Finding A Tradesman During Lockdown

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These troubled times cause lots of problems and difficulties. One of those could be finding a tradesman to work for you and get some of those jobs done while you can’t get out and do other things.

Which Trades Can Work During Lockdown?

April and May are great times with the weather getting warmer and usually serve to be the time of many home improvements, which would include heading down to the nearest hardware store, grabbing some tools and materials and getting to work. Unfortunately, with the government’s advice, this isn’t exactly possible now. Although some trades can work during lockdown, this doesn’t mean that they will. Many companies have closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and protect their workers. Be sure to keep this in mind while looking for an available tradesman. Tradesmen can still get to work given certain circumstances to complete their usual work. Tradesmen can get to work on the exterior of the property with mainly no issues. Jobs such as exterior construction can continue, as long as the social distancing rules are being followed. With inside jobs, such as electrical issues, many more precautions must take place. If you currently in self-isolation, you are unfortunately unable to have any work done, due to the government’s guidance. If, however, you are not currently isolating, and have not suffered from COVID-19, work can continue in your property. Although keep in mind, not all companies are willing to continue work at this time. The government has also said trades can continue working during lockdown given that the trade is essential to keep the country functioning. These include Plumbers, Electricians, and construction workers, as they are needed to keep your house running. Workers can only continue to work if the new rules are being used properly (social distancing etc.). Tradespeople can only carry out any form of work if you are not self-isolating due to COVID-19.

Finding the Best Tradesperson

Finding a tradesman can prove quite simple, almost all companies have websites providing information about themselves and their services. Find their website, and look around to see if there is any information about COVID-19 and how their company will work during these times. Usually, you would find yourself asking the company for a quote, which they would come out to your property and size everything up for you. At this point, it is not possible to do this. Companies should have changed their methods to avoid contact between people. Companies may now use video calls and photos to form a quote for the job. Keep in mind, photos and video calls may not provide enough for a company to work with to provide a perfect quote, so it could change. During a call or when giving a photo, try to provide as much information as possible, to try and remove any chance of any money being wrongly charged.

Choosing Your Tradesperson

Choosing the right tradesperson can cause many issues in regular times, with issues like pricing, insurance, and quality of work. With these troubled times, the ‘best’ may not be available to be called out. Here is a small guide to make sure you get the best you can: Look Online Companies nowadays brand themselves online, making themselves easier to find and contact. Search around online for local tradespeople to get your job done. While searching, look at the websites, they should look professional and fair, which is a good reflection of the company’s work. If the company shows their work, it shows that they are legitimate and will offer good service, which is something to look out for. See if They Look Professional Try to look for a company that looks like one that will serve you well, and if you feel welcome looking at their company online. Take into account any changes made to their company procedures due to COVID-19. Companies should have altered how they give quotes (this should have changed to video calls or photos to minimise contact), how they perform the work, and how they will work when there are people around. Use Personal Recommendations Other people may have found themselves in the same situation as you are. Stuck inside needing someone to complete some work. Ask family or friends if they have had any work that you need doing done recently, during lockdown. They could recommend companies that are great to work with or give you some companies to avoid. Ask Lots of Questions During this time, asking questions is much more important than ever. You should ask questions about how their procedures have changed. In these circumstances, it is much more important to know what their new procedures will be, to protect yourself and others. Also, ask some general questions about the company, how long have they been in the business, if they have insurance to protect you if the work goes wrong, etc. This information will be very useful if you ever need it! Get More Quotes Than You Need To avoid being charged too much money, it is advised that you have a minimum of 3 quotes if possible! This may cause delays in getting the job done, but it could save you a few pennies. When being given a quote, try to get one as a document of some sort, that you can prove to the company afterwards if the numbers are mixed up or changed. Give the Company as Much Information as You Can Even if you aren’t completely sure what the company will need, you should give them as much as you can. Include things such as the job itself, measurements, and things that may cause difficulties. Let them know about things such as tight doorways or anything that may complicate the job. This will help the company to prepare for the job as best as possible for you.

Will the Company Charge Extra?

