COVID Safety Measures for Renovations
The COVID-19 pandemic has pretty much put the world on pause. The significant interruption in our daily lives caused by the pandemic doesn’t stop our need for renovations or repairs around the house. A broken pipe doesn’t care about the coronavirus. You can say the same for mold buildup. With everyone at home at the same time all the time, you may even need to renovate to add more space. Home office, anyone?
For homeowners with the skills, experience, and tools to perform repairs and DIY projects, dealing with any of the above should be easy enough. Some homeowners, however, have little to no DIY skills. And some jobs require a professional. At some point, homeowners will need to bring in specialists with proper contractors insurance coverage for repair or home improvement jobs they can’t handle themselves.
Fortunately, many contractors on the home improvement front are still on the job, despite the pandemic. Even better is the fact that, given the current health crisis, today’s builders, electricians, plumbers, and mold remediation specialists are quite keen on observing COVID safety measures for renovations. Here are some of the steps both contractors and homeowners can take to ensure everyone’s safety during the pandemic.
Hold Meetings Online
Most businesses have resorted to holding conferences and meetings online. Contractors and homeowners can agree to do the same, too. Instead of sending a team over to conduct an initial inspection, a contractor can set up a Zoom meeting with a client to go over everything. The client can show via video the problem to the contractor, who can then make an initial assessment. With initial meetings and consultations performed online, you get to keep personal visits to a minimum. For renovations that may take longer, online consultations will also ensure that there will be fewer people within the work area for the duration of the job.
Implement Strict Social Distancing
Both the contractor and the homeowner must put in place strict social distancing measures for the entire project. This is one of the most important COVID safety measures for renovations. Workers, for example, must stay at least six feet away from one another at all times. They should also keep their distance from members of the household. Homeowners should make it clear to their family that they should not approach any of the workers under any circumstances.
If possible, homeowners and their families should not be on the premises while repair or renovation is ongoing. To limit contact areas, designate one point of entry exclusively for the contractors. If a project requires multiple workers, the contractor can stagger their work schedules. This will minimize the number of people on the job site at specific points of the day.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment At All Times
As mandated by the safety rules of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all workers must wear the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. Masks, gloves, and eye protection are mandatory, whatever the job may be. Members of the household who choose to stay inside the home being serviced should wear masks as well.
To ensure that workers’ shoes won’t bring contaminants into the home, they can wear shoe covers before entering. In some cases, more stringent PPE may be required of the workers, but that will depend on the size and scope of the work being done.
Sanitation and Hygiene Rules On-Site
It is the responsibility of the homeowner to sanitize the area where the contractors will be working. Countertops, doorknobs, and other high-contact surfaces should be disinfected thoroughly on a regular basis. Frequent handwashing is one of the more effective measures against COVID-19 infection. Homeowners should designate a handwashing station near or at the job site. Running water and soap must be available at all times.
Although hand sanitizer is no substitute for washing hands with running water, it’s still better to make hand sanitizer available at entry points to your home. That way, workers and members of your household alike can always ensure their hands are free of contaminants before entering the house.
Homeowners should be in close communication with the contractor right from the onset of a project. Ask about the contractor’s COVID-19 plan and make sure that the workers are required to follow it to the letter. In all likelihood, the contractor already has health and safety protocols in place long before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Nevertheless, it would be worth everyone’s while to see what those protocols are. From there you can make suggestions in case something is missing.
Designated Safety Officer
Contractors can designate one of the workers to act as a safety officer while the job is ongoing. It is the responsibility of this person to ensure that everyone on the team strictly follows all social distancing and sanitation protocols. The safety officer will also be responsible for taking the temperature of all workers using a non-contact thermometer. Should any member of the team come in with symptoms, it should be the duty of the safety officer to send the worker home or to a hospital to ensure the safety of everyone on the job site.
These are some of the top COVID safety measures for renovations that both contractors and the homeowners must implement for the duration of a repair or renovation job. While we all hope that the pandemic simply disappears like the 1918 Spanish Flu, it’s always best to prepare ourselves for the new normal, and the safety protocols listed above are inextricably part of that.
As long as everything is adhered to properly, builders, remodelers, plumbers, electricians, mold remediation specialists, and homeowners availing of their services should feel relatively safe in the time of the coronavirus.
Related Reading: Tips for Renovating During COVID-19