The day that the tub enclosure had been installed, the project manager for Oak Construction, in Oak Park, Ill., received a panicked call. The client had returned home in the evening and heard meowing: His cat had crawled under the tub and was walled in. After that incident, company owner Dave Brady says he made a point of telling his crews to keep an eye out for pets.

39% of U.S. households own at least one dog

Pets can be a problem. Not only do they get out, they can wander onto a jobsite, become aggressive or annoying, get hurt, even cause accidents. “It’s upsetting, disconcerting, and dangerous,” says George Christiansen, owner of Pequot Remodeling, in Fairfield, Conn. He once tried to silence a small yapping dog by banging a tin pan with a hammer. The dog responded by peeing on the floor.

Some pointers:

  • Acknowledge the pet when you first come calling. At some point, ask clients what they plan to do about their pets for the duration of the project.
  • Let clients know that, while work is going on, it’s their responsibility to ensure that pets are secured — in a fenced area, inside in a closed room or basement, or, on longer projects, boarded at a kennel. At Shigley Construction Co., in Wichita, Kan., owner Tim Shigley says, “We work with clients to make sure that pets are taken care of.” The pet question is a standard part of the pre-construction meeting with lead carpenters.
  • Alert trade contractors. On jobs where pets are present, Castle Building & Remodeling, in Minneapolis, posts a laminated sign, listing the pets in the home.
  • Exercise extra caution if lead-safe renovation is part of the job, as animals easily ingest paint dust when grooming.

Not long ago, Jim Baxter, of Baxter Construction, in Hopewell, N.J., submitted a 40-page proposal to a client. The proposal included building a temporary kennel for the client's three dogs while work proceeded. It’s one reason why Baxter Construction got the job.
—Jim Cory is editor ofREPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR, a sister publication ofREMODELING.