As the UK’s lockdown promises to continue into the summer months, should homeowners and property developers do their best to keep projects operational, or take time out to prepare for when work begins again? Here, we share our advice on lockdown best practice.
While most residential building sites have been closed since the lockdown began, around a quarter continue to operate while following strict social distancing measures (Housing Today, April 2020). This comes amid calls from the industry for government ministers to designate construction workers as essential workers.
The guidelines are similar for tradespeople working in people’s homes - essential repairs and maintenance can continue provided that the worker is well and has no symptoms and that the clients are similarly well and symptom-free. For those clients who are isolating or shielding, it is important that work is only carried out if the risk to health and safety is high.
The Biggest Challenges
Whatever size your project, you are likely to come up against a few challenges in these turbulent times. These include:
- Builders merchants and general suppliers being closed or supplies unavailable due to restrictions on transport/customs;
- Tradespeople being unable to complete non-urgent tasks where it is difficult to keep you and your family safe;
- Negative effects on project timelines and associated costs due to problems with sourcing workers and materials.
Keeping Calm and Carrying On
For most people, work has slowed down or stopped completely. Nevertheless, whether your project is plodding along nicely or ground to a halt, now is a great time to take stock and plan ahead.
Firstly, you can use the slower pace to your advantage, particularly if you are just starting out in your renovation project. Use the time you have to do your research and build relationships with those companies who deserve your business. It is likely that many of these will also have extra time on their hands, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig down into the nitty-gritty of your project. It’s also worth asking about flexible payment options, if finances may cause difficulties in the near future, or discuss any elements of the project that can be completed as a second phase.
You can also use this time to maximise your project’s efficiency by keeping in regular contact with workers and managers about which areas of the project can be focused on. Establish timeline dependencies and prioritise tasks so that both parties are confident in how work will progress.
Most importantly, stay optimistic! Plan ahead for when lockdown ends, book in work for later in the year, source what materials you can without travelling, look again at designs and even consider your interiors (this is where we can help). On 23 April, B&Q announced that it was reopening 155 stores across the UK, and many other suppliers, including DoorsDirect, of course, are still available to advise and supply your goods.
Whatever you choose to do at this time, stay safe and feel free to get in touch to discuss your project plans.