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Coronavirus: How to have work done safely in your home

Last updated: 21st January 2021

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.

Country-specific coronavirus rules

ENGLAND

The government’s advised that tradespeople in England can carry out work inside people’s homes during the national lockdown (in place from 5th January 2021). They are also exempt from the gatherings limit in a home, as long as they’re there for work. This is as long as you, the tradesperson and both your households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms. The tradesperson must also follow the COVID-Secure guidance.

A tradesperson shouldn’t carry out work in your home if anyone in your household is self-isolating, unless the work is to sort a problem which is a direct risk to your safety, like emergency plumbing or repairs, and if they’re willing to do so.

WALES

From Friday 20th December 2020, the whole of Wales is at alert level 4. The Welsh government has confirmed that tradespeople can legally enter your home for reasons such as carrying out repairs and maintenance, activities supporting a house move, gardening, domestic cleaning and construction work.

Tradespeople should only work in your home if they can do it safely and they, the homeowner and their respective households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms. They must also follow all the reasonable measures and the guidance on working in other people’s homes.

The government has recommended that no work is carried out in a household where someone is isolating, unless it is to repair a fault or to carry out an adaptation to allow you to stay in your property. Additional precautions should be taken in these instances, to keep both you and the tradesperson safe. Public Health Wales can advise you in these specific cases. Find out more about the regulations around having building, repair or maintenance work done in your home on Gov.wales.

NORTHERN IRELAND

From Saturday 26th December 2020, additional restrictions are in place in Northern Ireland. The government has confirmed that tradespeople can continue to enter people’s homes to carry out work such as repairs, installations and deliveries, unless they are specifically required to close under the regulations.

The tradesperson should follow the public health advice and regulations whilst they’re in your home, including keeping a 2-metre distance from you. No tradesperson should enter your home if they, anyone in their household, or your household, has coronavirus symptoms. Read more about having work done in your home on NI Direct.

SCOTLAND

From 5th January 2021, mainland Scotland is in a temporary lockdown (some islands will remain at Level 3) meaning you can only leave your house or garden for an essential purpose. The Scottish government has confirmed that you can leave your home for work.

The Scottish government has also confirmed that tradespeople can enter other people’s homes to carry out essential work, such as:

  • Utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations (where they can’t be delayed).
  • Repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the health and safety of the household.
  • Deliveries, installation or repairs of key household appliances and furniture such as fridges, washing machines and cookers.
  • House move-related work, such as furniture removal.
  • Domestic cleaning for people in vulnerable circumstances and/or living with a disability, who are unable to clean their own home as a result of that circumstance or disability, in order to support a clean and safe living environment for them.

When working inside your home, tradespeople should follow the guidance on working safely, including wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing. Work can take place as long as you, the tradesperson and everyone in both of your households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms.


Hiring a tradesperson safely during the coronavirus pandemic

Taking a photo of water coming through the ceiling
Use our Chat feature to send a photo or video of the problem

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.

Covering furniture with a sheet
Remove or cover items yourself so a tradesperson doesn’t need to touch them

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.

Tradesperson and homeowner standing at a distance during the coronavirus pandemic
Follow NHS guidelines to stand 2 metres apart

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 2 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.
Coronavirus: Disinfecting a door
Disinfect door handles, handrails, bathroom taps and other surfaces

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 during the coronavirus pandemic?

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.

You must follow the restrictions for your local area. Find out which areas currently have special restrictions in place on Gov.uk. You can also 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 in England (across all restriction tiers), Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, even if you live in a high alert level local area or you’re in lockdown, as long as it can be done so safely.

You can still attend house viewings (at the moment, initial viewings tend to be virtual and any in-person ones will be by appointment only), and estate/letting agents and removal firms can continue to work.

Whatever stage you’re at in the house move process, you must follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes maintaining social distancing and wearing a face covering.

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.

Despite these uncertain times, plenty of home improvement projects are still on track! If you’ve got a job that needs doing, and it’s safe for you to do so, hiring a local tradesperson is a great way to support a small business. You can find a tradesperson near you on Rated People.

Note: 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.

Note: You must follow the restrictions for your local area. Find out the local restriction tiers for each area in England on Gov.uk. You can also view the UK government guidelines on Gov.uk.

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72 Comments

  1. I believe as non essential work following boris’s announcement today no work should be scheduled for at east the next three weeks.

  2. Due to rain water coming in, posted a request for Insurance estimates, suggesting repair, plus further work could be under 15K
    One response, estimated work just under 10K
    Very disappointed in the response.
    Also personally contacted three companies local to me, 2 didn’t respond at all, and the other, who sounded as if they were working from their kitchen, informed me they didn’t take on insurance work. (Surely it’s as good as money in the bank?)

    1. Hi Martin, due to seasonality and availability, sometimes some jobs posted on Rated People aren’t picked up as quickly as others. You can try updating your job with more information and an adjusted budget, if relevant, to attract more tradespeople. If you still don’t get a response, visit our Ask an Expert section to ask real tradespeople for advice about what more you can do to improve your job post. You can also try posting your job again, at a later date.

    1. Hi Anne, depending on what part of the UK you live in, you may be allowed to hire a window cleaner. Please keep up to date with the guidelines for your area in the ‘country-specific rules’ section right at the top of this blog post, or visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

  3. My flat roof at the front of property
    Wants the tarmac felt replacing.
    It has started cracking at the edges..
    Area 5metre x 1 metre

    1. Hi Peter, post the details of the work you need doing on Rated People, and up to three expert roofers will get in touch with you to provide a quote. You can post your job here.

  4. Unless out door work where no contact is going to happen, so an old lady who has been in lockdown for 3 months should be fine. If children can go to school then surely a gardener would be fine where no visitor have been and full safety wear is worn.

