With lockdown restrictions easing slightly and government advice getting more vague and contradictory by the week, there’s a steadily growing grey area surrounding non-essential jobs and this includes the jobs we’ve been doing around the house in recent weeks. But some jobs are beyond a simple DIY fix-up, some tasks require the skilled hands of a professional tradesman.

In the days since lockdown was first announced, skilled independent tradespeople across the country have remained eager to work because so few of them are eligible for significant financial support.

But if we have jobs around the house that need doing and we feel they are beyond our skills and expertise, what exactly are the rules now when it comes to allowing tradespeople to carry out repair and renovation work on our properties?

Workers visiting your home

Workers are allowed to visit your home to undertake repairs and renovations but many companies will have their own guidelines in place that you will need to be briefed on before they arrive.

Generally speaking, however, you should ensure you are in a different room to workers at all times and that all surfaces touched are thoroughly disinfected once they have left.

Common courtesy

It might well be the most natural thing in the world for you to offer workers a cup of tea and a biscuit when they’re working in your home, but in the current climate you would be foolish to offer and they would be foolish to accept. 

Plumbers, electricians and builders can still visit your home and work on your home but they can’t accept food or drink from you as those products or their receptacles could be contaminated with COVID-19.

DIY supplies

If you’re in the midst of a personal home building project and are in need of materials then you’re in luck as many of the major DIY and builder’s merchants stores have been reopened in recent weeks.

B&Q and Homebase have opened all of their regional stores, while Jewsons have instigated a phased reopening and Screwfix is open for contactless click and collect.

Grey areas

As ever in this current climate, there are many grey areas to negotiate. Until recently, it was only repairs and maintenance that were deemed ‘essential’ that was allowed, but as of today (May 26th) business has mostly returned to normal for many tradesmen provided they are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms and provided they conduct themselves appropriately and in accordance with social distancing laws.

It should, of course, go without saying that no work should be carried out in households that are isolating or where an individual is being shielded unless that work is to remedy a direct safety risk.

Delayed work

Thousands of building and repair jobs have been put on hold or delayed as a result of the pandemic and many of us are asking ourselves the same question – should I delay the job further until things are safer and more clear or should I go ahead with it? Ultimately, that’s a personal question that only you can answer. The government has made it clear that, by and large, we are all responsible for our own decisions right now.

The best thing for you to do is maintain transparency with your trader or engineer and ask them where they stand and what your options are. Because in times such as these, communication is the most powerful tool at our disposal.