Living without a kitchen sink during a renovation might be annoying, but there’s more to consider than the fact that you’ll be washing dinner dishes in the tub for a while.
Damon Alcock with Construction Safety Nova Scotia says he always wants homeowners to really think through how they’ll live safely in the midst of a renovation.
“The safety of themselves, children and pets should be taken into consideration if they decide to live in the home during the renovation,” says Alcock. “Children or pets playing in and around the home could get seriously injured if there is not a physical barrier between the living areas and the work area.”
It’s also important to know how the renovation zone will be left at the end of each work-day. Will it be off-limits completely, or safe to enter? Will you have access to power or water, or will there be exposed wiring and incomplete plumbing that shouldn’t be touched?
Alcock says it all comes down to hiring the right person – or team – for the job.
“Does the contractor have WCB coverage? Do they have the appropriate training to do the job you need completed? Do they have the proper safety training? Is the company COR (Certificate of Recognition) certified?” says Alcock. “Ask to see proof of all of these.”
If you’re preparing for a renovation, Alcock says to get everything in writing. This can prevent legal headaches down the road, but it could also be critical to keeping everyone safe.
“Always have a discussion with your contractor prior to any renovation to ensure both parties understand how they can work together to ensure no one gets hurt during the renovation,” says Alcock. “Having both parties agree in writing how the project will progress with respect to working safely and ensuring everyone does their part to ensure the safety of others is extremely important.”
But it’s not just the safety of you and your family that needs to be considered. Alcock says it’s the renovators – the ones on the front lines of the project – who put themselves into potentially dangerous situations as they take down walls, climb ladders and do electrical work.
Last year in Nova Scotia, there was an increase in lost time due to injuries in the residential construction industry. In order to bring that figure back down, Alcock says homeowners and contractors must always prioritize safety.
“Everyone must do their part to help keep everyone safe – so that not only you can enjoy your home and family, but your contractor can return to their home at the end of the day and do the same.”
Construction Safety Nova Scotia has a wealth of information and resources for contractors and homeowners alike and also offers over 40 health and safety compliant courses.
WHMIS 2015 and COR Management courses are also available online through our website