94 – 3 Steps To Covid Proof Your Reno Site

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Covid proof reno site

This episode is a mini training on how to limit the spread of the covid19 in your reno site. I will share the system that I managed to make while doing my current reno projects. Also, I will share some exciting things that are expected to happen on the She Renovates Live Conference.

Listen to Episode 94: 3 Steps To Covid Proof Your Reno Site 

Podcast: Download (Duration 16:42 — 23MB)

Episode Highlights

  • [00:01:24] She Renovates Live Conference
  • [00:04:22] The 3 reno projects
  • [00:05:52] Covid-free reno site system
  • [00:06:56] Social Distancing Law
  • [00:07:59] How far should you go in securing your site from covid?
  • [00:09:36] How to communicate your covid-free policies.
  • [00:11:40] Leading by example
  • [00:13:06] Maintaining the site
  • [00:15:06] It’s terribly important to have ventilations in the site

Transcription

“It’s your site. You’re the one that controls it. As long as you’re not discriminatory, then you can determine what goes on your site. “

Intro

Well, hello, everyone, it’s Bernadette. If you’re planning to be kicking off a renovation in the next few months, this episode is for you.

Bernadette: It’s a mini training on how to limit the spread of the covid19 in your reno site. I had to do this research for myself and put together a system because we kicked off our renovation on Tuesday. I thought that it would be a good idea to share with you, because this is a very important topic and we need to take responsibility for the things that are in our power to control.

That’s what I’m going to be talking about today. But before I do that, I need to let you know that the She Renovates Live one day conference is coming up fast. It’s on the 1st of November. I’m very pleased to say that the government has relaxed the restrictions slightly, so we are allowed to have a few more people. We’ll still be keeping it very boutique. However, we are allowed to release a few more tickets. If you would like to join us, come over and grab a ticket, because this is not your everyday property conference. You will be delighted with a roll up of fabulous speakers, including the Instagram Influencer on all things decorating. Zoe Gilpin, the DIY decorator, Interior Design Royalty, Emma Bloomfield, Celebrity Interviewer Natasha Moy, and also our very own architect, David Janssen, who you would have heard last week talking about his new Renovators Concept Sessions. You can bring your plans in and catch up with David, and he will actually do a session free of charge on the spot. Come and take advantage of that. He’s giving it a real workout at the conference.

Of course, there’s lots of other speakers as well. The sessions are really covering the latest and greatest in style trends moving into 2021 and inspiration for your renos. Also, what’s happening in the market and how you can be ahead of the opportunities that are springing up right now in this crazy time. You’ll also hear stories from some of the amazing women we work with about their projects, and there will be before and after photo or image overload. We always love a good before and after. The thing that you will love is that you’ll be immersed in a community of women and a few brave men who have made the decision to go after their dreams and are actually doing it. You’ll be mingling with like minded, smart renovators and you’ll make new friends. You’ll enjoy delicious meals, compliments of the grounds of Alexandria, and you’ll finish up the day with networking and bubbles at the Koroma flagship. Which is just over the road from the grounds of Alexandria. You’ll leave with lots of fun memories and also a gorgeous goody bag.

As I said, we are able to release a few more tickets. The tickets were due to go up to full price this week. But I’ve delayed that for a couple of weeks in order to make them available to you. Jump in before they make their final leap to full price. I would really love to see you there.

Okay, this week has been fairly full on. We finally got approval to renovate Chalmers Street, so I organised demolition for Tuesday to enable me to be able to get organised. I wasn’t sure whether I would need to pay a bond or anything like that. But no. No bond, but to organise the live curtains and so on. That’s all done. And the demolition happened yesterday. I just got a bit more to do on Thursday and that will be all cleared. I’ve also got the electrician and plumber coming in, so it’s progressing quite well. Hopefully the cabinet maker will measure up today because that’s going to be what will hold up the project. I want to get that moving. We’ve had some issues with the Lenkov project, but I’ll talk about those in another episode because I think there are some learnings in that situation that will make a difference to you. Basically around personalities more than anything. And we are settling on Darley Street tomorrow. I’m just going to declare that I did say I’d only do one project at a time. And here I am with three. But at least they are close. It’s really gonna be pretty full on for a month and then done.

Okay. Let’s get into this episode. We’re talking about being covid safe. And I realise that I needed to develop this system so that our site does not contribute to the spread of the virus. I’m going to be talking about-I’ve broken this into three sections.

Now, the first one is preparation. Before you get to site, you need to make some decisions about how you’re going to articulate the restrictions surrounding covid prevention. That will depend on which State you’re in. Most of what I’m saying today refers to New South Wales, all states outside of Victoria. Sorry, Victoria, but you’re almost at the end of your run in terms of the really severe restrictions. Even though we don’t have the same restrictions as Victoria, we do still have restrictions and we need to make sure that our sites adhere to them.

Firstly, social distancing. The laws are that people need to keep one point five metres apart and venues need to allow for four square metres of floor space per person. Our site is about 80 square metres. Four square metres per person means 20 people. But there is no way you’d have 20 people on that site at any time. That’s not a very relevant metric to rely on. Common sense needs to prevail here. What we have decided to do is allow two trades per site. A trade might consist of a contractor and his (I’m saying “his” because all our trades are male) apprentice or labourer. Four people maximum. Four people at a time plus me, that’s five. That’s the first thing. That informs how you manage the site.

