what precautions should tradespeople take when working in homes

There certainly is a light at the end of the tunnel now that we're taking steps towards the end of lockdown. That being said, it's important that tradespeople entering our homes are still following guidelines and working safely to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

Things have a tendency to stop working at the most inconvenient times, and without tradespeople, there would've been a lot of homeowners without electricity, hot water, and other amenities during the pandemic. 

It's really important that tradespeople can continue to enter our homes to do repairs and maintenance, but until the spread of coronavirus drops dramatically, we all need to remain cautious. Today, we're going to highlight some of the precautions that tradespeople should take when they're working in someone's home.

Should tradespeople wear a face covering while working?

Over the past year, we've all become accustomed to wearing face coverings in shops and enclosed public spaces. This is because face masks reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

Tradespeople entering your home should be wearing a face mask. If they're not wearing a face mask, you are well within your rights to request that they put one on. Ideally, tradespeople should come prepared with the following coronavirus PPE:

  • A suitable face covering
  • Gloves (or hand sanitiser)
  • Shoe covers

All of these things will not only protect the homeowner, should the tradesperson unknowingly have coronavirus, but will also keep the tradesperson safe as they move from one job to the next. 

Should I offer a tradesperson a cup of tea/coffee?

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was courtesy to offer a tradesperson a cup of tea/coffee, especially if they were going to be working in our homes for a long time.  However, it's important that you take precautions when tradespeople are in your home, so to reduce physical contact you might decide not to offer a tea or coffee.

This is absolutely fine and generally expected. Tradespeople understand that precautions are in place, and will more than likely have a flask or tea of coffee in their van for lunchtime. 

Should I clean the work area before & after a tradesperson visits my house?

During the pandemic, tradespeople are expected to do a certain level of cleaning while they're on the job. Surfaces that are touched in your home should be cleaned down by the tradespeople as they complete the job. 

That being said, it's completely understandable if you're more comfortable cleaning the work area before and after their visit yourself. Not only will it make the tradesperson feel more comfortable, but it will also give you peace of mind that the risk has been minimised. 

Should I vacate the work area while the tradespeople are in my home?

Removing yourself completely from the work area is a good way to reduce the risk of transmission. It will also make the tradespeople feel comfortable and give them the space they need to get the job done quickly. 

Some of us are, however, working from home at the moment, so it might not be easy to avoid the work area completely. In circumstances where you need to access the same space as the tradespeople, it's recommended that you keep two metres away and limit contact as much as possible. If it's not too much hassle, the tradespeople may be able to step outside for a moment while you make your lunch or brush your teeth! 

Final thoughts...

Most tradespeople (self-employed or not) will be used to working with strict coronavirus precautions in place, so you shouldn't need to worry about having work done in your home during this time. 

It's vital that you keep a good line of communication open so that everyone is comfortable with the working situation. Don't be afraid to speak up if something doesn't sit right with you. We're all entitled to be extra-precautious to keep our colleagues and families safe.

By working together and communicating openly, tradespeople can continue to visit our homes and work effectively while minimising risk.

Are you a tradesperson looking for high-quality ladders & scaffolding to help you work during the coronavirus pandemic? Sign up for a trade account for huge discounts! 

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Bedroom

People are constantly looking for creative ways to expand their living space and increase the value of their home. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular ways to do this is by converting the loft into a usable space. Whether you need to add a new bedroom in time for a new arrival, or you want to add a private office space away from the rest of the house, making the most of the space in the rafters is an appealing choice. 

It turns out, you can't just pop a double bed, a desk and a lamp into your loft and call it a day. As with most major renovations, there are a few legal hoops that you have to jump through before you can declare your loft conversion as a safe and functional room. You've probably seen properties for sale with the elusive promise of a 'potential fourth bedroom subject to regulations'. This just means that there's a loft that could be turned into a bedroom, so long as it complies with building regulations. 

But what are these building regulations and what do you need to do to comply with them? Let's find out.

General Loft Conversion Regulations

Whether you're planning to turn your loft into a bedroom or an attic, there are some fundamental building regulations that your conversion needs to comply with. Most of these are to do with the stability and safety of the loft itself and set out the minimum requirements for things such as:

  • The structural integrity of the loft floor and ceiling
  • The installation of a suitable stairway access
  • Any changes you plan to make to the outside of your home
  • The additional fire escape route
  • The insulation required in the floor and walls

Specific Bedroom Regulations

Once you've made sure that your loft conversion complies with the various regulations listed above, you can turn your attention to the more specific, additional regulations that you must adhere to if you want to use the finished space as a bedroom. That's right, there's an extra layer of regulations in place to make sure that the room can be used as a bedroom safely. These regulations include:

  • Headroom - There needs to be sufficient room for someone to get in and out of the bed without hitting their head. This might mean that you have to make alterations to the pitch or overall height of the room. Bear in mind that the headroom required along your allocated fire escape route needs to be a minimum of 2 metres.

 

  • Insulation - When it comes to insulation for a loft conversion bedroom, there needs to be 50mm of insulation along the roof as well as sufficient insulation in the floors and walls. You should consider the additional insulation required when you're making your headroom calculations.