    1. Hi, any tradespeople that you connect with on Rated People should include all their costs in the quote they give you. You can set a budget when you post your job, so the right tradespeople will contact you to quote. Post your job on Rated People here – http://www.ratedpeople.com.

  5. I would highly recomend the most profesional and safe way the plumber who came to see adhered to health and safety rules. He did a most outstanding good job. I would recommend him to anyone as a considerate caring professional worker I found his customer service manner on site most calming. He was most sensative to me and I wish to add that I greatly appreciated all that he did

  6. Hi I need a tv bracket put up for a 50” tv. Plus I need another small job to fix legs into a dryer now on wooden stilts I’m my gatafeZ

    Both need a bit of drilling and no big deal.

    I’m caring for 2 87 year olds, one with cancer. I’d really appreciate some help .
    Lyn

    1. Hi Lyn, post both your jobs on Rated People here, and up to three tradespeople will get in touch to provide you with a quote for each one. If you’re shielding due to coronavirus, then no work should take place in your home unless it’s to fix a direct risk to your household, such as emergency plumbing. Find out more about how to have work done safely in your home here.

  7. Looking for supply and install a glass panel bannister on a small staircase, looking for initial quote. Measurements are as follows:

    86 inches full width
    43.5 height from bottom of stairs
    27 inches height from top of stairs
    Current 10 spindles

    1. Hi Sonia,

      Up to three tradespeople will provide you with a quote when you post your job on Rated People. Find out how to do this here.

    1. Hi Sonia,

      You can post your painting job on Rated People and up to three tradespeople will contact you with a quote. Find out how to do this here.

  8. Just had a dividing partician wall with french doors in the middle. Very good work an excellent job done by Dariusz Grygiel Carpenter. I am very pleased with the finished result. It was just what I wanted.

  9. I would urge people to scrupulously follow the Rated People guidelines for quotes as I had an unfortunate experience. The quote was extremely high and the job was inadequate, taking 10 minutes at most on a flat roof repair. On later examination I was informed by a third party that this can only be termed a temporary repair and certainly not covered by any 10 year warranty. The company have not reappeared nor can they be found.

  10. As my husband and I are both over 80 and living in Wales I think we should wait until things are moe clear. Reading your guidlines I think before embarking on a survey and having work done we need to be extra careful. I will contact you in the near future . Many Thanks

  11. I hired a builder from this site before the lockdown he did some work in my house.but didn’t finish some of the work trying to get in contact with him to get him back to finish. Can’t get a hold of him he has nearly £3000 of us.he is also going to go some work in my garden to. I would like it if you could try to get on touch with me

    1. Hi Ray,

      You can post your job on Rated People and up to three tradespeople will contact you with a quote. Find out how to do this here.

    1. Hi Patrick,

      You can find a tradesperson to install your bathroom door by posting your job on Rated People – here’s some more info on how to do this here.

    1. Hi Jane, I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience. If you’d like to speak to us about your experience, get in touch with our customer service team here.

    1. Hi Brian,

      Great to hear that you had a great experience with your chosen tradesperson! Please take a couple of minutes to leave a rating on their Rated People profile – it will help them to secure future work. Find out how to leave a rating here.

      Thanks,
      Amina

  12. I am looking for a tradesperson who did a realy good job for us last year and we would like him back to do another job on the same lines can’t remember his name so was wondering if you could help me.

  13. Hi, I want to come as a trader. I need more information on this. If I am not satisfied, how can I refuse my membership with you?

    1. Hi Todor, it’s great to hear that you’re interested in joining Rated People! Fill in our enquiry form and our team will give you a call to explain how our service works.

  14. I need a garden make over for a small back garden and I would like some raised flower and veg beds. I don’t need this done until spring time next year but I would like a quote sometime this month.

    1. Hi Pam, you can get an idea of how much your project would cost by asking our community of tradespeople for free – find out how to do this here.

    1. Hi Jackie, a tree surgeon would be best placed to cut down branches for you. You can post your job here to find one near you.

  15. Just had Mick Neylon, electrician to do several small jobs for me. He turned up as and when agreed and did the work quickly and tidied up after. Lovely guy, would definitely recommend him and will use him again,as I have in the past.

    1. Hi S. Fitzgerald, it’s great to hear that you had a great experience with Mick Neylon! If you haven’t already, it would help Mick out a lot if you could leave him a review on his Rated People profile. Find out how to do this here.

    1. Hi Yvonne, you can post your job for free on Rated People and up to three tradespeople will get in touch with you to fix your roof leak. Post your job here.

  16. Hi I recommend Gary Nash Plumber & his partner Mick who made my home cosy & warm I would certainly will call them again.

  17. John from JD roofing. Was very polite and kept me informed of what he was doing. Showed me a photo of one slate which was cracked and had a hole in it. He also confirmed in total he replaced 6 tiles, re rendered top of roof and 2 more ridge tiles on the roof. Cleaned 3 sides of guttering. The price for the who job was good. I would recommend this company to complete any roofing jobs.

    1. Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comment. We do recommend that our tradespeople use protective gear when they’re working inside homes, like a dust mask, in our safety advice. You can find our safety advice for tradespeople here.

  18. Notable missing item: Tradesperson should wear a mask. So should the householder.

    And keep more than 2 metres away if at all possible.

    I think you should also emphasise ventilation more – windows should definitely be open, not “if possible”. The virus builds up in the air and stays there for some time without ventilation.

    It would also be good to remind everyone that a person with no symptoms may still have Covid and can transmit it to others.

  19. I need a Plumber/ Bathroom fitter to replace the shower cubicle & base including waterproof wall panels. Existing shower leaking at the moment.

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