What’s a homeowner to do during a pandemic? Maybe you started a renovation project before social distancing went into effect, or you need a plumber today. Fortunately, many contractors and home renovation professionals are continuing to work, so don’t panic. Contractors want to work and they want to be safe. That being said, if you decide to move forward with a renovation or repair, you’ll want to be extra careful for the safety of your contractors, yourself, and your family.Top of Form
Bottom of FormSo, what does this mean, exactly? Here’s what you should know before welcoming a contractor into your home:
Move it online when you can
Many homeowners halted renovations when the pandemic hit, but for many, consultations, walk-throughs, and initial meetings are happening online. Talk to your contractor and ask if they’ve been using any virtual workarounds for providing estimates, quotes, and design work. A video call could help avoid at least one unnecessary trip inside the house.
Communicate with your contractors
Before you move forward, ask your contractor what precautions they’re taking in light of the pandemic. Ask the following questions:
• How do you plan to keep my family safe while you’re working here?
• Does your company have a written policy or procedure for performing work at private residences?
• Who will enforce those policies?
• What steps do you take to check every worker to ensure they’re not feeling poorly or have a fever?
• Your contractors may also want some assurance from you to make sure they’re entering a safe work environment. Be prepared to talk about your own safety protocol.
Cover the cleanliness and safety basics
Both you and your contractors should be following CDC guidelines, which includes wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently. Regularly disinfect high-contact surfaces like countertops and doorknobs and make hand sanitizer available at entry points to the house. Under no circumstances should a contractor or any of their subcontractors enter a home if there is someone sick in the house or if any of the workers are showing symptoms.
Leave the house, if possible
Remodeling is very intrusive and disruptive even without the pandemic, so if there’s any way possible, leave your house while the work is being done. If you don’t have anywhere else to go, avoid the work area while contractors are present, and keep any immunocompromised members of the household as far as possible from the worksite. Be sure to wash your hands after visiting the work area, even after workers have left for the day. Designate one point of entry to limit contact areas.
Remember that your contractors are doing their best to navigate an unprecedented situation. Be understanding if plans change. A contractor scheduled at your home may have encountered someone the prior week who let them know they have COVID-19, which means they shouldn’t enter your home.
You may also find contractors are booked weeks or months in advance. When shelter-in-place orders took effect in March 2020, many homeowners delayed projects, which has created a bottleneck now that projects are ramping up.
Lilly Wells is a freelance writer