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Allowing tradesmen in for non-urgent work

(29 Posts)
HooteNanny Mon 19-Oct-20 12:50:35

Good afternoon all,
I am a newbie at posting so please forgive any errors smile.
I need some advice from calm, level headed ladies as I am feeling very anxious at the moment, and I think this is totally clouding my mind as to decisions I must make. Apologies for the boring story in advance.
Firstly I am 69, overweight, (which I am dealing with), have high blood pressure (take medication) and have to carry an epipen everywhere due to severe allergies to several substances so have to be, and have been very careful about abiding by guidelines and also being self protective (with intermittent support from both my sons who live nearby).
Long story short - three years ago a subsidence claim was started regarding small cracks in a couple of walls in my home, so a series of monitoring visits ensued resulting in a couple of trees being removed.
Then Covid/lockdown happened, and I refused to allow anyone in my home (on Government and doctors orders). The surveying company were not impressed and were quite aggressive in wanting to come indoors to monitor which I consistently refused as the small cracks could not be classified as ‘urgent’ work.
Fast forward to lockdown easing and numbers reducing; I allowed the monitoring to begin again with the proviso that all relevant protective gear was worn and only one person entered my home (my children and grandchildren had only just been allowed to enter at this point). They very begrudgingly agreed.
Then when it was decided repair work could commence, they wanted two building firms to come and estimate the cost of repair - again I insisted on one person, PPE etc, which they were not happy with but complied.
I found all of this very stressful, and so my son phoned the surveying company three weeks ago, and told them that any further communication should be with him and he would then discuss matters with me.
They have taken no notice of this and obviously haven't relayed this fact to the chosen builder, and over the past week I have had several voicemails from this building company asking me to confirm with them a start date of 9 November for the repair work, and for two other separate tradesmen to come and assess other work to be done.
With the numbers rising so rapidly, am I being a complete ‘wimp’ to be very worried about having three separate strangers in my home for days at a time? What I really want to do is to say no, you will have to wait until spring next year, but I’m unsure as to whether I can do that or not.
I am living in a Tier 1 region at the moment, however our numbers are rising quite quickly, but so many people seem to be in and out of each other’s houses and living a ‘normal’ life.
My daughter, who lives in London, thinks I should be far more proactive and ‘live your life’ but if I am absolutely honest, I am terrified of catching this horrible virus.
Do you think I should/could postpone this work until next year?
I hope this makes sense - I will be able to talk to my son in a couple of days; but my head is whirling at the moment with the ‘should I/shouldn’t I’ and I’m hoping for some calming and helpful replies. Thank you smile

Jane10 Mon 19-Oct-20 12:59:30

What a worrying situation for you. I dont think you should let yourself be steamrollered by these builders. Can your son have a really stern word with them? Or could your lawyer write to explain the situation while still preserving your rights to have this work done when it is safe to do so?

EllanVannin Mon 19-Oct-20 13:14:22

For non-urgent work----No.

PamelaJ1 Mon 19-Oct-20 13:23:13

This may not be urgent work at the moment. Will it become urgent if you leave it?

Esspee Mon 19-Oct-20 13:31:08

With respect I feel you are overreacting. If you wish to have the faults remedied you will have to allow access to your home.
If you are still fearful why not have a family member do the interactions with the tradespeople while you retire to you bedroom.
This virus is spread by close contact.

Illte Mon 19-Oct-20 13:33:35

Can they isolate themselves?

My kitchen was ripped out on March. Come July work was restarted but they boarded up the kitchen from the rest of the house and came in through the back door.

If we needed to talk they went in the garden and I leant out of the bedroom window or they phoned me.

They cleaned when they finished and we didnt go in for a few days.

NfkDumpling Mon 19-Oct-20 13:39:06

We had ordered a new floor in the sitting room Before Covid and the contractor had bought it with a start date just after lock down, which of course had to be cancelled. We are in the Shielding category.

After the release date in July we re-arranged for him to come with a mate so it would only take one day. He is married to a nurse and had a parent shielding so knew how important adequate precautions were.

We did not use the room for 36 hours before he came,

They only used the front door which had direct access to the sitting room, all other doors were kept shut,

They wore masks and gloves and worked with all the windows open,

They did not come into the rest of the house and ate in their van (and I assume used a bucket in said van!),

They worked fast, cleaned up and wiped down with medicated wipes (door handles etc) and were gone by four o'clock and we didn't enter the room until the following evening.

Of course, the weather was hot then and everyone was being much stricter. Things are getting more lax now, but tradesmen do know what they should and shouldn't be doing.

