Through virtual design consultations and other health safety practices, safe remodeling can be accomplished during times of shelter-in-place and social distancing. Photo: MSK Design Build ©2020

This article originally appeared on the blog of MSK Design Build, a Diamond Certified company.

You’ve been sheltering in place or working at home since March, and it slowly dawns on you that it may be time to remodel your kitchen (or bathroom or your whole home). Join the crowds! Our phones are ringing off the hooks as many East Bay residents are eager for a fresh look and feel in their bathroom, an updated fireplace and new flooring, or a beautiful and functional new kitchen. The first question that may come to mind is, “How can I remodel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic?”

As a design build firm that has been safely and busily back to work since May 4, let us share with you how this can work. You should not have to choose between safety for your family and a beautiful home.

Choose Wisely

Now is not the time to skimp on quality. You want a remodeling partner that takes safety as seriously as you do.

  • Research your remodeling candidates. Check out reviews on social media, company websites, BBB and Diamond Certified.
  • Ask for references from clients who have worked with your remodeler this year and question them on protocols followed.
  • Check for a contractor’s license and bond. Companies that are appropriately bonded and insured are more likely to take safety and OSHA regulations seriously.
  • Ask for a copy of their certificate of insurance.

Virtual Design Consultation

  • Be prepared for your meeting by having a clear understanding of your scope of work, priorities for the different components of your scope and a rough idea of your budget.

    Virtual design consultations allow you to conceptualize your project with a designer while following social distancing guidelines. Photo: MSK Design Build ©2020

  • If you have plan sets of your home, provide them. The more info they have, the better.
  • If you bought your home within the last 5-7 years, it will often still have photos posted on Redfin or Zillow. View the link together!
  • If you’ve owned your home for a long time, photos of the areas that you want to remodel are helpful for the discussion. Email them prior to your meeting.

Site Visit and Inspection

After an initial virtual meeting and discussion, your remodeler will want to see your home in person. Make sure this is done safely:

  • Schedule the meeting for a time that your family will be engaged in other rooms or out of the house.
  • Require masks to be worn during the visit, as well as gloves (optional, depending upon your risk tolerance).
  • Practice social distancing at all times during the meeting.
  • Have hand sanitizer available, and be sure to have sanitizing wipes for areas to be inspected, for the safety of both parties.

Design Phase

After signing and beginning the design phase, you will most likely have both virtual and physical meetings.

  • Conduct meetings on floor plans, design style, etc. as virtual meetings. So much can be conducted with renderings and perspectives on shared screens.

    Design meetings can take place outside, with all participants wearing the required PPE. Photo: MSK Design Build ©2020

  • Do your research on products with your designer online, with links shared by them, and then visit a retail showroom to view your favorite products up close.
  • Schedule appointments for all your shopping: plumbing fixtures, tile, flooring, countertops, appliances, windows and doors. You’ll get more done and be in and out more quickly.
  • Wear a mask and have disposable gloves handy when you shop, and be sure to practice social distancing.
  • If possible, have meetings just outside the showroom. While you explore cabinetry, countertop and hardware samples, you can also embrace the sunshine and fresh air.

Construction Phase

All remodelers should be following both county health codes and Cal OSHA requirements:

  • Ask your remodeler for a COVID-19 Site and Safety Health Plan before your project starts. Get it in writing.
  • Prepare all your questions for your pre-construction meeting with your project manager—don’t be shy!
  • At the entrance to the jobsite, there should be signage related to coronavirus safety protocols posted, hand sanitizer, sanitizing cloths, masks, gloves and a trash can without a lid.
  • With the exception of the homeowners, all persons entering the worksite must sign the Daily Attendance Log (name, phone #, email address, address).
  • If possible, there should be a designated worker access door.
  • Work areas should be protected by plastic walls when possible.
  • Jobsite areas that have been worked in must have all touched surfaces sanitized by the crew at the beginning of the day and the end of the day. Every day.
  • Crew must wash hands before the start of the day, after returning from AM and PM breaks and lunch.
  • Crew must cough or sneeze into their arm if working alone without a mask.
  • Workers should wear masks when working with others, and put one on if the client enters the room.

For more information about MSK Design Build, visit

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