Think about all the protective gear your contractor wears on a jobsite: hardhats, gloves, goggles and face masks. Ear plugs if there’s an unsafe level of noise. Boots when materials are scattered across the ground.
Now imagine your kids running through that jobsite, otherwise known as your kitchen remodeling project, without any of this gear – maybe not even wearing shoes. A major remodeling job can take anywhere from one month to over a year. That’s why it’s imperative to work with both your children and contractor to make safety a priority during a renovation.
The most common hazards for children are power tools, stray nails, exposed electrical wiring and exposure to dust and toxic building materials. Since you can’t have an eye on your children at all times, or expect your contractor to be a full-time babysitter, it’s important to establish protocols to ensure their safety.
While every renovation is different, many of the underlying risks are the same. For example, every jobsite will create a trash heap, which is often full of sharp edges, used nails and other materials that can cause injury. Now think about bringing a newborn home or exposing an asthmatic child to the dust cloud caused by that trash heap. Fortunately, there are ways to help keep your family safe without putting your child in a bubble.
Make a Game Plan
Before taking on long-term projects, discuss livability and safety with your contractor, so that your family can breathe easy while your house becomes a work zone. Discuss and address your concerns one by one. The more information you and your contractor share, the easier it will be to mitigate risks.
Trust me, your contractor has been asked more questions that you can think of. Licensed contractors that are used to working around kids will likely be used to accommodating to specific needs and may already have policies in place to keep everyone safe, pets included. A robust safety plan will include practices such as securing their tools at the end of each day, cleaning up dangerous waste immediately and blocking off work zones with barriers so that children can’t easily access them.
Of course, all the responsibility shouldn’t be on your contractor. Depending on the age of your children, laying down ground rules can help as well. Bob Vila recommends parents take steps to keep their kids away from work areas, such as putting up signs, locking doors or using barriers. Consumer Reports advises taking additional steps such as designating different entrances for your family and the work crew if possible. This is particularly important when workers are carrying large, heavy supplies in and out of the house.
Keeping Your Family Safe With Dust Control
Your home is your safe place and that should not be compromised during remodeling. Dust control is imperative to create a livable environment for your family especially when your contractor tears old building materials down and puts up new ones. Imagine a cloud of dust, mold and volatile organic compounds floating around in your living room, kitchen, bathroom and hallways. In a worst-case scenario, this haze may even include toxic materials such as silica dust, asbestos and lead. Often, these airborne contaminants are too small to be seen by the naked eye, so you may be inhaling them without even realizing it.
These pollutants not only remain in the air for an extended period of time, but also can be tracked around your home for weeks after a job is done. Traditional dust control methods such as the use of fans and plastic barriers are ineffective on their own, which is why clean contractors across the country have found success with the BuildClean Dust Control System. This device effectively eliminates 90 percent of jobsite dust, providing healthier and cleaner outcomes for homeowners.
So, I hope this puts your mind at ease. You do not have to compromise your children’s health to have a beautiful new master bathroom. Ask questions. Have a game plan. Partner with your contractor to ensure your families safety and a job well done.
Author Bio: Brian Paich, Business Development Manager for BuildClean Dust Control System,
A Division of Illinois Tool Works | Brian has extensive experience in the home remodeling market through working alongside his grandfather, a carpenter in Chicago, and through his work at ITW, a Fortune 200 company, and other businesses. At ITW, he leads the team that developed the new BuildClean Dust Control System, a groundbreaking invention that has transformed the way contractors manage remodeling dust in residential projects. Brian has worked directly with contractors and homeowners across the country for several years, learning what is most important to both audiences. He has an MBA in Finance from University of Chicago. Brian is very active in the remodeling industry and its many associations.