We too are in a low incidence area and I think that does make a big difference. Only you know how easy the logistics will be to avoid the rooms which need repair and keep out of them afterwards. Perhaps its worth investigating those anti-viral sprays which hotels use in their rooms.

BlueBelle Mon 19-Oct-20 13:56:38

I don’t want to make you feel worse but yes I consider you are overreacting You do not even have to be in the same room while they are there or you could get one of your sons to be there Instead of you
This dreadful fear some people are feeling is really really damaging in my opinion
I had to have a number of tradespeople in at different times during lockdown they were all respectful of distances They don’t want to give or catch anything any more than you do
Relax a little and get the work done it could become a necessity if you don’t

petra Mon 19-Oct-20 14:41:29

I think you are over reacting.
What makes you think that everything is going to be ok next spring? Unless the government has a complete re-think the situation is going to be exactly the same but your cracks won't be. They can only get worse.
What if your insurance broker says i'm sorry, but you should have had this work done a long time ago. We are going to have a re-think on costs
On a different note. You mention your high stress levels. Are you aware that the stress hormone, cortisone increases you appetite?
You are more at risk with your high blood pressure and stress levels than you are of catching the virus.

petra Mon 19-Oct-20 14:42:36

I don't know why my 'old' name has come back?

PinkCakes Mon 19-Oct-20 14:53:07

If it were me, I'd let the builders in and let them do whatever work is needed. You can stay in another room, or even wear a mask if you're so worried.

Bluebelle - I agree entirely.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 19-Oct-20 16:22:42

I have my boiler serviced yearly. Bob my man came in this morning to service it.

I kept a distance - well I wrapped a birthday present in the dining room and wrote a couple of cards whilst he was here. Left the money on the kitchen worktop. We wished each other a Happy Christmas ? and off he went.

I think you have decide for yourself what risk you are prepared to go with.

NotTooOld Mon 19-Oct-20 16:28:06

As you are so worried (understandably) I would say no in the current situation. Things will hopefully be different by next spring but if they are not you can have a rethink. Sorry you are so anxious.

AGAA4 Mon 19-Oct-20 16:36:30

We really don't know how long this virus will be around. If you stay away from the builders they can't infect you. It would be better to get it done and not have to worry about it as there is no guarantee that next spring will be any better.

NotTooOld Mon 19-Oct-20 16:38:12

HooteNanny - this really isn't helping you at all, is it? This is all well meaning advice but advising different things! Why not calm down and get your son to find out how urgent this work actually is? If it can wait a few weeks or months, then wait, if it really can't wait - we would't want your house falling down - then you will have to be brave, take all precautions and let the builders in.

Callistemon Mon 19-Oct-20 16:43:47

We had to have two lots of tradespeople in the house whilst I was shielding, both urgent.
We also had the boiler serviced.

I kept out of their way on each occasion then cleaned anywhere they had been with Dettol after they had left.

If you do not have the work done and we have a bad winter then the subsidence problems could become worse.
I think we have to learn how to manage risk.

Galaxy Mon 19-Oct-20 16:46:56

I think you dont need to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. It's fine to say no. Some people will be happy having work done some wont. We need to let people set their own boundaries.

Grandmafrench Mon 19-Oct-20 17:28:26

Your very clear summary sounds as if there is a fair amount of leaning on you now to get any work done - to suit others rather than yourself.

You are clearly anxious about having any old Tom, Dick or Harry in your house at their own convenience and given that it is your health, your house, your rules, I'm not surprised that you have reservations about this. Don't worry about being thought of as a wimp, those arranging this work would have no clue (or interest) regarding your medical history!

You don't say how much work this will involve? Do you know? You talk about minor cracks and over a 3 year period, so it certainly doesn't sound urgent to me. Why not get your Son to establish precisely what period of time the repairs will take - a day or so? - a month or worse? by speaking to builders to insist that they deal with him and not you and then, more importantly, by speaking to the insurers. He needs to explain to them that you would prefer to wait for a further while because of health concerns before allowing people you don't know into your home and so, would they please advise him of the clause in the policy which states that your claim has to be resolved within a certain time frame, because you want to wait to have this work done, at least until the winter is over.

If it's a big block of work that the builders need to embark upon, they might want to get on and do the work, just as a source of income before Christmas! . Judging by what you have said, it does seem that there are other trades involved - those who haven't yet prepared an estimate, so it's likely that other people will be demanding access to your home to do this well before the November date suggested. If you do decide to have the work done soon, perhaps your Son can establish what rooms in your home need access, at least that way you will know if you want to be there to ensure that doors are locked whilst you stay in a part of the house which workmen can't enter, until they have completed the work.

Try not to be stressed and just let your Son deal with these enquiries on your behalf. Once you know all the facts and people stop pushing, you'll be able to make your own decision. Hope it works out for you!

HooteNanny Mon 19-Oct-20 17:55:45

Thank you all for your comments.
The work is non-urgent, in fact the only reason the claim started was that 3 years ago my brother offered to have my house repainted as a gift, but his ‘handyman’ noted a few cracks on the chimney breast, and in the kitchen.
My brother suggested calling the insurance company to ask advice as to who I should contact to look at it, and that became a claim!
It has taken from April 2017, and the removal of two trees for the very small cracks to be even smaller, and now they have decided that they can be repaired. I was reassured right at the start of the claim that because they were certain it was vegetation causing the cracks, once that problem was removed there wouldn’t be any further problems.
I am a worrier and I think you are quite right that I am overreacting, and covid has exacerbated that, also having a stroke 3 years ago hasn’t helped! I am trying very hard to learn not to be so anxious; it isn’t easy. I am very envious of people who sail through life.
I live in a small bungalow so not much room to manoeuvre and I think what worries me most is knowing it will be cold in November so the windows will probably need to be closed, and as I react to so many chemicals without warning, I would rather this be done when there can be a flow through of fresh air. There will also be at least three or 4 different sets of tradesmen in over a 3 week period.
Yes, Petra, I have high levels of cortisol - years of a very difficult marriage with a drinker and then caring for two parents and a sibling with cancer, they have gone now but the stress levels stayed - but that’s another story!!
NotTooOld, it has helped a bit knowing there are so many much braver than me, and that perhaps I need to just bite the bullet and ‘get on with it’.
These last five or so months have affected me quite badly I can see, I seem to have lost what little confidence I had. You would never believe the confident, assertive young woman I once was sad the years have changed me but I am trying to reverse the change.
My sons have tried to help out, but they are both very busy men with their own families, so I am grateful for any bit of assistance they can give when they can give it.
I will talk to my son when he is free for me on Wednesday, and also show him your posts, and will update you all when the decision has been made.
Thank you once again, everyone, for your input.

LauraNorder Mon 19-Oct-20 18:07:25

I’m sorry you’re having to go through this. I would contact your insurance company and find out whether a delay would affect your claim. If not then it would be wise to wait until spring when you can deal with builders outdoors or indoors with all windows and doors wide open.
If it is urgent and your insurance company insist the work needs to be done then I’m afraid hand washing, masks And distance will be the best you can do. Good luck

Cabbie21 Mon 19-Oct-20 18:18:58

We were just about to embark of various small projects involving tradesmen coming in when lockdown happened in March. Nobody has been in the house since then. None of that work was necessary or urgent. We do plan to let the plumber in to service the boiler as that is important, to prevent breakdown.
I think you should speak to your insurers, as advised above, to see how urgently they want this dealt with and take it from there. Your work is important, and may or may not be urgent. React accordingly.

Callistemon Mon 19-Oct-20 18:45:24

Reading your latest post, it doesn't sound that urgent, in fact; not as if the whole house is subsiding and about to collapse.

It sounds like something that could be delayed for a while.

FarNorth Mon 19-Oct-20 18:59:04

Hootenanny the tradespeople were quite right not to accept your son's instruction to deal only with him.
How are they to know that this is what you want?
If you do want it, you'll have to notify them yourself, preferably in writing.

Franbern Mon 19-Oct-20 19:16:24

I had supposed to have been having my guest bathroom completely re-done in April, Obviously, delayed, work finally carried out in august/september ten working day job. I was there for most of the time the workmen were in and out. I never came close to them made them tea and coffee and left it on tray for them. Found all of them (and there were several, plumber, electricians, decorators, flooring technicians, etc were all very respectful of me and helpful. I never felt in any danger from them and am now in the process of arranging for new flooring to be laid in my hallways and living room.

The work you need doing sounds far more urgent, and can quite understand the builders need to get it done. Just seeing other people will not bring the virus to you, You can stay in a different room whilst they are there, and if you feel that way inclined, just wipe over any door knobs, etc they may have dared to touch.

Jane10 Mon 19-Oct-20 20:39:12

You really do sound very anxious and that's fair enough. It's very easy for others to tell you how you should feel or how they feel but that's not much use to you. You don't want workmen in the house right now, you have a number of physical problems, it's only a small non urgent piece of work, than put it on pause until it can be done without distress or any risk to yourself. Take it easy. brewflowers