Australia’s Rapid Renovation Expert Naomi Findlay shares two of the most important safety considerations – workplace and design safety – and why they are essential to delivering a successful renovation project.
Hello hello, Naomi here… back for another round of renovation tips!
So, you’ve put together your tradie team – this is the tradie team, the ones who are going to be helping you out on the actual physical side of your renovation.
And that’s amazing, these little ones who are going to make the stuff that you’ve put on paper come to life and having an awesome trade team will also mean that you’ll have a lot less stress come renovation day!
A good trade team will also look after you and your project, but how are you going to look after them?
Well, that’s a really, really important question.
I’m not talking about taking them really mini sandwiches to serve at lunchtime, or handing out blankets for them when it’s cold.
What I’m talking about is the safety side of things – how are you going to make sure that your professionals on site are safe when they’re at work with you.
So, your renovation project can include many things. You could be giving the walls a simple touch up; you could be replacing windows, or you could be adding a whole new storey.
Whatever it is, the most important thing about your construction site realistically needs to be the safety of every single person involved in the project.
Now, the best part about safety is that once you get the rules ‘down pat’, it’s pretty easy to follow.
So with that in mind, there are two main things to consider when it comes to safety.
Now the first type is actual workplace safety. I’m talking about the obvious – the hi-vis vests and the PPE (personal protective equipment) – all of that stuff that will help prevent an accident on site.
Renovating can bring you the big bucks right? But it can also lead you to a super quick trip to the emergency department if you’re not careful. And that is why safety is so important and you should never skip on it or overlook it when you’re renovating to create wealth.
When you think of workplace safety, what comes to mind? Hard hats? Mmm, not so much on domestic sites. But it is hi-vis vests, ear muffs, dust masks, breathing apparatus, protective glasses and gloves – all of the important things which fall under the umbrella or PPE – which is personal protective equipment.
You should always keep an eye on the PPE stock that’s on your site, as well as the wear and tear, because realistically a dusk mask that has holes in it or that has a full dusty filter on it, isn’t going to be doing the job that it needs to which is preventing all of your workers from breathing in the dust and debris.
So, if they need to be replaced, be sure that the trades know so they can be safe on your work site.
Having a first aid kit on your site and ready to go is also a very good idea, even though the aim is to avoid having to use one, if someone was to have an accident and gives themselves a minor cut or gets a blister, it can be quickly treated and patched up without disrupting the rest of the renovation works.
One of the easiest ways to minimise risk for anyone hurting themselves is to keep the work site clean. So this means tidying things up and removing rubbish that might be a trip hazard or a disaster hazard for anyone involved.
For example, did you just knock down a wall and someone left plaster and bricks, laying around on the floor? Instead of that, pick them up, get them sent straight to the skip bin to avoid any possible accidents.
And this is where it’s fantastic to use your unskilled labours. They come in so handy in keeping the place clean and safe.
You might not think that vacuuming can be useful on a work site as it’s just going to get dusty and dirty the next day, but I tell you, it pays to do a quick sweep or vacuum with (a commercial vacuum naturally!) to make sure that you start the next day fresh and safely.
So another thing to keep in mind on your work sites is the amount of lighting that you’re providing for your team.
Sure most of the construction is going to be done during the day, but what if your plumber needs to duck in after hours and do something for you. Or what if it’s a really cloudy, overcast day?
A lot of the little finicky work that needs to be done on a renovation site can often be carried out in awkward corners where they might not be enough natural or existing light to help here. So consider adding a lamp to your toolkit to help your tradies navigate their work safely.
Now, the second main category of safety revolves around the actual vision and the renovations you’ve come up with. And this is where a good relationship with your trade teams comes in real handy.
It’s around ‘design safety’ I call it.
So I’m always going on about the importance of planning stuff thoroughly before you jump in – well this is no different.
You’ve put all the effort in so far – you’ve found your patch, you’ve figured out your strategy, you’ve found the house, you have your team – now it’s important to protect all those efforts. You don’t want to throw away all those efforts by jumping straight into a renovation just because you’ve got the perfect team set up, right?
Instead, what you need to do is utilise the assets in your team and part of your actual renovation process should involve talking to your trade team.
You need to be talking to them about your vision and about your plans for the renovation because it’s an amazing opportunity to get their wealth of information.
For example, in a bathroom renovation, it’s ideal to have conversations with your plumbers and your electricians – if I choose to put a beautiful pendant light into my bathroom, I need to make sure by chatting with my electrician that the location absolutely complies with Australian Standards in regard to not mixing electricity and water.
So why not use the wealth of information that you’ve already got within your team at the design stage? This will ensure a safe working site that complies from a design perspective with not only the building code of Australia but also Australian Standards.
So there you have it… the two main types of safety you should be considering when renovating to create wealth.
And remember that your trade team is one of your most important assets and you should make sure that they are well looked after.