 

  • Fire and safety - The requirements for fire safety vary greatly depending on the nature of your loft conversion. As such, it's important that you contact your local authority or building control specialist to ensure that your loft bedroom conversion complies. In general, taller buildings have stricter fire requirements for obvious reasons. Descending from a third or fourth storey in an emergency is going to be infinitely harder than the first or second. 

 

  • A proper loft staircase - Unlike your usual lofts that you maybe pop into once or twice a year, loft bedroom conversions require a suitable, sturdy staircase. Typical aluminium or concertina loft ladders are not appropriate for use in this scenario. Instead, you should opt for a loft staircase. These staircases offer permanent access to your loft, boast a traditional wood look, and will help you create a safe loft conversion. 

 

  • A fire safety door - This door should be able to open fully allowing easy access in and out of the new loft bedroom. Doors along the proposed fire escape route also need to be replaced/upgraded to fire doors. This helps to control the spread of a fire, should the worst occur.

Does Boarding a Loft Add Value?

If you decide to do a loft conversion that complies with the necessary building regulations, it can definitely add value to your home. If your loft conversion also applies to the specific bedroom guidelines, you can safely upgrade your housing listing from a 3 bedroom property to a 4 bedroom property! This can make your home much more appealing to potential buyers when/if you decide to sell it. 

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of loft staircases, designed to help you get your loft conversion underway. If you're unsure which loft staircase is right for you, why not drop us an email? sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

Double section extension ladder

When you purchase a ladder, it's important to know that your chosen ladder is suitable for the task(s) you have in mind.

If you need a ladder for work, you don't want a product that's only suitable for light DIY jobs around the house; conversely, there's no need to fork out for an industrial-grade ladder if you're only using it to repaint the living room.

But how can you tell which ladders are suitable for which applications?

More...

Ladder up against a tree

Falling from a ladder can lead to injury and even death, so it's important to ensure that your ladder is stable and free of defects before you use it.

But how often should you be inspecting your ladder? Is there a hard and fast rule?

More...

ladder regulations

Ladder Regulations: EN131 Explained

Back in January of 2018, the UK was introduced to the new and improved EN131 ladder regulations, replacing the existing EN131 regulation of old.

As news spread across the UK, the ladder industry rejoiced, tears of joy were shed and parties spilt out onto the streets nationwide as a result.

Okay, that last bit may have been slightly exaggerated but still, it was a welcome change.

In reality, however, the news likely went unnoticed by many ladder users across the country. For those that missed it, here’s the 411 on the EN131.

What is the EN131 ladders regulation?

Prior to the EN131 update, there was originally three different ladder regulations in place in the UK, covering domestic, trade and industrial use.

The European Commission was unhappy with the previous standard, highlighting the absence of appropriate stability, slip, durability and strength precautions – key areas that make up the main causes of ladder related accidents.

As a result, the new EN131 came to be, providing the next step in ladder safety.

Since the revision, the EN131 now provides a simple two-class system, separating ladder use into easily defined professional and non-professional use.

The new EN131 regulation ensures that all tested ladders and portable steps made of metal, fibreglass and other applicable materials meet the minimum safety standards required.

What does the new EN131 include?

EN131 has a number of essential criteria that have been implemented in the interest of user safety, notably the requirement for a weight capacity of at least 150kg.

The new EN131 also requires ladders over 3m to feature stabilisers, while additional slip and cycle durability tests are required, as well as additional tests for ladders in the position of use.

As a result of the new regulation, products will be need to be independently tested and certified for compliance, labelled accordingly with the EN131 Standard once passed.

What does the EN131 test include?

In addition to the new requirements mentioned above, the EN131 also implements new and updated testing criteria.

For standard leaning ladders, the EN131 includes the following tests:

  • Base Slip Test
  • Lateral Deflection
  • Bend Test
  • Strength Test
  • Torsion Test

Meanwhile, standing ladders are checked using the following tests:

  • Durability Test
  • Opening Restraints and Hinge Test
  • Torsion Test

Provided they can pass these tests, the ladders will be deemed worthy of EN131 certification.

Is the EN131 regulation a legal requirement?

While the new standard is undoubtedly useful in terms of ensuring user safety, it’s worth noting that the EN131 regulation is a guideline and not compulsory by law.

Nevertheless, professional safety bodies such as Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive will expect manufacturers to comply with this new ruling.

Meanwhile, professionals won’t be urged to replace their existing ladders; however, they will be expected to upgrade to EN131 certified products when a replacement is eventually needed.

EN131 at Ladders UK Direct

If you’re on the hunt for safe and reliable ladders that conform to EN131 standards, you’ve come to the right place.

At Ladders UK Direct, we have a huge selection of ladders on hand that conform to the new EN131 standard, from low-level work platforms to glass fibre step ladders and everything in between.

For top-quality ladders that are as safe as they are sound, Ladders UK Direct are undoubtedly Lord of the Rungs.

 

For more information on the EN131 regulations or to find out more about UK ladder safety legislation, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 789 538 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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