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What the Social Distancing Rules Update Means for Self Builders and Renovators

Social distancing rules relax from July
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Social distancing rules will be relaxed to ‘1m plus’ from 4 July, which could make it easier for self builders and renovators to complete their projects. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon as the government continued to ease restrictions of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Mr Johnson said that people should try to keep two metres apart where possible, but where it is not, a social distance of one metre plus is acceptable. This means that people should remain one metre apart while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Mr Johnson also confirmed that two households will be able to meet indoors.

The government stressed, however, that it will not hesitate to reintroduce the previous restrictions if there are flare-ups of the virus following the easing of lockdown. “The more we open up, the more vigilant we need to be,” added Mr Johnson. 

Self Build Work in Lockdown

Self build and renovation work in England has generally been interpreted as acceptable during lockdown, providing social distancing is implemented and work sites are safe. And Tuesday’s announcement means that work could speed up on self build and renovation projects.

Jason Orme, managing director of Homebuilding & Renovating, said: “A reduction in social distancing to 1m and the allowance of interactions indoors now formally allows what in reality has been happening for a while - home improvement projects using tradespeople ramping up. 

“Work indoors can now commence fully, so the indoor trades - from electricians to carpet fitters - can now operate with no ambiguity. This will be a huge relief to them, and of course to homeowners looking to get these projects completed.”

Impact on Builders

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has previously stated that it was “almost impossible” to follow social distancing guidelines on build sites. 

Keeping builders safe on building sites has to be the priority, and in cases when building work requires breaching social distancing, projects have seen delays which can affect both time and costs. 

However, this new guidance, coupled with the government’s confirmation on Monday that builders can work more flexible hours to help social distance on sites, means that building work will be less restricted.

Homebuilding.co.uk research identified that 92% of homeowners are happy for building work to continue providing social distancing is adhered to.