Many of us have spent more time in our homes than ever before over the last 12 months. This has meant that huge numbers of homeowners have made plans for home improvement projects such as conservatories and extensions.
If your home extension or conservatory plans are already underway and you’re wondering whether the latest national lockdown will impact on this, read on for all the information you need.
The good news about home improvements during lockdown
Guidance from the UK Government from the official gov.uk website is that home improvements such as conservatories and extensions can continue during lockdown. The specific wording from the Government website which states that home improvements can continue during lockdown is:
Work - you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home, including but not limited to people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance.
This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary - for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople.
Safety measures for home improvements during lockdown
Installers and builders of conservatories, extensions, and other related home improvement projects have now been working within covid safe guidelines for around 9 months. This means that they are very familiar with how to keep their customers and themselves safe during these worrying times.
Conservatories and extensions are some of the safest home improvement projects you can undertake during lockdown. This is because the majority of the work can be done without the need for the installer to enter your home. If you have already arranged for your home improvement project to start soon or if you are in the planning process now, ask your installation company to explain their covid procedures to you.
If there are any elements of their covid procedures that you are not comfortable with, speak to your installer. They will work with you to find a solution that makes everyone involved in the project as safe as possible.
Each company will have thorough guidelines to ensure the safety of its customers and typical measures might include:
Quoting and designing conservatories and extensions in lockdown:
Although many home improvement companies are now using video technology to carry out appointments to design your dream conservatory or extension, there may be occasions when they will need to visit your home.
When this is necessary, they will advise of any safety measures needed such as the wearing of face coverings and social distancing. Keeping areas of your home they will need access to well ventilated by opening windows where possible will also help to minimise the risk.
Surveying a conservatory in lockdown:
The next step in the conservatory/extension process is the survey. This is when a surveyor will carry out a full measure of the proposed site of your new conservatory, as well as exploring any details about the site which may impact on the design. The majority of the survey takes place outdoors.
However, for the limited time that the surveyor needs to come into your home, they will advise of any safety measures needed such as the wearing of face coverings and social distancing. They may also advise quarantining the area for several days before/after their visit. These measures will ensure that your survey can safely go ahead during lockdown.
Building your conservatory/extension during lockdown:
Having a conservatory or extension built during lockdown will be somewhat different to the usual build process. This is due to the various protocols that will be put in place for your safety. Your chosen home improvement company will be able to provide full details on this. Typical measures that would be put in place include:
• Carrying out a covid risk assessment prior to any work commencing.
• Checking whether you or your family have any covid symptoms, are currently isolating or are required to shield before the build begins. If so, a new date for your build will be arranged.
• The tradesmen working on your home improvement project will bring their own refreshments and make their own arrangements for toilet breaks. If your home improvement project is lengthy, your installer may discuss with you at the outset about arrangements for temporary external facilities.
• Tradesmen working on home improvement projects will provide all of their own equipment, including things such as dust sheets.
• Tradesmen working on home improvement projects will wear PPE and sanitise regularly.
Once your build is complete, your installer will send any guarantees or paperwork to you either through the post or electronically. There should not be any need for you to collect these in person during lockdown.
Guidelines and etiquette for home improvement projects during lockdown
While your installation company will explain their covid procedures to you before any work begins, it may also be a good idea to have an honest and upfront conversation before your home improvement project begins. Defining guidelines/etiquette will make sure you feel comfortable about the covid safety aspect of your project.
Things to discuss might include:
1. An agreement about the occasions when the tradesmen do need to come into your home – how far ahead should they inform you of this, what PPE would you like them to wear etc.
2. Agreed rules on social distancing for discussions that need to take place during the build - You might state that these take place outdoors and that you would prefer for face coverings to be worn.
3. Agreeing which entrance / access the tradesmen should use during your home improvement project. If possible, this should be different from the one being used by you and your family.
4. An important point might be to make it clear that they need to bring their own refreshments! Most homeowners are accustomed to making cups of tea for tradesmen working in their home. However, for home improvement projects in lockdown, this is not permitted.
5. Clear agreed rules about daily sanitisation of their tools and equipment for added peace of mind.
We hope this article has provided you with some reassurance about home improvements during lockdown. By working with a reputable Ultraframe Installer who will work to covid safe guidelines, it is possible to minimise the risk to you and your family and get the beautiful living space you desire.
Contact an Ultraframe Installer today about your project and ask about their social distancing and hygiene practices.