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Renovation projects in the time of COVID-19

Last modified: 2020-05-29 | Approximate reading time 7 mins

SoumissionRenovation.ca

Note: this article will evolve as we get new recommendations from government authorities. Please note that the information you are reading now could be different tomorrow. The advice presented in this article should be interpreted as a suggestion. 

During this pandemic, many people are wondering what to do with regards to home renovation projects. There are projects that were started a few weeks, even a few months ago and projects that were supposed to happen in the near future. Other people also want to start planning renovation projects for spring or summertime. However, it can be difficult to make plans and specific decisions in view of the current period of uncertainty. 

This is why we have decided to prepare a short guide to help you with your decision process.

Getting quotes: meeting contractors in person or not?

You've most likely heard about the concept of social distancing. This expression is on everyone's mind at the moment and underlines the importance of limiting the proximity between people to reduce the chances of transmitting the disease. 

Ordinarily, most quotes are carried out in person. Contractors head to the place where the work is supposed to be done and will meet with the potential customer. However, with the goal to adapt to current recommendations, it is strongly advised to opt for other techniques when evaluating renovation projects, especially for interior transformations. 

In most cases, it is possible to find ways to present quotes remotely. You will notice that this is contrary to what we would usually recommend, as in-person meetings are normally better. However, in exceptional situations, we have to find tailored solutions!

Courriel communications travaux rénovation_email communications renovation projects

Here are alternative solutions to presenting quotes in person. These should be prioritized if your projects are happening indoors or if government authorities prohibit in-person meetings (as is the case in several Canadian provinces for a time). 

  • Evaluations that are done by phone, when the contractor does not have to see the elements that will need to be renovated. Please note that video calls are preferable. 
  • Video call evaluations (Skype, Facetime, Messenger, WhatsApp and other video communication tools) to allow the contractor to see what needs to be renovated. You can also send clips to the contractor, which they will evaluate from the comfort of their home;
  • Email communications, where you can send photos, plans and precise descriptions of your needs, your budget and your expectations. 

Are the contractors that you are contacting insisting on meeting you in person (ex: for an emergency)? Be sure to ask them what measures they are applying to ensure the safety of all the persons involved. Are they practicing good hygiene? Will they be staying over for a long time? Do they absolutely have to come?

We've created an article and sent a list of tips to the contractors who are a part of our network so they can adapt their approach with regards to quotes and renovation projects. You can also check out this article which gives you information about managing quotes that you are getting via email or by phone.

More than ever, communications are important between our team, our clients and our contractors. This is a shared responsibility between all the parties that are involved and we are ready to get to work to adapt to the situation! 

Lavage de mains_hygiène_travaux de rénovation_washing hands_renovation projects

For renovation projects: do we postpone the project or go forward with it?

You've scheduled a project and you're wondering whether you should postpone the project or launch the renovations despite the current situation? There is no universal answer and we must say that it's on a case-by-case basis, especially since the situation is evolving quickly. 

Indeed, it's hard to present a specific answer that covers all circumstances. Let's look at a few scenarios to study different possibilities:

Is your project urgent? Head to the next section of this article.

Scenario #1 A contractor was supposed to come to your home to renovate a bathroom starting next week. The contract was signed several months ago and you bought the materials. 

It would be completely understandable for you to opt to postpone the project. Be sure to communicate with the contractor ASAP, let them know about your preoccupations and see if you can agree to postpone in the short or medium term.

Are you still hoping to start the project? Talk about the protection measures in terms of hygiene and security. Have a detailed plan with the contractor and their employees to limit contacts between people and to be sure that safety conditions are good. Please note that at the moment, several provinces have ordered construction sites to be closed for several weeks, so the option of postponing is highly recommended and even required in some cases. Check with your local government for updated information about what is permitted and what is forbidden at the moment.

Scenario #2 You have a short renovation project (lasting a few days) that was supposed to happen in the upcoming days. For example, masonry, installing exterior siding, installing a fence...

