Can your builder still work during lockdown?

Mike Page
Authored by Mike Page
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 7:43am

The government has published a document for construction workers containing guidelines on how to undertake work during the Covid-19 lockdown. Homeowners are also allowed to arrange for renovation or improvement work for their homes under the new guidelines.

According to a survey carried out by Which Magazine, 6% of people surveyed had an urgent issue that they needed a tradesperson to fix at the end of March, but 73% (three-quarters) of them could not find anybody to do the work.

With the coronavirus lockdown, it has become doubly-difficult and more stressful to get tradespeople. Urgent home repairs or renovations have been the worst hit.  But if you’re lucky to get a tradesperson, then it would be good if they can check out the ‘government guidance for the construction industry’, the guide just released by the government.

Are builders allowed to Work?

If you plan to spend time on Google and search for builders near me, the answer is YES provided guidelines are followed. Builders can work, as long as they follow the recent rules from the government. As the government starts to relax the lockdown, renovations and home improvement work such as redecorating and fitting new kitchens for which you would require the services of tradespeople like plumbers, builders, roofers, decorators, electricians, etc. are being allowed to go ahead.

Traders are allowed to work, as long as they can keep to social distancing rules while working. However, they are not allowed to enter isolating households or a household where an individual is on self-isolation unless they want to carry out essential works that are important for the safety of the other occupants.

Guidelines for Tradespeople

Tradespeople need to abide by certain rules. They need to follow the government’s guidance on safer working practices and make sure they work more safely by adhering to strict social distancing measures in use. What the guide says;

  • Tradespeople need to contact a household ahead to confirm that no member of the household is self-isolating or showing symptoms of coronavirus. If they are, the work should be postponed.
  • Anybody showing symptoms of coronavirus, whether mild or not, should not be involved in any works.
  • Tradespeople should wash their hands when they enter a property. They need to use paper towels or separate towels, which should be washed or safely disposed of after use.
  • Tradespeople should reduce contact with homeowners and stay 2 metres away from homeowners at all times.
  • Tradespeople are encouraged to adopt a buddy system to ensure that the same people always work together if possible.
  • Go digital. To review quotes, you can take advantage of the video calling feature on WhatsApp.
  • Homeowners should be mindful of space. If there are ongoing works in a section of the house that you use regularly, try and find ways to avoid those areas when works are on.
  • Homeowners should try as much as possible to avoid face-to-face contact with a tradesperson in your home. To help keep contact at a minimum, you can ask the tradesperson to bring their own kettle, mug, or food.

Never Try To Carry Out Any Major Work Yourself

You can do gardening, painting, or decorating, but never try to carry out any major works such as structural alterations or electricity and gas installations. These should only be done by qualified and accredited professionals.

If you decide to do them yourself, your project will not be meeting building regulations, and, when you want to sell your home, you’ll be facing legal issues if you don’t have a certificate of completion for major work that was not done by a suitable professional.

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