Different companies may function differently during lockdown. One of these may be charging more money for a job. Companies will have lost lots of revenue due to people being inside and not needing work to be done, as well as them losing out as they can’t be near people while working, which instantly eliminates some types of work. This means that companies may have to charge more to keep their finances working properly. Companies may charge more for hourly rates or overall in the job, as they may have lost time waiting for things to be delivered, collected, or created. It’s always best to ask about the rates before undertaking any work, ensuring you’re aware of any costs upfront and that you’re happy with the quotation provided.

Are Tradespeople Essential Workers?

Essential or key workers are workers that are required to work for everything to function correctly, for example, shop workers or NHS staff. After much backtracking and contradictory statements, the government gave a final answer saying that most trades can continue to work. The government stated that any “construction in the open air … can continue” which includes any building, deconstruction, or construction of new buildings or facilities. So, if there is any construction work going on or around your house, it can continue, as long as everyone is following the social distancing rules. The government also spoke about emergency work needing to be done. For example, boilers breaking, gas leaks, broken pipes, and any other emergency should have someone at hand to help if something goes wrong. The government has told workers who think that they are in this category to “confirm with their employer that their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.” So, if you feel like the service that you require is essential, there should be someone at hand to help. Keep in mind not all companies feel comfortable providing a service at this time.

What Problems Can Wait Until After Lockdown?

You may find yourself in an unusual state of frustration and boredom. As you can’t get half of the jobs you wanted to do done, and you’re stuck inside waiting for all of this to finish. But you have to think about the other people that you could affect by getting other people into your house and then going out yourself. Please keep this in mind while choosing a trade to use. You should only find yourself using a trade if it is absolutely essential. For example, you may have suffered a severe power fault or your boiler has broken, things that have to be fixed as soon as possible. On the other hand, some trades can wait until everything is back to normal. Painters and decorators, for example, should wait. However much you may want that one room to look fresh and new, it isn’t worth risking a life for it. Before contacting the tradesman that you will need, ask yourself if the job must be done. If not, you can always do it yourself or wait until it is possible to get it done without any worries.

How do I Social Distance When I Have a Tradesperson Here?

Social distancing is a difficulty many people may find when employing a tradesperson during lockdown. Here are a few tips to reduce the chance of spreading the virus: Assign Certain Rooms for Certain Activities If working inside, keep the room empty at all times if possible. This will allow the tradesperson the ability to work alone and isolated from anyone else in the house. Check if they require another room to place tools or other things in. This allows you and the worker to keep everything separate. Try to Keep Any Contact to a Minimum Try to minimise conversation by making sure you have everything (in terms of the job) covered beforehand. Also avoid giving any food or drink to your worker, as this could pass on the virus to or from the worker. To minimise contact further, you could leave the house by sitting in the garden or going out to exercise. You could also try to stay on a different floor to where the work is being done if possible. Try to keep the number of people in the house at any one time as low as possible. Keep Pets Away From the Workers Pets can cause many issues, as they can’t understand why they can’t get any belly rubs from the worker. If pets are roaming the house, the worker may feel that they need to move them, rubbing their germs onto your pet, which then rub onto you when you touch your pet. Try to keep your pet as far away as possible, keep them in a cage or locked in a room on a different floor if possible. Place food and water in the area they will be. You could even take them on walks if possible to get yourself and the pets away from the worker. Offer Hand Sanitisers and Cleaning Supplies to the Worker as Soon as They Arrive The worker should clean their hands and may want to clean their equipment as it may have been in another house beforehand. Requesting the worker to clean their hands and equipment should not be denied and the worker should want to try to stop the spread as much as possible.

I Had Work Booked During Lockdown, What Should I do?

