Once the contractor has been selected, the insurance coverage determined, and the job begins, the risks in a home renovation are far from over. During construction, the risks of harm and injury to people and theft or destruction of property must be addressed. The contractor and homeowner must consider several safety considerations and their own responsibilities while the job is being completed.
SAFETY FOR RESIDENTS AND NEIGHBORS
For homeowners and their families who remain onsite during the renovation, there are a few safety precautions that need to be taken. For families with children, work should be scheduled while children are at school or out of the home whenever possible. Physical harm from the jobsite is one consideration, as well as the threat of kidnapping of family members. This potential threat highlights the need for comprehensive background checks on all crew members.
Where allowable by local laws and ordinances, temporary barriers may need to be erected around the job site to keep people out. Motion-sensor security lighting should be added for two reasons: lighting the area for anyone approaching the job site at night as well as alerting residents to anyone entering their property after hours. Signs should also be posted around the area warning curious passersby and neighbors that construction is going on and to be careful.
Because of the materials used and some of the work that must be completed, fires are a real threat for any home renovation. Workers should properly store flammable materials at the end of each work day and follow a “hot works” program for soldering and welding to address how soldering and welding will be handled during construction and ensure that workers inspect the area to protect combustible materials from heat and sparks.
Fire extinguishers must be available throughout the home. Both the homeowner and contractor must have a clear understanding of their roles in the use of any alarm and sprinkler systems. Homeowners should address their responsibilities with their home insurance agent in the event alarm or sprinkler systems are deactivated during construction.
PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS
While the risk to people is great during a home renovation, homeowners cannot forget the possibility of damage to their property. Following fire safety precautions will help mitigate these issues, but protection from the weather must also be considered. Depending on the type of renovation, parts of the interior may be exposed during construction.
Store valuables or furniture during the renovation, if possible. Workers should drape the work area in tarps during the day and wrap the open section of the home at the end of the work day. Homeowners should also talk to the contractor to determine the plan for drainage issues if gutters, leaders, or grades are temporarily repositioned during the renovation.
Homeowners must be mindful of the safety risks to themselves, their family, and their property during any home renovation – especially on a complex job. Working with the contractor and subcontractors will help keep the job site and everyone on it safe from harm.