Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Contents

Building work and coronavirus

In this section you'll find information and updates related to coronavirus that are relevant to the law on building work.

The UK's response to coronavirus is changing regularly and often very quickly. While we'll continue to make every effort to keep this page up to date, there may be short periods where what you read here is not the latest information available. Where possible we've tried to provide links to official sources, so you can check the current situation.

Engaging tradespeople

You can still let builders or other tradespeople into your home while lockdown restrictions are in place, provided that:

  • they're there to carry out essential repairs or maintenance; and
  • they don't have any coronavirus symptoms.

If your household is isolating or contains a person who is being shielded (because they are particularly vulnerable), tradespeople should not enter your home unless the work is an emergency repair – that means something that poses a risk to the household if left unfixed (e.g. a water leak or an unsafe structure).

You and the tradesperson should remain at least 2 metres apart at all times and they should follow all the standard hygiene advice (e.g. regular handwashing for at least 20 seconds, and/or use of gloves). For more information, see government guidance on working safely in other people's homes.

If possible, make use of video calls (e.g. Skype, Zoom or Facetime) before they visit so that they can get a better sense of what needs to be done. It may also help them provide a quote or estimate.

Cancelling jobs and consumer rights issues

Coronavirus won't necessarily give you or the builder the right to cancel any agreement that you have in place. See our section on Before building work starts for more on building contracts, and our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Complaints and disputes section for information on your consumer rights.

Due to the pandemic and its effects on the ability to complete building work in the normal way and within the normal timescales, there will potentially be many disputes. Contractual obligations that are likely to come under pressure include:

  • the supplier's ability to complete contracts on time;
  • your ability to make payments on time; and
  • suppliers claiming that they're experiencing a situation 'outside their control' (i.e. a Force Majeure), requiring extensions of completion and performance dates.

It is therefore the aim of both the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the government to encourage responsible and fair contractual behaviour.

The CLC provides template letters that can be used by both sides to respectively give notice of and respond to the impact of the pandemic.

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