You may find yourself in a situation where you had work booked well before the pandemic changed how things function. The government has said that they expect to revert everything to normal within 12 weeks, which could still include your date for the work to be completed. Try and consider these things while thinking about keeping your tradesperson coming in to work: Social Distancing Is it possible for everyone to perform social distancing while the worker is there? If not possible, you may want to consider cancelling your appointment, protecting yourself and others. You must also consider if you are happy with the protective measures your tradesperson is taking, if you don’t feel you would be protected enough, you may again want to cancel. Is it Vital? Consider if the work is vital to be done now. As an example, it could be something that needs fixing for your home to function properly, which would be acceptable to have someone in to get it all fixed. On the other hand, something like a room being painted should wait until a later date. Check if You Are Still Within the 14-Day Cooling-Off Period Is it possible for you to cancel the work without having any extra charges? Keep this in mind if you wish to cancel. If you happen to have fallen outside of the 14 days, try checking the contract to see what it says about changing the work schedule, you may not need to pay as much as you think. Talk to the company if you’re unsure, they may be able to help you further due to an unforeseen circumstance. Ask the Company Lots of Questions Emergency trades have been told that they can stay open, but that doesn’t mean that they will. Many companies have closed their doors to reduce any chance of spreading the virus. This means that your company may have closed during this time, stopping the work being completed in your home. Your company should have told you this information, but many things may need sorting out for the future. Contact your company and ask some questions like: Will Work be Able to Continue? As long as the work that has been requested is essential, the work should be able to continue, given that the company is still open. If work has started but is not essential, you may want to discuss postponing the work until afterwards. Can the Work be Postponed? You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where the work may never be completed. Ask the company if the work can be done at a later date, and when it may be possible. What Extra Charges May I Face? Companies may charge extra if the work schedule has been changed. To try and avoid this, ask the company about their procedures changing the work schedule during lockdown, as they may be different from normal procedures.

How do I Provide Food/Drink to The Worker?

The short answer is you shouldn’t. Try to advise the worker to bring their own drinks and snacks, as giving them drinks or things can increase the chance of spreading the virus. Ask the worker to bring a flask/bottle and food by themselves if possible. If the worker has forgotten to bring food or a drink, you may have to provide some for them, which is a chance that germs could get passed on. Try to limit contact by doing these: Ask The Worker if They Desperately Need it Most people can say they may be very hungry or thirsty but would be fine without for another half an hour or so. If they reply saying that they are in desperate need, try to offer them just a drink, which you should give them a plastic bottle of water or something that you don’t need back. If they do require some food, try to give them something that has been packaged, so you don’t pass your germs onto the food. Find a Midpoint to Leave The Food/Drink You shouldn’t be wandering towards the worker and handing it into their hands, as this would be too close to be keeping enough distance from each other. If they are working in a room, you could leave it at a closed-door where they are working, for them to open it up and take it, removing the physical contact element.

Do I Need to do Anything to Prepare my Home?

To increase the speed of the job and assist the worker as much as possible, you may want to prepare your home to reduce the amount of time the worker spends in your home. Here are a few ways you may want to prepare your home: Making a Clear Path to the Job To help the worker get to and from the job quickly with equipment, try to make a clear path up to and around where they will be working. This allows for quick movement of heavy equipment such as ladders to be easily transported around your house, reducing the time they spend in your home. Have Everything Ready If you have the equipment or materials that the worker will need, try to place them in an area where the worker can easily get to them and you can stay far enough from. This includes any object such as ladders, tools, building materials, etc. Use signs to Show Where the Worker Cannot Go You could use small pieces of paper to show the worker that there may be someone in a certain room and that they shouldn’t go in there. If possible, try to give the worker as little space as possible, to reduce the area the virus could be. Leave Soap or Hand Sanitiser Around Your House If possible, try to leave hand sanitiser around where the worker is working and by the entrance to the house. This allows the worker to leave any germs outside and not take any with them, which reduces the spread. Show them the Essential Rooms in Your Home Make sure your worker knows where the essential rooms that they may need to use are. Let them know where the toilets and entrances are, as you won’t want them coming to ask you where they are.

Is There Anything That Can be Done Remotely?

Many things can be done remotely to help speed up the job and reduce the chance of catching the virus. Try these to help your worker get the job done quicker: Clear Out The Area That The Work Will be Done Clearing out the working area means that your worker can get straight to work without any delays and finish the job quicker. If it is a Job That Requires a Worker to be There… Ask the worker if there is anything you can do as some work could be done without the worker being there, other work may require the expertise of the worker. You may be able to start the job off to speed it up, for example, you could help by opening the boiler or locating the phone line, moving items off the lawn, or making sure the room is clear. If the Job Does Not Require a Worker… You may be able to have the job completed remotely. For example, jobs in IT may not require the worker to be there, but their assistance may be needed. Instead of a worker coming to you to fix your issue, they may be able to assist via a video call. Ask the company if there is anything you can do yourself, as the worker may be able to stay in the office and assist over the phone.’

