HOUSE reforms are allowed to resume from today as the deescalation of COVID-19 restrictions gets underway. 

Construction companies and freelancers can get back to work across the country but as ever, conditions apply and some questions remain unanswered.

The main stipulation is that contact between workers and residents must be avoided.

The April 12 Order SNS/340/2020 remains in effect, which called for the suspension of ‘activities related to works in existing buildings in which there is a risk of COVID-19 infection for people not involved in said activities.’

It effectively bans works from being carried out in people’s homes if they are living there during the job.

However as of May 3, the exceptions to that ruling are ‘those in which, due to the type of works, the property’s layout or its ventilation/corridor system, there is no interference with people not involved in the work.’

This seems to imply that if a section of property can remain securely cut off from the residents living there, the works can be carried out.

According to the BOE state bulletin, the exceptions also apply to works ‘carried out on premises, houses or other areas of a building that are not inhabited or to which residents do not have access to while the works are carried out.’

Three conditions must be met to allow for the exceptions. Firstly, that workers and their material limit their movement through common areas and take all measures to avoid contact with the residents of the property.

Secondly, personnel must enter and exit the property or work site once per day, i.e. there must be no coming and going during the day.

Thirdly, workers must adopt hygiene measures such as masks and gloves, where possible.

But some employers are still not 100% confident that the exceptions allow for work to restart in inhabited homes.

Violeta Aragon, the general secretary of the Association of Builders and Developers of Malaga (ACP), told Diario Sur: “The Government starts to legislate on Sunday and forces us to adapt to the new regulations in less than 24 hours.”

Employers say the law could be interpreted in different ways.

Aragon added: “If they ask how we interpret it, we would say that in the case of inhabited homes, only emergency works can be carried out, since it is very difficult to guarantee that there is no contact between workers and the people who live there.”

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