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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

If your household is isolating, 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 during the visit. However, if a distance of 2 metres is not possible then 1 metre will do if you and the tradesperson take additional protective actions, such as wearing face coverings and using hand sanitiser.

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. In particular, tradespeople should:

  • before their visit to your home, contact you remotely to discuss the project or task you need doing and how social distancing will be maintained in your home;
  • arrange for internal doors through which they will have to pass, to be left open to avoid contact with door handles where possible;
  • ask you to minimise the number of people that will be in the area or pass through the area in your home where they will need to do the work;
  • keep the number of people working in your home at the same time to the minimum that's required to do the job;
  • have the same people carry out the job where it will take multiple days to complete; and
  • ask that good ventilation is maintained in the area in your home where they will have to work by keeping doors and windows open.

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.

The government has issued guidance that aims to encourage responsible and fair contractual behaviour.

What is the law guide

The Desktop Lawyer law guide aims to present the law to you in a comprehensive yet jargon-free and easy-to-read format. Our law guide is constantly kept up to date with changes in business and family law by our team of in house solicitors, and includes information across all the legal jurisdictions in the UK.

Our law guide is free to use. Where we provide documents related to this area of law, or where they may help you with any legal issue in this area, they will be listed to the right of this message.