Construction site safety is important, especially when it’s a remodeling project inside your home. The production crew can talk with the homeowners and post signs about precautions, but how do you communicate safety to the other important members of the household – pets?
When 62% of American households include at least one pet, animal safety is a daily concern for residential remodelers and their clients. Members of the family may be gone during the day while the crew is working, but their dogs and cats are home all day, so being aware of pets’ presence and protecting them from harm is, essentially, one of a carpenter’s job duties.
The production team at St. Louis remodeling firm, Mosby Building Arts, ensures a conversation about the homeowner’s pets happen before construction starts by including it as an item on Mosby’s pre-job walk through check list, below.
The Mosby team of Project Managers have spent decades remodeling with pets in the house, and agree on this generalization: Dogs tend stay as far away from vigorous and loud activity, while cats like to be right up in it like a miniature supervisor.
Then again, some dogs want to be where the action is, and they told the story of one project’s hardwood floors having to be re-done three times because the dogs walked across them after work hours while the stain was still drying.
“We respect the homeowners’ wishes for their pets,” said Mosby project manager James Roney. “We have the conversation about what we recommend is best for their safety. If pets need to stay in a pen or closed off in a room, we are more than happy to let them in and out during the day, and my crew regularly feeds and waters our clients’ pets. But if an owner prefers their pet to roam free, we are hyper-aware of where they are and how to keep them from harm. It’s a major responsibility.”
Project manager Steve Wickers shared the above photo of a client’s two cats found fast asleep in a box that held a lighting fixture a half hour before. “These two cats were extra friendly and curious. During the demolition and heavy construction phase, sealing them off upstairs with plastic over the entrance didn’t work – they broke through it. So every day we had to make a cardboard door that they weren’t happy about, but it was for their own good. “
Once the project moved into a less dangerous phase of construction, Wickers had another conversation with the homeowner, which resulted in the mutual decision to let the cats roam free in their home. “We all got to know each other real well, and it turned into a pattern: as long as they could inspect every new item that came in, they would find a place to nap for the better part of the day. Then they’d wake up for their afternoon inspections and petting.”
Mosby painting supervisor Oleg Podgorny notes that safety precautions are the same for pets and children. “Paints, stains and solvents are toxic for everyone. Adults know to stay clear, but not always so with children, and never with pets. My painting crew makes sure to keep all equipment and supplies in a central location so it’s easier to keep an eye on who might be going near it.”
Mosby clients often refer to their remodeling production crew as members of their extended family, and it’s natural for the carpenters to refer to their pets as often as they do the homeowners. One client sent the above photo to show how their dog Gracie spent lunch hour with “her boys,” and thanked the guys for dropping everything to chase and scoop up their new puppy, T.J., when he slipped out the door.
Remodeling is about relationships as much as it is about home improvement, and your pets are an important part of the relationship. Please be sure to have detailed conversations with any craftsmen that come into your home about the safety of your pets, and when possible, keep your pets out of any work zones.
For pet-friendly remodeling in St. Louis, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.