What Are The Current Rules Regarding Having Tradespeople In Your Home?
Since England went into a third lockdown on 6th January, you may be left wondering if you can still go ahead and have any work done in your home by a professional tradesperson? Especially as rules differ from the first lockdown and we are dealing with a more transmissible strain of Covid-19.
To get up to speed with what the guidelines are concerning repairs and jobs carried out in the home, I’ve partnered with Local Heroes (part of Centrica plc, parent company of British Gas) who are fully briefed on the current government and public health advice. So, if you have been pondering the do’s and don’ts and what trades are considered essential, this post should help you decide whether to call in a professional to fix a problem.
Are DIY Stores Open in Lockdown 3?
Currently, DIY stores are classed as essential retailers and therefore open, so tradespeople and the general public can pick up home improvement equipment and materials. However strict social distancing measures must be adhered to in stores – and as there is often the option to use a ‘click and collect’ service, you don’t necessarily even have to set foot inside.
With that in mind, now may be an opportunity to turn your hand to a repair or two around the home, learning a few new DIY skills perhaps. But remember there are some fixes that will always require a qualified professional, for example when it comes to electrical work.
Current Government Guidance Regarding Tradespeople
The Government’s current guidance states: Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. You can read the full set of advice here, but essentially the rules allow for you to still request a job within the trades of construction, heating, gas, plumbing, drainage, appliances and electrical. (Please note there is separate guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.)
It’s reassuring to know that in the event of something like a faulty switch or a boiler breakdown, which can’t be anticipated, you may go ahead and find yourself a Local Hero.
About Local Heroes
Matching skilled and vetted local tradespeople to customers has been the mission of Local Heroes since 2016. They understand how difficult it can be to find a reliable and skilled person to do repairs and upgrades. With the backing of British Gas, Local Heroes offer a straightforward booking platform to make life easier, tapping into a network of 7,000+ home improvement service providers which covers all the essentials services down to tiling, plastering and decorating.
Keen for everyone to stay safe when it comes to arranging a home visit, Local Heroes set about creating a Tradespeople & COVID-19 guide and an Etiquette guide to properly prepare everyone for inviting a tradesperson into their home during lockdown.
Although we are well aware by now of the importance of hand sanitising and keeping a safe distance from other people, during this time the simple things like offering cups of tea are to be avoided. This undoubtedly feels a little strange – I know my next experience of having a tradesperson in the home will feel very different to previous times – but it is important we adhere to the advice for everyone’s sake. Pre-pandemic, shaking hands, walking past each other in the hall, stopping to have a chat and offering to make a cuppa, were all totally normal things and so we need to make a conscious adjustment here.
Sensitive to the mental health aspect within the tradespeople industry, Local Heroes are also raising awareness by highlighting its Tradespeople and Mental Health report to customers.
Other Practical Tips
Health and safety should be at the forefront in all parties’ minds. Tradespeople should be in touch with households prior to their visit to ensure that no one in the household is experiencing coronavirus symptoms and if anyone is self-isolating or shielding the work should be delayed unless it is critical (as in poses a risk if the work is not carried out). If it must go ahead, face to face contact with a vulnerable individual should be totally avoided. Also:
Adhere to 2m social distancing
Practice good hand hygiene with regular handwashing/sanitising
Ensure adequate ventilation
Keep social interaction to a minimum avoiding sharing ‘high traffic’ areas
Leave internal doors open if possible, to avoid touching door handles
Ensure surfaces and objects used are properly cleaned with disinfectant
I think that when you have read the guidance from the government and also helpful guides such as those from Local Heroes, you can feel more confident about booking a tradesperson during the current time. As mentioned, if you have family members who are vulnerable or shielding you may well decide that some jobs are just not that critical and you’d rather wait until perhaps the summer when the situation and guidance may have eased. However, it is reassuring to know that if you have something that urgently needs fixing – for example you have no hot water or heating in winter – then you can go ahead and get matters sorted. Life is stressful enough at the moment, so it’s good to know that home repairs are something we should not need to worry about at present.
This post is in conjunction with Local Heroes, but all thoughts are my own… Why not pin this post for later?