Do I Need to Wear Protective Equipment or Use Any Germ Killer?

You may feel that you need to protect yourself while the worker is in and around your home. This isn’t necessary to do but you may feel like it is best to protect people. To protect yourself you can: Wear a Mask Wearing a mask reducing particles going into your mouth and nose, which reduces the chance the virus can enter your system. It also protects the worker as fewer particles are leaving your body for them to pick up Wear Gloves To protect the worker you could wear gloves that will stop any germs being passed on from you to them if they need anything. The worker may also want to wear gloves so nothing is passed on from or to them either. Leave Hand Sanitisers Around the House By leaving hand sanitisers around the house you can reduce almost all germs around the house as long as they are being used by you and the worker. Leave hand sanitisers in areas where the germs could enter or be left, entrances to the house, where the worker is, etc.

What Should I do When The Worker Leaves?

After the worker has finished and has left, you may feel that you need to remove any germs and try to reduce the chance of the virus being present. Disinfect the Area You may want to use some heavy antibacterial cleaning products to remove any chance of the virus being present. Target areas where the worker was or went through, including things such as door handles or windows. While cleaning, you may want to wear a mask to protect yourself from breathing in the virus. Air Out Your Home Try leaving lots of doors and windows open to release anything into the harsh environments of outside, which should kill any viruses or bacteria that may have been left in your house by the worker. Leave the Room For a Few Days Tell the rest of your family not to use the room that has just had the worker in it unless they are wearing a mask and gloves. By leaving the room for a few days the virus does not have anything to attack to stay alive and it eventually dies.

How do I Make Sure There is no Virus When The Worker Leaves?

After the worker leaves, the virus can still live on surfaces for anywhere from hours to several days. Which if left alone means that you could fall ill with it. You may never know if the virus remains inside your house, but you can try to do your best to make sure most of it has been killed. Try these to reduce the chance of the virus being in your home: Use Heavy Chemicals or Strong Cleaning Products Similar to a deep clean, use strong cleaning products will easily kill or remove most viruses with ease. While cleaning, look out for areas that the worker used or was around. Entrances and door handles are most common for hosting bacteria and viruses so target those. Strong branded products are available in supermarkets and online. Cleaning the area multiple times over two or three days will increase the probability that the virus has been killed. Here is a list of the cleaning products that can kill COVID-19: Soap and Water Soap and water can kill almost any virus, and Covid-19 is no exception. Soap alters the fats in the virus and makes it less sticky, which means it can’t stay on surfaces any longer which allows the water to wash it away. Surgical Spirit Surgical spirit contains a high concentration of ethanol, which has recently been proven by scientists to kill coronavirus in as little as half a minute. Similarly to bleach, the ethanol affects the structure of the virus, destroying the protein inside which stops the virus functioning properly and so it dies. Hand Sanitisers You can use hand sanitisers on certain areas such as door handles, boiler lids, ladders, anything that the worker may have touched could contain the virus by placing a small amount onto the area and rubbing it in until it dries off. Hand sanitisers should not be used as your main cleaning method but can be used in small amounts in small areas. Please note, the concentration of the hand sanitiser must be over 70% to be able to kill the virus. Bleach The main ingredient that makes bleach so effective is called sodium hypochlorite. This chemical is exceptionally good at destroying the protein inside of the virus, which it cannot function without and so it dies. For the highest chance of killing the virus, leave the bleach on the surface for 10-15 to work into the virus, and then wipe away the liquid with a clean cloth so none is spread from other areas. Antibacterial Wipes Antibacterial wipes have been used for many years usually trying to keep germs away from babies and children. Well, now they should be used to keep germs away from everybody. The main ingredient in the wipes is an antiseptic, which removes viruses with pressure from your hand and they attach onto the wipe. After the wipe has been used, a layer of antiseptic is left on the surface, which can kill any germs that were missed. Use Heavy Cleaning Equipment Cleaning equipment such as steam cleaners are some of the best when it comes to removing viruses and any other bacteria. The harsh conditions that are created with a quick change in temperature and pressure kill the microorganisms almost instantly. While steam cleaning, target as much of the room as possible, floors, walls, mirrors, door handles, etc.