What building work can be safely carried out during the COVID-19 lockdown?

You might be working on a home extension, renovating a second property or planning on upgrading your architrave, but whatever project you were planning, the recent coronavirus outbreak is sure to have an impact on it.

With a government lockdown in place and social distancing guidelines to navigate, you might be wondering what can be accomplished in terms of building work. Whether or not you can hire trades to work in your house and if you can still access building materials are essential questions that need answering to ensure your project does not stall.

In the following passages, we explore the options open to you to keep busy under lockdown by carrying on with your building project.

Government advice for building work

Working alongside industry professionals, the government has developed a list of “Coronavirus Site Operating Procedures” to ensure building sites have adequate health and safety measures during the outbreak. Its website also provides guidance that suggests trades can conduct maintenance or repair work for homeowners providing social distancing and handwashing are practised.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma added:

“construction work… can continue if done in accordance with the social distancing rules wherever possible.”

Hiring trades under lockdown

While it is possible for you to hire trades to work on your renovations or other building projects, you must consider the government guidelines. On top of the two-metre social distancing and handwashing, rooms where work is being carried out should always be well ventilated.

Tradespeople must be in good health without any symptoms and only work in homes where the people present are in the same condition. Unless the work is to help correct a safety risk, it should not be performed where people are self-isolating or being protected.

Sites should be limited to the lowest number of workers possible to assist with social distancing rules. If you are working on a home building project, you should stick to one tradesperson at any given time. Divide your project into phases and hire trades in stages; for example, one plumber followed by one electrician and so on.

For total protection, you may also decide to shelve your project and follow the alternative advice given by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which suggests any work should cease as soon as site is secured and weatherproofed, with building materials stored safely.

Tackling home improvements and building work yourself

An alternative to hiring trades is to personally take on some of the work. If you possess DIY skills, you may be able to keep your project on track. Only pick tasks you are capable of when trying your hand at renovation work, and ensure you consult professional advice if unsure at any stage.

While building materials have been problematic to source in the recent weeks due to many builders’ merchants closing for lockdown, the situation is changing daily. B&Q has recently reopened, selling a limited range of essential products and now delivering a range of plant bundles direct to homeowners.

Posted by Mark
May 1, 2020

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