The world seems to have turned upside down in the past few weeks, so here’s our guide to getting work done in these stressful times. There are two or three main items to answer the “How do I get a home improvement work done during closing” questions: Can you get a dealer? Can you get the materials needed for the job? And if necessary, can you rent the plant or the necessary tools? We’ll look at each of these issues in turn – and they’re not as straightforward as you might think! Can you get a dealer to work with you during the Covid19 Lockdown? It is not clear whether the Builders and Traders should be or “allowed” to work during the lockdown. In Scotland, the situation is less ambiguous, as all construction work has been halted. The guidance in English is that “basic work” can continue as long as measures of social distancing are taken. Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Minister, said that jobs “vital to the nation and to the life of the economy should continue to function” and that “intimate contact in someone’s home” as when renovations or repairs are made would be “inappropriate.” Safe and secure to do so however what is essential is where the discussion lies.Haley Lorimer, Director of Membership Services at the Federation of Major Builders (FMB), suggests that all work should stop when the work arrives at a safe place to do so and the site is safe and weatherproof. These interpretations indicate that only basic work in hospitals, prisons, etc. or work that causes immediate danger to people is what must be continued.Washing must be done Workers must stop if they or their family members develop symptoms, vehicles must be ventilated and cleaned Regularly, especially between operators, workers on sites should be reduced to a minimum, especially in confined areas. Touch points should be cleaned frequently, and materials should be handled with a minimum number of employees. Others interpreted the guidelines as if you can comply with the measures. For specially laid down construction work, it is possible to return to work. This more flexible interpretation is difficult to see when applied appropriately to work in your home (unless working in an emergency), but it is more understandable in large locations and beyond. If you have an emergency and have to get someone to help you, we recommend that you take extra care because, as they keep going, they will have much more contact with people other than the other jailed craftsmen. This makes them more dangerous because we know that coronavirus symptoms may not appear for up to a week or more even if they contract the virus. But if it is an emergency, then this must be needed. Precautions Upon finishing work in your home, we suggest you: Ensure that they have no symptoms and that in the last 14 days they have not come into contact with a person who has symptoms Provide hand washing facilities for them to use before entering your accommodation Be sure to keep all the recommended social distancing guidelines Leave them to work alone as much as possible. Do not serve them tea and coffee. They are very unlikely to be offended, and they will understand and feel grateful for your understanding that this risks transmitting the virus, so don’t take the risk, keep their working area to the smallest possible area, and clean all contact points when they leave. Not final advice, you may find it reassuring to wear a mask while at home (but bear in mind that PPE supplies are given priority to NHS employees). Wearing masks isn’t currently required – but it can be reassuring! There are specific building guides prepared by the Construction Leadership Council which are very helpful guide, if you can wait – wait. If you can’t, you can find a dealer here, but be prepared to wait a little longer than usual. Do it yourself – where to get the materials, if you can find a person who is ready to do the work, it will be difficult to get the materials right away. And it will be more difficult if you want to acquire it yourself because you will not be able to access the merchant accounts that most merchants have. If it is open, and if so, are there any restrictions on the service. This covers many regional and smaller dealers. You can see this list here. Majority of the construction merchants are either closed or partially closed, offering restricted service, although as time passes more and more are opening albeit with restrictions. We have found that many are only serving customers with existing merchant accounts, and even then you have to get delivery or come for collection within the specified collection time. Building Merchants Association This approach is similar to the National DIY Awnings. B&Q and Wickes restrict access to their websites, often for more than an hour. When you are able to access their site you are offered a limited range although this sounds fast you can get the delivery, but they have a hard time indicating that this is likely to be delayed due to unprecedented ordering. Or, you can use the click-and-collect service from outside of stores or through “contactless stacking”. Screwfix (part of the Kingfisher Group with B&Q) also operates deliveries, pecking and collecting service, although many stores are closed or have reduced hours: the Jews closed all branches and offers merchant account delivery from only limited branches. On request (by email only), you are required to justify that the work is necessary, it will only be delivered to sites deemed necessary by the government, and Travis Perkins only submits to the primary sites. If your site meets the criteria listed, you can request delivery by phone or email. Homebase has closed all of its stores, but continues to offer deliveries, although it is having difficulties indicating that these services are likely to be delayed due to high demand Our tool store is now open again, having closed while we have curated products that we can Sold. Like all other retailers, we will have longer and unexpected delivery times, partly due to ordering, but also because we are restricted to following social distancing guidelines that will slow picking and packing activities. You can browse our collection of tools here. Returns and Damaged Items Most stores do not operate a full returns service for damaged or unwanted items, so it is worth ordering carefully. Returns are in store, where stores are open, unavailable or very limited. This means that in many cases refunds are not processed. For our Tool Store, there is no change in the return policy and the process, as we have no physical store. All returns must be sent to us or mailed to us, but please contact us if you have any questions. HSS has closed all of its stores except for 3 and it only operates a delivery service for essential services. Speedy Hire abandoned its promise of a 4 hour delivery for everyone except for NHS projects. Many small regional rental stores have closed completely during the lockdown, or offer very discounted service with longer lead times, if you need to rent tools or a plant for any essential work you do, you will need to contact your local rental store to confirm what they can help you in it. In short, you should only get merchants to help you with the basic projects. However, when it comes to DIY, assuming you are careful not to harm yourself and thus put unnecessary pressure on the NHS, this is something that can be done while “shutting down”. Supports them through their courier network. Large shipments of materials will be more difficult to come by, so projects that require tons of sand, wood, etc. should be put off until after this crisis, reach out to us and let us know your experiences and opinions in the comments below.