The next thing you need to think about is how far are you going to go? Are you going to take the temperature of everyone who turns up to site or are you going to require them to sign in? Are you going to ask them to sign a declaration? Personally, because our site is small, I have decided not to. I certainly do log every one that’s on site so we know where everyone has been when they’ve been there. If anything turns up, we’re able to determine who is at risk. But I think it’s really up to you how you choose to deal with that. However, I will include a clause in the written communication to cover that. That trades need to stay away if they seek. If you do decide you’re going to take temperatures and have them sign in, then you’ll need to prepare the necessary documents, then buy yourself a digital thermometer.

The third thing that you will need to do is get supplies in to help you with this task. Certainly masks, gloves and disposable cups. If they are having a cup of tea that they have it out of something that gets thrown away. Hand sanitiser, of course, paper towel in the bathroom, so that is thrown away. Then rubbish bins and have them located somewhere on site where your workers can access them if they need to.

The second step is how you communicate your policies. I should mention that you can create whatever policies you like. It’s your site. You’re the one that controls it. As long as you’re not discriminatory, then you can determine what goes on your site.

The first place to articulate those policies is in the letter of appointment. When you are letting your trade know that you’re engaging them for the project, you want to include in that letter of appointment. Other than the normal things like access and so on. What the covid measures are, or  what the requirements are. You would say “Please don’t come if you are sick. Please observe social distancing”. If you decide that you want everyone to wear masks on site, then you can include that in the policy. Just like general hygiene, really. Not to leave personal rubbish around the site. Make sure it all goes into the rubbish bin and so on.

Then the next form of written communication is your signage. I personally think it’s a good idea to have a sign even on the door outlining your covid policy. This keeps it all top of mind and lets your trades know that you are serious about maintaining the health of the people on your site. This reminds them to be careful because what happens when the restrictions are relaxed, everyone goes back into normal mode. They need some visual cues to remember that they do need social distance and so on. If they cough, they need to do that to their elbow, avoid shaking hands, all that stuffs.

The third form of communications, obviously verbal. Reinforcing, particularly when you see someone, crossing the line, just reinforcing the guidelines that you’ve set down. The other thing that I think is really important is leading by example. If you want everyone to wear masks, then you’ve got to wear a mask. Sorry, but you’ve got to walk the talk. Something that I have noticed, our building has hand sanitiser at the lifts. Keeping your hands sanitised is no issue at all. I noticed when I was escorting a trade up to the apartment that I will reach across and sanitise my hands as I go past that. If I do it, they do it. It’s a good idea to exhibit the behaviour you want to see them continue.

On the subject of hand washing, certainly our water has been knocked out, so hand washing on site is problematic. There is a bathroom in the common area and I let the trades know that if they need to go to the bathroom, that’s where they can go. It does make it doubly important to make sure that you’ve got plenty of opportunities for hand sanitising on the site. Because the reality is they won’t be having access to a basin with running water that often. While sanitiser is a poor substitute, it is a substitute, so you need to make sure that you make that easy.

Now the third thing to do is to maintain the site, firstly, disinfecting hard surfaces, things like door handles, handrails, bench tops. They need to be disinfected several times a day because people will be touching them and they can be the transfer of infection. What you use to disinfect is up to you, but you’ve got two choices. I went to the Department of Health website for this. They recommend either 70 percent alcohol cleaner or a bleach based cleaner, chlorine based cleaner. I will actually include their factsheet in the show notes. I have chosen to avoid the chlorine based cleaner. Because at some point in the project, we’ll be switching from the old fixes and fittings to that brand new ones. I don’t want to risk the new fittings being hit with a chlorine based disinfectant because it will damage them.

My advice would be to go for the alcohol based preparation. The second thing is to keep the area really clean and tidy. This is just good site hygiene. Anyhow, it reduces the risk of accidents, but make sure that there aren’t tissues. Unfortunately, trades tend to get quite grotty and that there aren’t tissues, used McDonald’s cups, take away food containers left on the site. Make sure that there are rubbish bins available so that they are able to put them in the bins and that those bins are removed daily. While I’m assuming it’s going to be you that does this, unless you do have a labourer on site, I only have a labourer periodically when I need someone. This will be my job disinfecting the hard surfaces. Make sure that you wear gloves to do that and also bagging up the rubbish and putting it in the bin. Then take the gloves off and throw them in as well.

The last thing that I think is terribly important is maintaining good ventilation. We are lucky that our current site has great cross flow ventilation. The minute I get there, I open the doors at the front and the windows at the back and let that fresh air blow through. That is a great way to keep your site as germ free as possible.

Okay, so they’re the three steps. I’m sure that you can find some things to add to that. And if you do, please just come over to the She Renovates Facebook group and share your tips. I will include a cheat sheet in the show notes this week so that you can download that to prompt you to prepare your site.

If you haven’t already, I would really love it if you went over to my tunes and left us a review. I read every one of them and it just really inspires me to keep going and to keep bringing you the good stuff.

On that note, I will close today and I’ll see you next week.

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