Talk to the contractor to know what they are planning to do to observe government guidelines, especially if the project requires that several workers be present on-site and that they work side-by-side.

Is it possible to reduce the number of workers present on the worksite? Can a relay system be established? These are questions that you should ask the contractor. With the most recent guidelines, chances are that they will want to wait until after the situation has settled down. 

If the project is set over a long period, you should establish a plan in case there are regulatory changes. For example, if there is a government decree which makes it so that carrying out the work becomes complicated, even impossible for a while, no one wants to be stuck in a tricky situation! 

From the outset, you could have a plan in case the rules change, so as to avoid having to ask questions at the last minute.

Scenario #3 The project is currently happening and you are wondering whether it should continue. Once again, this is a legitimate question that deserves a much longer response than what we can provide in a few lines. However, here are a few avenues to explore to feed your thought process:

Do you have a lot of stuff left to do? If not, the workers could speed things up to complete the project. That being said, if the things that are left to do are not essential, this process should also be postponed. 

Would your house be in danger if the work is not completed? For example, if the contractors are working on the structure of the home or on the masonry, it would not be great if the work is abandoned for a few days, even a few weeks. If such is the case, it would be best to at least secure the area in question and left it as is until things settle down. 

If there are many things left to do and the project is not dangerous like in the previous example, it may be best to press pause for a while and stick to securing the area where the work was started. 

Communications par téléphone_phone communications

Should you go forward with emergency renovation projects?

There are several categories of renovation projects that could be presented as urgent. Here are a few examples:

  • Plumbing issues that keep the system from working correctly;
  • Electricity issues that affect the way the system works and is supplied;
  • Work that should be carried out to fix a dangerous problem (bulging brick wall, broken window, broken door, water infiltrations, natural disaster)
  • Heating problems;
  • Problems with door locks. 

For emergency work, you can find solutions so that the work can happen as soon as possible. Try to work with contractors that are open and transparent about the measures they are adopting to adhere to recommendations in terms of hygiene and security. Also, stay tuned to any decrees being presented by your provincial government, as well as the federal government.

Are contractors considered an essential service if they are carrying out emergency work? The answer to this question varies from one province to another. Check your local government website for updated information.

Whenever possible, try to communicate with your contractor by email and by phone. Once the contractor is on-site with their workers, be sure to adopt social distancing measures. 

Current government recommendations for renovation projects

As we write these lines, several provincial governments across Canada have asked all non-essential companies to close for several weeks. Most companies in the field of commercial and residential renovations will have to adapt to this request. Throughout this period, few projects will happen except for emergency work. 

Quebec: On April 13th, the Quebec government announced that some construction and renovation companies will be allowed to start working on new constructions that are scheduled to be delivered before July 31st. UPDATE: In a new declaration presented on April 27th, the Legault administration added that all fields of renovation would reopen across the province starting on May 11th, provided that the situation remains stable.

At the end of this article, you will find links to government websites for other provinces of Canada and their current recommendations. 

If other specific information is added in the near future, we will write it down here and we will quickly communicate with the contractors that are a part of our network. 

And what about RenoQuotes.com?

Since our platform (RenoQuotes.com) is able to operate entirely with a team that works from home, we will be able to continue referring contractors and customers, all while favouring compliance with the measures that are required by the different levels of government. Our goal is to play a role in relaunching the Canadian economy once this situation is behind us and the best way to do so is to support local businesses. In using your platform, you will be helping two Canadian businesses! 

Speak to contractors

More than ever, now is the time to show solidarity, flexibility, openness and understanding. Clients and contractors have to focus on communications, listen to each other's needs and fears. By setting up this communication method, a beautiful structure of mutual aid is established! 

We are going to update this article according to how the government's recommendations evolve. If you wish to have more specific information about how the situation is being approached in your province, check out the following websites:

 

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