In England, the government has issued guidance to help reduce the risk of infection from building works as individuals in the country can now move home as long as health guidance can be adhered to. The new guidance on moving home applies to both renters and buyers. It is anticipated that finding a new home will be carried out virtually whenever possible, such as via initial virtual viewings. Beyond that, renovation works are typically considered and carried out for those moving in a new home, so can renovation work be carried out during the lockdown?
Can renovation work begin?
Yes, any renovation work on a home, whether it is to improve it, prepare an old home for sale, or address poor quality accommodation can proceed. It is important that you and the tradespeople involved can comply with the government's social distancing guidelines, see below, and guidelines on the government's website. To support this work, the government issued that builders will be allowed to agree to more flexible construction site working hours with their local council. This will allow builders to manage the risks of infection by staggering builders’ arrival times, controlling the amount and proximity of the tradespeople on site.
What precautions can you take as a homeowner?
- Request all tradespeople to thoroughly wash their hands using soap and water on arrival, regularly during work, and at the end of each shift. The government’s advice includes telling traders to carry hand sanitiser to use if there is no facility to wash their hands.
- Maintain social distancing. If the work is happening in one room, stay in another room where possible.
- Keep all internal doors open whenever possible to minimise contact.
- Request all tradespeople to clean the surfaces in the room they have been working in at the end of each shift.
- Request all tradespeople working to remove all waste and belongings at the end of each shift.
Communicate with all tradespeople if there are any other precautions that you feel strongly about before starting / restarting any work in your home.
What should you consider before starting / restarting a renovation?
To comply with the government's strict guidance, you should have this information checked before proceeding, they are as follows:
- Are you in the high-risk category?
- Has anyone in your household had COVID-19?
- Has anyone in your household displayed COVID-19 symptoms?
- Has anyone in your household not completed the required period of household self-isolation?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, work should be delayed until the risks are eliminated.
Guidance for tradespeople from the government's website is as follows:
Moving home is often a time when people want to undertake work to improve their new home or prepare their old home for sale. This work can involve fitting new kitchens, redecorating, and other home improvement work. This work is also important when people aren’t moving home. 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 who’s businesses have been affected by the virus.
Tradespeople should follow the government’s safer working guidance. Companies should ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.
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 using separate towels of paper towels which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
Tradespeople should seek to minimise contact with homeowners and remain 2 metres apart from householders at all times.
Tradespeople should implement a buddy system and ensure that the same people work together where this is needed.
Tradespeople should bring their own refreshments but you 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.
For further information, visit the Gov.uk's page on Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes.
Pitch Your Concepts is a pitch submission platform for property owners, SME developers, and architects for commercial and residential projects. The platform facilitates the process of finding an architect remotely, helping you make an informed decision to work with the best architect for your project. If you have a renovation project in mind, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak about finding the best architect for your project in the UK.
Yvonne Chua, Co-founder of Pitch Your Concepts | 26 May 2020