The health and safety of workers and homeowners is the priority while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. This requires an increased focus on health and safety considerations on renovation jobs or warranty work in a new home.
The Association has worked with a number of partners, health authorities and regulators to develop protocols for working in homes, and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about what homeowners should expect for the foreseeable future when having tradespeople in their homes. First, for owners of new homes, Tarion is continuously updating its guidelines to assist builders and homeowners who want to schedule repairs, attend in-person pre-delivery inspections or hold virtual inspections. You can find the updates posted at www.tarion.com.
Homeowners should also know that Tarion has notified builders that it will reinstate repair periods starting August 27, which means that if you were on day 35 when things were suspended in March, August 27 will be day 36.
Second, there are many questions about having renovations done in your home right now.
Prevention includes not only best-practices while operating in the home, but also protocols for communication. Material selections, change orders, and other approvals required should be done while maintaining physical distancing guidelines, with approvals recorded in a contactless manner such as email, text, or project management software.
As well, a mutually-agreed upon list of written protocols will provide you (and the renovator) with peace of mind. Please remember that any rules that you want trades to follow, you also need to follow yourself – including:
- Not entering other parts of the home unnecessarily / not entering the work site
- Notification of any illness
- Wearing a mask when in areas of work
- Clear schedules of who will be in the home at what times
- Clear responsibilities and timeframes for cleaning touch points
- How to handle deliveries of materials when the renovator is not present
When possible, a physical separation between the work area and the rest of home is ideal – either by segregated floors or by using sheets of polyethylene, as it creates a physical barrier while still allowing for verbal communication and interactions less than 6’ apart. A dedicated entrance/exit for trades only is a good idea too.
Finally, as much as possible your visits to the work zone should be completed outside of active construction hours.
Since the beginning of the pandemic the industry’s first priority was protecting the health and safety of tradespeople working on site. Now that work is returning to people’s homes, builders and renovators are equally dedicated to protecting homeowners as well.