Last updated: 2nd November 2020
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.
The government’s advised that tradespeople in England can carry out work inside people’s homes during the national lockdown (5th November to 2nd December 2020). This is as long as the tradesperson and anyone in their household is well and has no coronavirus symptoms, and they can stand 2 metres apart from anyone else in your house. They shouldn’t carry out work in any households that are self-isolating, 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 the tradesperson is willing to do so.
From Friday 23rd October 2020 in Wales, a firebreak lockdown is starting. So, tradespeople will only be able to carry out work inside other people’s homes if it’s urgent or to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to safety. Unfinished work that was started before the 23rd October cannot be completed after this date, unless it’s urgent or if it would be unsafe to leave the work incomplete. The tradesperson can re-enter your home to make sure that the environment is safe for you, and to collect any belongings that they’ve left, such as tools. Read more about how the firebreak lockdown in Wales affects tradespeople on Gov.wales.
From Friday 16th October 2020, additional COVID-19 regulations have been introduced in Northern Ireland for four weeks. Households aren’t allowed to mix indoors, however there are some exceptions. Tradespeople are allowed to go into people’s homes to carry out work, such as repairs, installations and deliveries.
The Scottish government has confirmed that work can be carried out inside homes, as long as both the tradesperson and the homeowner are well and not showing any coronavirus symptoms, and that nobody inside either household is self-isolating. If the homeowner is self-isolating, then work can only be carried out in their home if it’s to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing. If you’re in this situation, then you can find more advice on the Health Protection Scotland website.
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, loss of smell or taste, 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 about Protected Payments.
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 on our Homeowner help page.
If your household is isolating, or an individual is being shielded, no work should be carried out unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so.
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.
- Agree how the work will be done safely before the tradesperson arrives, particularly how they will maintain the the 2-metre distancing rule. If someone in the household is clinically vulnerable, but hasn’t been asked to shield, for example, someone over 70, you should make arrangements with them to avoid all face-to-face contact, for example, when answering the door.
- 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:
- Let them know where they can wash their hands as soon as they come into your house.
- 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. If you’d like to read the government’s tips for maintaining social distancing, for tradespeople, visit Gov.uk.
- Have the windows open if you can – this helps clean air to keep circulating throughout the room.
- Where social distancing guidelines can’t be followed, you should think about whether the work should continue.
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 government is encouraging anyone who can’t work from home, such as tradespeople, to go back to work as long as they and anyone in their household has no symptoms. They shouldn’t carry out work in 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.
Countries may approach the different phases of lockdown differently. This guidance is in line with the UK government’s advice and is being followed in England. See the specific government websites for any differences.
If there’s a lockdown announced in the regional area(s) that you work or live in, in addition to the national lockdown, the government says that you must follow all instructions from the relevant local authority. You can find out which areas currently have special restrictions in place on Gov.uk.
View the UK government guidelines on Gov.uk.
Can I move home during the coronavirus pandemic?
Yes. The government has confirmed that you can move home during the lockdown in England (5th November to 2nd December 2020), Wales (if you can’t delay your move until after the firebreak lockdown), Northern Ireland and Scotland, as long as it can be done so safely.
Note: If there’s a lockdown announced in the regional area(s) that you work or live in, in addition to the national lockdown, the government says that you must follow all instructions from the relevant local authority.
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 at least 10 days. Find out more about when you can stop self isolation on the NHS website. 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.