorating, and other home improvement work which may involve tradespeople (builders, plumbers, electrician, roofer, landscaper, decorator etc) has been given the go-ahead, as the government begins to lift the coronavirus lockdown measures on the housing market.
A new document issued by Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Robert Jenrick, explains: “Home improvements can involve fitting new kitchens, redecorating etc.
“This work is also important when people are getting ready to move home, but also when they aren’t. It is a key way for households and landlords to improve the home environment and address poor quality accommodation while also providing important work for tradespeople whose businesses have been affected by the virus.”
Rules for tradespeople
There are rules for tradespeople to adhere to. They should follow the government’s safer working guidance and ensure they operate safely with strict social distancing measures in place. The government says:
- Tradespeople should contact the household in advance to check that no member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. If they are, works should be delayed.
- No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
- Tradespeople should wash their hands on entering the property. They need to use separate towels or paper towels, which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
- Tradespeople should minimise contact with homeowners and remain 2 metres apart from householders at all times.
- Tradespeople are urged to implement a buddy system and ensure that the same people work together where this is needed.
- Tradespeople should bring their own refreshments, but households should ensure they have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards.
- The site should be limited to as few workers as possible and all should be practising safe social distancing measures at all times (two-metre distance between each other).
- The workers coming to the site will not be using public transport and will only arrive by car or van.
- If the above cannot be sustained all works on site should be paused. The ongoing works should be reviewed to enable the above where possible.
- Anyone showing even mild COVID-19 symptoms should not be on site and in line with government guidelines should remain at home for 14 days.
What can homeowners do?
- Keep in contact:
Regular contact with your tradesperson in advance of any home visit is important. Talk through details of the work being carried out and agree how risks can be reduced. And also keep in contact with suppliers for assurances that your deliveries will arrive as planned – as always, it’s sensible to wait for materials to arrive before commencing a project.
- Be honest:
If you have symptoms of the virus, or if you have been advised to shield yourself, then only emergency or essential repairs should go ahead. Ensure you take additional safety measures by avoiding face-to-face contact or by staying in another room.
- Take sensible precautions when work is carried out:
Clean surfaces around the working area and in ‘high traffic’ areas such as door handles with disinfectant before, during, and after work is carried out. Internal doors should be kept open to minimise the touching of door handles, and make sure any shared facilities, like toilets or kitchens, are thoroughly cleaned after each shift. Where possible, keep children or pets in other rooms while work is carried out.
- Be mindful of your space:
If work is taking place in an area you use frequently, such as the stairs or kitchen, consider ways to avoid using that space when work takes place. You should try to avoid too much face-to-face contact with the tradesperson in your home. You can also ask your tradesperson to bring their own mug, kettle or food to help keep contact to a minimum.
- Never attempt to undertake any major work yourself.
This includes structural alterations and gas and electricity installations, which should only be carried out by qualified and accredited individuals.
If you do make an attempt, it will mean your project will not meet Building Regulations. The work will have to be re-done as a matter of urgency by a qualified tradesperson or you may invalidate your building insurance policy and/or face prosecution.
Also, there are potential legal issues if you come to sell your home as you need certificates of completion to prove certain work – including gas and electricity installations – has been done by a professional. You can find out more at gov.uk.
To discuss starting or finishing a home improvement project, call Sherratt Builders today on 07786 268435.