by Contributor

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(Apr. 25, 2020) — 2020 has had a rough and bumpy start and as the year progressed, the emergence of coronavirus came and impacted the lives of millions of people all over the world. As it would come as no surprise, it’s taken a huge toll on the job market. Job sectors labeled as “essential” are the only ones allowed to physically stay open.

Certain job sectors like healthcare and retail (grocery stores) are obvious essential stores, but what about the construction industry, more specifically, builders and contractors? Can home builders and contractors still work on home renovations during the COVID-19 pandemic? Well, what it all boils down to is whether or not the project a builder or contractor has is essential or not.

Is Your Home Project Considered Essential?

That’s the golden question. According to habitatmag.com, it’s hard to tell at times because the guidelines for residential projects are changing constantly. On top of that, the government hasn’t been very clear on what types of building work are deemed as “essential.” The only guidelines that have really been given out are that construction tasks involving close contact in someone’s home, where homeowners are still living, is inappropriate.

The biggest impact has been on interior home repairs more so than exterior repairs. Interior repairs are impacted mostly due to potentially contracting the virus from being in close proximity between the contractors and the home’s inhabitants.

Exterior projects, like roofing projects, haven’t been directly impacted as far as services are concerned. For example, if you need your roof repaired, you could easily find roofing contractors that are willing to come out and work on your home. Where the roofing industry has been directly impacted is in the manufacturing and supply areas.

The majority of the materials needed for roofing projects come from the most impacted areas of China. So to slow the spread of the virus, quarantines, curfews, and travel restrictions have been put in place, which is in turn, crippling China’s global markets.

Roofing projects, as opposed to adding a bonus room, would definitely be considered as an essential project due to it protecting the home’s inhabitants from the outdoor elements and requires very minimal indoor interactions. If a particular project would be considered as miscellaneous or only for aesthetics of a home, it wouldn’t be considered as “essential,” according to the Cabinet Minister Michael Gove.

Essential interior home repairs would be things like emergency plumbing and repairs… things that are a remedy or solution to the safety of a household are what would be considered as essential projects.

For Interior Essential Projects

It’s advised to postpone any interior projects you may have, especially when they’re not worth putting your life or the lives of others in harm’s way. But if you do have an essential project you need done and you find a contractor who will do the work for you, you need to see what type of social distancing and safety plans they have in place. During these scary times, you want to make sure your contractor is implementing these safety precautions.

  • Ensure the workers for your project won’t be arriving by public transportation. They should only arrive in a car or company van. If the contractor isn’t implementing this, you shouldn’t hire them.
  • There should only be a few workers entering your home and they should be practicing safe social distancing.
  • If any of the workers display even the slightest mild symptom of the virus, they should be sent home immediately. Make your expectations clear with the contractor upfront so there won’t be any confusion on the safety measures you want and expect.

Ultimately, if these measures aren’t taken or sustained, you have the right to pause the project if you feel it’s necessary. But again, thoroughly explain your expectations to your contractor so that they can determine if they can meet your specific needs and demands.

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Flexibility is Key

We are indeed in very unpredictable times now so your ability and willingness to be flexible with your home repairs is key. You’re not the only one being impacted… businesses are taking hard hits just as much as customers and clients are by simply not being able to provide certain services.

You’ll want to make sure you’ve secured your contract because in case you have to suspend or reschedule your project, securing it will determine how quickly you get it finished in the future. You also want to make sure you keep in contact with your contractor so that you can stay updated on when your project can be resumed.

Also, if you have any balances, you’ll want to go on and pay those up during the slowdown to allow them to stay in good financial shape… remember, they’re hardworking citizens just like you and need to be paid in order to survive.

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