Last week, the Essex Chronicle provided some very useful clarification regarding government rules surrounding tradespeople - specifically, can you let them into your home during lockdown? Many homeowners are using this time, and the money from cancelled holidays, to renovate or make home improvements. Emergency repairs are also increasingly common as the temperatures begin to drop. So what is allowed, and what is the best way to stay safe with workers close by?
The simple answer is YES. The present rules do allow tradespeople into your home, providing they don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms and follow existing guidelines. Many, such as our Quadrant furniture delivery team, will call you outside the property to make some final checks, or to direct you to where to stay during their visit. They should also be wearing PPE before entering, particularly if they will be within 2 metres of another person in your home. It is your responsibility to ensure the tradespeople are aware if anyone in your household has symptoms.
However, no work should be carried out in a household that is shielding or contains anyone explicitly self-isolating - unless it is considered a health and safety risk if the work doesn’t take place.
Some extra points to consider:
Can you have a digital consultation? Instead of a face-to-face meeting with your home improvement company, why not have a videocall? A video-tour would allow them the opportunity to see the space they have to work in and what they need to do. Be prepared to take measurements yourself. If you’d rather speak face to face, consider doing so outside such as your driveway or garden.
Establish the rules from the start: It could stop lapses in safety, and save embarrassment, if you have some conversations in advance of your tradesperson doing the work. Will they bring hand sanitiser? What parts of your home can they / can’t they go into? Will they eat and drink away from your property? Will they bring their own cleaning equipment and wipe surfaces down at the end of the day? Make sure the room they are working in remains well-ventilated throughout the project.
Do you need a portable toilet? For large-scale work, like extensions, which require a bigger team and various tradespeople working together, you might want to ensure the company has considered hiring a chemical toilet for use outside your home. They cost about £50 a week to rent.
Request a risk assessment: Most companies or tradespeople will be more than happy to provide details of their risk assessments, which are a requirement for any business still working and show their plans for dealing with any potential risks of COVID-19. You won’t be the first person to ask them, and they’ll know from the off that you mean business and won’t want anyone’s safety put at risk.