Does Covid-19 affect tradespeople being able to fit my bifold doors?
Yes, tradespeople can visit your home to work on building and renovation projects during lockdown.
The current coronavirus outbreak has led to restrictions on travel and the implementation of social distancing rules. This has meant homeworking for many, while others have been left at home on furlough, casting doubt on whether you can bring in tradespeople to make changes to your home. Fortunately, Government advice says that home improvement work can still go ahead.
Below is information on some of the measures tradespeople will take to prevent the spread of the virus, and what you can do to keep the environment safe for both yourself and those working on your bifold door project.
In this guide:
Note: This guidance is for those working in England. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have devolved public health systems and safety requirements may differ.
Situations where work cannot be carried out due to COVID-19
While it is possible in most circumstances to begin or continue a project to fit bifold doors, there are some circumstances linked to coronavirus in which this cannot occur:
- Self-isolation — If a household is in self-isolation because a member has, or suspects they have, coronavirus symptoms, installation work cannot be carried out. This is also true if a member of the household has tested positive for the virus and is in quarantine.
- Shielding — Tradespeople should not enter a home if a person living there has been advised to ‘shield’ due to medical reasons, unless it is for emergency or essential repairs.
Shielding refers to the self-isolation of people at risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus. Those who need to shield are usually people of advanced age or someone with underlying health conditions.
What tradespeople may arrange before starting work: COVID-19
The Government has released advice for tradespeople to follow when entering another person’s home. The advice includes the following points:
- Remote meetings — To reduce the frequency of face-to-face interactions, tradespeople may try to make assessments of the work needed to install your bifold door by using digital means such as video and phone consultations. If in-person appointments are needed, social distancing guidelines should be followed.
- Advance preparations — It is important that there is as much communication in advance as possible about where the tradesmen will be working and how they will be going about their installation work. These discussions may also touch on what hygiene measures and social distancing will be in place work while continues.
Workers may ask you in advance to help reduce the chance of touching door handles by leaving doors ajar. They may also discus which routes to take in and out of the house.
- In-person meetings — It is recommended that in-person meeting should be held in well-ventilated rooms, or outside if possible. The sharing of pens, documents and other objects should be avoided.
- Clinically vulnerable people — Arrangements should be made when working in a house with clinically vulnerable people who are not at such risk that they need to shield. These include:
- Phoning ahead so workers can be let in the front door without face-to-face interaction
- Ensuring the vulnerable person is not in the vicinity when work begins
- Taking particular care to follow hygiene guidelines, especially when sneezing or coughing due to the dust produced through such work
- Disposing of tissue and other waste — Construction work does cause irritants to enter the air. Arrangements should be made for the safe disposal of tissue and other non-building waste.
What tradespeople may do while working in your home during lockdown
There are a number of precautions that tradespeople can take to reduces the chance of spreading coronavirus. Many of these are part of the hygiene guidelines familiar to us all. These include:
- Regularly washing hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing
- Throughout the day, cleaning surfaces regularly touched while working
- Covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing
There are also some specific precautions that workers can undertake while in your home.
- Food — Tradespeople working in your home will bring their own food and drink. This will help to minimise contact.
- Buddy system — Many companies will try to ensure the same people work together on a bifold door installation project to reduce the number of people coming to your home.
- Confined space — To maintain social distancing, firms will take care to limit the number of workers in a confined space at the same time.
What tradespeople may do after work is completed: COVID-19
As coronavirus can exist on surfaces, it is important that any waste from your bifold door fitting is removed promptly at the end of the job.
If work takes longer than a day, workers should also remove all waste at the end of a shift and clean up after themselves.
Most companies will try to remove any waste all in one go. This will avoid repeated trips to the property.
See our guide to cleaning bifold doors during the coronavirus
What you can do to help tradespeople during the COVID-19 pandemic
It is important that you work with firms as much as possible before installation work is undertaken, and during the process. This will allow the firms to put measures in place to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
The following list outlines a number of ways you can help:
- Let them know if you have symptoms — This is possibly the most important thing you can do. If you have symptoms, don’t keep it to yourself. You must also let workers know if you have been advised to shield yourself.
- Hand washing — Ensure that workers have access to soap and water so they are able to wash their hands in line with current guidelines.
- Cleaning — People will be in your home so it is important to clean surfaces before workers come in to install your doors. Concentrate on high-touch areas and any shared facilities, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Communicate — Planning is the key to safe working during the coronavirus lockdown. Speak ahead of the day the work is scheduled for to make preparations. Talk to each other about the installation work to be carried out and possible ways to reduce risk.
To help firms carry out quotes remotely, try to have digital devices and software in place…..if possible.
- Try to follow current hygiene advice and safe distancing guidelines at all times.
The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly caused disruption; however, systems of checks and preventative measures have been put in place to allow bifold door installation work to be carried out safely in your home. By working together with tradespeople, you can make the changes to your house you’ve been thinking about during this difficult time.