As government guidelines continue to change, you may be wondering whether you’re still allowed to have tradespeople in the home – and if you can, how they can undertake work safely.
“Many homeowners are currently looking to renovate their homes, and with restrictions likely to be ongoing for a number of months, it’s worth getting up to speed with what to do when it comes to making changes, however small, to your property,” says James Lee, communications director at MyGlazing.com, the consumer advice site from the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF).
Tips for using tradesmen in the coronavirus pandemic
Plus, in winter, emergency home improvements are more common. To help, Lee has provided some top tips to ensure you stay safe – and have that cracked window, draughty door or glazing problem fixed pronto…
1. Ask yourself these important questions
The present rules permit tradespeople to carry out home improvements, as long as they have no Covid-19 symptoms and are following the correct health and safety guidance. However, it’s worth doing some research to ensure you keep yourself, those that live in your home, and the people carrying out the works, safe.
Make sure you ask…
Does anyone involved have symptoms of Covid-19?
Is there anyone with underlying health conditions in the property? And are there any sick or elderly people living there who could be affected?
Could anyone entering the property impact on the health of anyone living in it?
Will anyone visiting, such as a surveyor or tradesperson, be affected by working in my home?
Will all the people working in the home be wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment)?
2. Ensure your tradespeople are working to Government guidelines before commissioning the work
Any companies you use should be following Government guidelines, carry out a comprehensive health and safety risk assessment for the job and brief their entire team on the guidance/risk assessment. It’s also worth noting that no work should be carried out at a household that is shielding or isolating, unless the work is to repair a direct risk to the safety and security of the household.
3. Expect PPE to be worn
Though not all PPE will be directly related to Covid-19, it is worth insisting the tradespeople working in your home are wearing gloves and masks and visors if they are likely to be within two metres of another person in your home. Upon entering your house, expect tradespeople working on your property to wear gloves, masks (face covering), protective footwear, and possibly overalls, hard hats and goggles or visors.
Do not to touch any PPE, or other materials that are being used for your home improvement, and ensure all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned with soap and water or chemical cleaners.
4. Consider a digital consultation
Instead of face-to-face meetings with a home improvement company, you could consider video calls to minimise contact. Most tradespeople will be comfortable doing this, just make sure you have a good internet connection, your camera and microphone are working, and try and avoid background noise (music, TV, etc) so there are no miscommunications.
A video tour is also a great way to show a tradesperson your home before they visit, to give them an idea of the space and what needs doing. Just ensure you give them a good enough idea of the job required and information, such as measurements, shape and any obstacles that may have to be considered. If you would rather meet the tradesperson in person to discuss the job, wherever possible, do it in an outside space, such as a driveway, porch or garden.
5. Establish the ground rules in advance to maintain a safe environment
Once you’ve consulted and agreed the job, some basic health and safety factors you should require from your tradespeople are: regular use of hand sanitiser; ensuring they know which parts of the home they can and cannot enter; keeping a safe distance of two metres; eating and drinking away from your property, in their van for example; bringing their own cleaning products and cleaning down any surfaces they’ve touched at the end of each day.
For added safety, you might want to leave some anti-bacterial wipes in the room they are working in. You should also ensure the area they are working in is well-ventilated throughout the project.
6. Consider hiring a portable chemical toilet
For larger jobs, such as renovations and extensions, which require a bigger team encompassing various tradespeople, you might want to ask the company to consider hiring a portable chemical toilet for your garden or outside your home. These can be hired from around £50 a week and it could save you – and those working on your home – a headache, if they can’t use your bathroom.
7. Request a full risk assessment
A tradesperson or company should be more than happy to comply with the above requirements in the current climate. Lots of homeowners would expect a full risk assessment before a tradesperson even turns up at the property, so you’ll not be the first person to request this!
For more tips on how to stay safe while making home improvements during Covid-19, visit MyGlazing.com.
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