Some home remodeling projects can take months to complete. In the meantime, you and your family can look forward to early morning hammers rousing you from your sleep, strange workers coming through your property, and a fine coating of dust covering all your belongings. It’s not many folks’ idea of a fun time. However, sometimes you have to walk through the flames to get the future you want. That means making allowances for contractors and inconveniences. Here are eight tips for living around your home construction.
1. Learn and Obey Safety Rules
You might be surprised to learn that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations do not apply to residential properties specifically. Instead, they concern themselves with protecting the health and safety of workers while laboring in the construction field. You still have the right to compensation for injuries caused by intentional or negligent acts of the crew working on your home. However, it’s far better to take measures to prevent harm to you and your family than deal with the aftermath.
Pay attention to safety matters when selecting your contractor and researching their reputation online. In addition to their safety record, notice whether they complete their work on time so you aren’t left with multiple pieces of hazardous equipment on your property for months. For example, scaffolds are among the top 10 causes of construction site accidents, and they look irresistible to curious kiddos who love to climb. They might be necessary for your remodel, but you want them dismantled quickly.
Parents are ultimately responsible for safeguarding their children. Your crew will undoubtedly cordon the area using tape and cones, perhaps even fencing, but you must enforce the “no kiddos in the workspace” rule. You may have a budding “Bob the Builder” with tons of questions, but distractions interrupt workers and expose your little one to hazards. If your child is curious and the contractor willing, schedule a time to sit and address their inquiries in a safe place, not when hammers are swinging.
Finally, a quality first-aid kit and an emergency plan are musts. What will you and your family do if you need to evacuate? Ensure you have the following on hand in case injuries occur:
- Multiple bandage sizes
- Clean, sterile wraps for large wounds and broken bones
- Antibiotic ointment
- Medications, including a few extra days of doses if you must leave your home
- Tweezers and scissors
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
2. Create Safe, Serene Places
Your contractors can only do so much at once, even if you’re remodeling your entire home. Have them take a room-by-room approach if possible. If not, request that one room remains off-limits so you have a safe, serene place to retreat.
For example, bedroom remodels often take far less time than redoing your kitchen or bathrooms — there’s less electrical work and no pesky plumbing. Can you save these areas for last so you and your family can use them in peace while crews labor elsewhere?
Your safe, serene place should ideally have a door you can close against the inevitable construction noise. Additionally, it should remain free of all equipment, even small tools like hammers and screwdrivers. You need at least one room in your home to represent normalcy.
3. Keep Your Children Out of the Fray
Have your in-laws nagged you incessantly about wanting to spend more time with the grandkids? Now might be the perfect time to pack the little ones’ bags and send them off to grandma and grandpa’s house for an extended visit. Just make sure the trip won’t disrupt their typical schedule and schooling.
You should keep your children out of the construction site, but you can’t watch the wiggly little guys every second. Ensure that your crew cleans up hazards such as broken glass and other debris quickly and puts all tools away in locked containers at the end of the day. A stray hammer might not sound like a significant danger until a speeding 3-year-old trips over it and launches themselves into a sharp table corner.
Furthermore, consider sealing off your HVAC vents to the construction area unless doing so would pose an extreme heat danger to the crew — a concern in regions like the desert southwest. Excessive dust and debris are hard on young lungs. Ensure your contractor uses plastic sheeting to minimize any chemicals or waste blowing around as they saw wood and install wire.
4. Find a Safe Place for Fido
Construction crews pose a hazard to your pets’ health and safety and vice versa. A wayward kitten can trip a worker, and a rampaging Rottweiler can knock a painter off their ladder, causing injury. Furthermore, many of the chemicals used in construction are toxic to pets — but that won’t keep Fido from lapping them up, causing heartbreaking tragedy or a costly vet bill.
Secure your pets in an enclosed room. Do you have an escape-happy dog or kitty? You might have to double up on your strategy, perhaps temporarily transforming a master closet into a pet playroom so two sets of doors stand between them and potential trouble.
If you can afford it and your pet doesn’t object, putting them in a boarding facility might be safer until you complete your project. Another option is finding a friend or family member who doesn’t live with you and is willing to open their doors to your four-legged companion during the chaos.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Remodeling can seemingly take forever. You might handle the first delay with serenity but start to see red when your crew chief alerts you to yet-another postponed materials shipment.
Now’s the time to cultivate your zen. Get mindful about what you want — is it essential to nitpick every detail down to the screw placement on your bathroom cabinets? Instead, identify those areas where you won’t compromise and take a “let it go” approach with the rest for all but the most egregious mistakes.
6. Learn to Live Free
You probably want to get out of your house as much as possible while your crews work. However, you might not have the budget for an extended Disney vacation when you’re already dropping a bundle on a remodel.
Instead, seek free activities that keep you and your family out of the workers’ hair. If your little one is fascinated by the construction process, why not take them to one of Home Depot’s free workshops one Saturday morning? Museums often have free or low-cost family days, and picnicking on the beautifully manicured grounds doesn’t cost a penny. Your kiddos probably love the playground — make it your haven.
7. Manage Mealtime
You and your family have to eat. How can you prepare meals with your kitchen torn apart?
Stock your garage freezer with healthy grab-and-go meals you can microwave in minutes. Furthermore, give yourself a break. Takeout was invented for occasions like these — don’t feel guilty.
8. Keep Quiet Hours Sacred
Construction sites can seem like a study in noise and chaos. However, human beings need to rest. Establish quiet times with your crew and adhere to these boundaries so you and your loved ones get the sleep you need to stay sharp.
Be reasonable. Climate concerns might dictate an early start if you live in a hot region. You might have to go to bed and rise a bit earlier than you’re accustomed to, but you should have at least 10 quiet hours daily where no work is performed.
How to Live Around Your Home Construction
Home construction and remodeling present unique challenges and risks. It’s up to you to keep your family safe and comfortable.
Heed the eight tips above to live around your home construction. These few weeks of chaos will quickly pass, and the results will be well worth it.
In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design including fire sprinkler design requirements, or need to design your home construction project including structure, and HVAC design, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your request.
Rose is the managing editor of Renovated. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.