Last updated: 26th March 2020
If you’ve arranged for home improvement or maintenance work to be done in your home, or are planning to, you may be concerned about the effect that coronavirus (or COVID-19) might have on your project. During these uncertain times, it’s important that we all work together to stay safe and healthy. So, we’ve brought the latest Government advice together with our top tips to help you protect yourself and any tradespeople carrying out work for you.
Hiring a tradesperson safely
Try to cut down on unnecessary face-to-face contact as much as possible – we’ve advised our tradespeople to do the same. You can do this by:
- Sending a photo or video of the problem that needs fixing to the tradesperson. Many tradespeople have let us know that they’re happy to use these to provide an accurate quote, just remember to send as much detail as you can alongside them.
- Being supportive if the tradesperson needs to reschedule your appointment because they’ve developed coronavirus symptoms (like a high temperature and/or a new, continuous cough). Our Protected Payments service is a useful way to pay for work without needing to meet in person, plus your money is protected should the job be delayed – find out more here.
Once you’ve hired a tradesperson, you should keep in contact with them throughout the process. Let them know if you or anyone in your household is ill – the tradesperson should do the same so work can be rescheduled if needed. You can send messages to them using our Chat feature, which you can access within our Rated People Homes app or through our website. Read more about it here.
Preparing for a job
There are steps that you can take to create a safe working environment in your home, such as:
- Keeping in touch with the tradesperson. Let them know if you’re part of a more vulnerable group, for example you’re elderly or pregnant, so that they can put any additional protective measures in place before visiting you.
- Not allowing work to go ahead if you, or anyone in your household, displays any symptoms of coronavirus.
- Clearing the room if necessary. For example, if you’re having a room painted, remove any furniture that could be in the way and take photos down from the walls, if possible. This will reduce the amount of contact that the tradesperson has with your possessions.
- Stocking up on biodegradable/recyclable paper cups and plates for the tradesperson to use.
- Making sure that hand washing facilities are available. Our tradespeople are being very vigilant by washing their hands with soap and water and using hand sanitiser regularly.
We’ve also advised our tradespeople to bring protective products on jobs, such as tissue, hand sanitiser and a plastic bag to dispose of used tissues.
Keeping safe whilst work’s taking place
Whilst the tradesperson’s in your house, it’s important that you:
- Minimise physical contact, for example by avoiding handshakes.
- Practice social distancing. The NHS recommends staying two metres away from other people in your house, so stay away from the work area as much as possible.
- Have the windows open if you can – this helps clean air to keep circulating throughout the room.
What to do after the job’s done
Once your home’s been transformed, it’s a good idea to:
- Disinfect door handles, handrails and any other surfaces.
- Make sure to let the tradesperson know if you develop any symptoms of coronavirus, so they can take the appropriate precautions for themselves and anyone they’re in contact with.
Can tradespeople still work?
The latest government advice is that people can travel to and from work, where it’s absolutely necessary and they can’t work from home.
They have clarified that for tradespeople working in people’s homes:
They can carry out work as long as they’re well and have no symptoms, and can stand 2 metres apart from anyone else in the house. They shouldn’t carry out work in any households that are self-isolating or if an individual is classed as vulnerable and being protected, unless the work is to sort a problem which is a direct risk to the safety of the household, like emergency plumbing or repairs, and where they’re willing to do so.
View the government guidelines here.
In Scotland, the situation is slightly different. All building sites have been advised to close unless they involve an essential building like a hospital, and everyone, except key workers, has been advised not to go to work. However, tradespeople that work alone and provide community services, such as gardeners and window cleaners, can still complete jobs for you – as long as it’s safe to do so. Tradespeople need to be able to follow the social distancing guidelines of standing at least 2 metres apart from another person.
What to do if you feel ill, or someone in your household is ill
If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, the latest NHS advice is to stay at home. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to stay at home for seven days. If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms.