The renovation wave and risks to UK construction workers

If you are a homeowner and have lived in the same household for multiple years, your life has probably changed, and the family got larger. Moreover, during the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us spent a considerable amount of time at home. For many, it was a chance to appreciate and enjoy our houses. Now that everything has gone back to normal, many people still spend most of their time at home, whether it is because of remote working or the addition of a new family member.

This resulted in a home investment boom. What’s surprising is that 79% of homeowners are more likely to renovate their spaces rather than move elsewhere. Another customer survey has found that 77% of Brits have spent money on improving and renovating their properties in 2021.

Have you wondered why people are renovating so much recently? Which areas of their homes are top priority to give them a fresh look? What about construction workers who often have to work on houses that were built before 1985? Most people are not aware of the fact that a lot of the houses were constructed with materials that might contain asbestos, especially around the London area. Fortunately, there are companies which offer asbestos removal services around London.

So if you want to renovate a home and ensure that the property is safe or are a construction company owner who cares about employees’ health, this article will cover everything you need to know about the risks that construction workers might face.

Why are people renovating?

As you probably have noticed, home renovation is a very hot topic. There are multiple blogs, magazines, TV shows and even competitions about it. Some people find it fascinating to imagine what their space could look like and what they can do to give it that fresh new style.

There are multiple reasons why people might want to improve their homes. For some, it’s about completely changing everything, from buying new furniture, breaking down walls or putting up new ones to adding an additional building in the garden. Others might go for something more subtle such as rearranging the bedroom or improving the home office.

Nonetheless, the main reasons why people might want to upgrade their space are:

● New family members – The addition of a new family member is one of the most exciting and important moments of anyone’s life. However, it also adds pressure and stress. With a new person in our lives, some homes can feel more cramped and uncomfortable. That’s why people decide to work on home additions such as converting rooms or opening up a floor plan.

● Increase market value – For many, buying a house is one of the most important investment decisions they will ever make. Upgrading and refreshing a property can have a very positive long-term effect on the house’s market value. Essentially making it much more valuable than it was before.

● Home office – As you are probably aware pandemic has changed the job market completely. Some people returned to the offices while others decided to work remotely permanently. Many people improved their home offices or converted unused rooms into a comfortable working environment.

● Give a fresh new look – Living in the same space can get tiring. For some people, it’s not about making the house more valuable or creating more space for a bigger family. They just want to freshen things up and make the place exciting again.

What are people renovating

According to the Association of Home Builders, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the most common renovations were bathrooms and kitchens. They are still one of the most popular types of home improvements; however, they are being joined by new trends that result from pandemic lifestyle changes.

Because people spend more time at home than ever, they heavily invest in home offices, patios and porches. Some add extra rooms or break down walls to make the property feel more spacious.

What are the risks for construction workers?

Many people are unaware that between the 1950s and 1985, asbestos was one of the most common materials used in construction. You might be wondering why it was so popular?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre with amazing properties. It’s very cheap, strong, heat and sound insulating and fire resistant. Those qualities make it an excellent material to be used in construction. In fact, it was so widely used that it’s present in over 1.5 million buildings in the United Kingdom. Fortunately, it was banned entirely in 1985. That’s why when planning a renovation of a house built before 1985, it’s essential to check whether there is asbestos present.

This material is very harmful to anyone that is inhaling it. Moreover, it’s hard to tell if one was exposed to it. Asbestos doesn’t create any immediate symptoms. Usually, the moment you find out about being sick from asbestos, it’s too late.

So to make sure that your renovation will go smoothly and everyone involved can be safe, you need to make sure whether there are materials that might contain asbestos.

Asbestos is most commonly found in:

●        Roof tiles

●        Floor tiles

●        Insulation

●        Textured coatings

●        Pipes

●        Walls

Materials which contain asbestos can be found in all types of buildings. Offices, homes, schools, hospitals, and every other kind of property. It’s mixed into the installed products and building materials; that’s why it’s hard to tell whether it is present or not.

Other types of risks that home renovators might face are:

●        The collapse of structures such as support walls

●        Electricity

●        Exposure to dust

●        Falls from heights such as ladders and roofs