Construction Volunteer FAQ
Do I need to have construction skills?
No, we do not require previous construction experience — just a willingness to work hard, learn, and be flexible. But if you do have construction experience (like carpentry, construction, home DIY projects), let us know! We have experienced volunteer positions available on our construction sites.
Is there a minimum age for volunteering on the construction site?
Yes. All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age to volunteer on the construction site.
What if I don't see openings on the schedule?
Although we post volunteer availability for our Habitat ReStores, we rarely post availability for construction volunteer opportunities on our website. If you are interested in volunteering as an individual or bringing your corporate team of volunteers, contact us directly via phone or email. You can also contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Sandy, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I don’t feel well or if someone in my household or have had contact with has recently been diagnosed with Covid-19?
Volunteers will be required to stay home if they are sick. It is critical that volunteers NOT PARTICIPATE while they are experiencing illness symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, sore throat or recent loss to sense of smell or taste. Volunteers who appear to have symptoms upon arrival or who have become sick during the day will be immediately separated from others and sent home. If someone in your household or someone you have had close contact with has been diagnosed with Covid-19 within the past 2 weeks, we cannot allow you on our work site for the safety of our staff and other volunteers.
What safety measures have been put in place for Covid-19?
The safety and health of HFHMM staff and volunteers is of utmost importance to us. New volunteer guidelines and protocols have been put in place at HFHMM to address health and safety concerns related to COVID19. Volunteers are advised to practice physical distancing of at least six feet, where possible. Per state and CDC guidelines, a mask must be worn while on site. The mask must fit snugly and must cover the nose and mouth. A disposable mask will be provided if needed. There will be multiple handwashing stations available with touchless soap dispensers and touchless trash receptacles. Each volunteer will be assigned their own tools upon arrival. To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, volunteers and staff are encouraged to use alcohol-based wipes or CDC approved cleaning chemicals to sanitize tools/equipment before and after use. Volunteers are also welcome to bring their own tools. Tools will be sanitized at the end of each day and disposable PPE will be discarded. Commonly touched surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day.
What tools/PPE (personal protective equipment) does Habitat require due to the pandemic?
Per CDC and state guidelines, a mask must be worn while on site. The mask must fit snugly and cover the nose and mouth. All necessary PPE, including disposable masks, work gloves and sanitized glasses will be available at time of check-in. Volunteers are permitted to bring their own mask but the construction staff will make a judgement whether personal items are acceptable to wear on the job site. Volunteers are also requested to bring their own work gloves; however, one time use work gloves will also be available, upon request.
What do I need to bring to the construction site?
You should wear sturdy, closed toed shoes and long pants that cover the ankle. Wear shirts with sleeves. You should wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. We ask that you bring your own water bottle, labeled with your name and any snacks you may need. We will not provide a common cooler, sunscreen or bug spray for safety reasons. Each volunteer MUST be responsible for their own water. Our operations have adapted due to the pandemic, and we now ask that our volunteers also bring their own work gloves. We will have one-time use work gloves, if needed. We provide tools and safety equipment (hardhats, safety glasses, …), although you are welcome to bring your own, if desired.
What will I be doing on site?
It all depends. We appreciate your flexibility and openness to all aspects of building; you’ll find out about the day’s projects once you arrive at site. What we’re working on depends on the current phase of home construction, so you could be doing anything from exterior walls, flooring or landscaping. Your flexibility is the most important thing to bring with you to the work site…remember that all jobs are equally crucial to a well-built Habitat home!
Can I come late or leave early?
We ask for a full day’s commitment from volunteers so that we can keep up with our construction schedules and meet project deadlines. Arriving on time will ensure that you are included in the day’s plans and receive the safety and training you need for the day’s work. A volunteer who arrives AFTER the morning safety briefing will not be allowed on site.
How is physical distancing maintained on site?
Our maximum allowable capacity has been lowered to help ensure proper physical distancing. Volunteers are advised to practice physical distancing of at least six feet, where possible. Avoid handshakes and other forms of physical contact greetings. Do not congregate. Lunches may be staggered to maintain proper social distancing. As with all construction, some construction tasks may involve working with others in proximity closer than six feet. It’s important you wear your mask properly, avoid physical contact and do not touch your face. Wash your hands frequently. If you are not comfortable completing a task that requires you to work less than 6ft apart, we understand, please let a staff person know and we can assign you to a different task.
How will lunch be structured during a pandemic?
If applicable, lunches will be individually boxed for each volunteer. You are responsible for providing enough water and any snacks, if desired, for the entire day. Community coolers will not be provided. If lunches are served, lunches may be staggered for a large group to ensure proper social distancing.
Where are the construction sites?
We will be building in Prince George’s county in the foreseeable future. An address will be provided after you have signed up for a construction shift.
What about cancellations for inclement weather?
We rarely cancel build days, however, if extreme weather is forecasted, we may decide to cancel the work day. In the summer, Habitat will make a decision as soon as possible on the day before and update all volunteers via email and phone. You can also call our Volunteer Coordinator, Sandra Limjuco, for information: 301-910-6597. Regardless of the status of a build day, if you don’t feel comfortable travelling to site, that’s perfectly fine — just let us know!
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