Surveying Safely in England this Lockdown
Both the safety of our assessors & customers, and proactiveness to help minimise the spread of COVID-19 is of great importance for us here at Easy EPC, so in light of the news of the lockdown coming into place in England on 5th November 2020 we have created some guidance for surveying safely during the lockdown, based on advice provided by the Government. If you are not an assessor and would like to find out how to attend a property survey safely then click here to access our Attending a Survey Safely in England this Lockdown page.
First, here’s what we know:Robert Jenrick (the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government) has tweeted an update for how the housing market can operate during the lockdown stating:
Housing market update ahead of Thursday’s measures:— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) November 1, 2020
🏡 Renters & homeowners will be able to move
📦 Removal firms and estate agents can operate
👷🏻♀️Construction sites can and should continue
🔧Tradespeople will be able to enter homes
📋But all must follow the Covid safety guidance
The MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government) released a message to the housing industry on 3rd November 2020 stating that "Buying, selling and renting a home can continue, in a COVID-secure way, as it has in recent months." You can find the MHCLG’s message by clicking here.
Jenrick’s tweet and the MHCLG’s message paired with the Government’s statement "The legal requirement to obtain an EPC before selling or letting a property remains in place." reinforces the fact that energy assessment can and should go ahead during this lockdown. You can find this statement on the COVID-19: EPCs Government page.
In addition to the above reinforcement from Government bodies, our accreditation body (Elmhurst) has released an update informing us that they believe commercial assessments would also be permitted along with domestic as long as they are carried out safely, as they cannot be undertaken remotely. You can read their update here. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have said in a statement on their website that they have been working closely with the Government to ensure that "where appropriate, professional surveying services can continue, in a safe and secure manner." and "For non-domestic properties where a physical inspection or visit is required, this can take place.", once again affirming that the surveying of both domestic and commercial property can and should go ahead, whilst following COVID safety guidelines.
How to Survey Safely during the Winter Lockdown
There are several easy to achieve ways to stay safe and help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 whilst surveying throughout the next lockdown…
Maintain Social Distance
Maintain a 2m distance from the people allowing you access to the property and any other persons you may come into contact with during the survey, in instances where 2m isn't viable maintain a distance of 1m with extra risk mitigation like wearing masks, facing away from each other when communicating or staying in different rooms throughout the survey.
Wear a Face Covering
Unless you are exempt, wearing a face covering when in properties where you may come into contact with people, like tenants or building owners, is another highly advised way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Coronavirus is commonly spread by droplets from coughs, sneezes, and speaking; the best scientific evidence available tells us that when face coverings are used correctly* they may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets.
*Correctly wear a face covering by ensuring that: both your nose and mouth is covered (while allowing you to breathe comfortably), the mask fits comfortably against the sides of your face, the mask is secured by head ties or ear loops. It’s important to note that your face covering should be washed regularly and touched on anywhere other than the head ties/ear loops as little as possible. For more advice and information on face coverings, see the Government publication.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after entering each property, taking extra care to do this when you are visiting more than one property in a day. To ensure that you are not cleaning your hands just to touch something else that may have the virus on it you should also clean or wipe down tools and regular contact areas often like tape/laser measures, pens, your phone, car handles and steering wheels, etc.
When in a property that is not vacant, work as quickly and efficiently as possible to collect the data you need, to minimise the amount of time you are in each property or in contact with other people.
Please be aware that Easy EPC is asking our customers to leave windows and internal doors open where possible to minimise areas you must touch and increase ventilation.
No surveys should be carried in properties where someone is isolating or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or where someone has been asked to shield. In circumstances where a clinically vulnerable person has not been asked to shield, no face-to-face contact should be made with the clinically vulnerable person.
In addition to the guidance provided above we advise keeping up to date on Government advice regarding working during COVID-19, using resources such as Working Safely During COVID-19 in Other Peoples Homes and COVID-19: Energy Performance Certificates for guidance.
If you have any queries or concerns please feel free to get in touch with us by calling us on 0800 170 1201, filling in our contact form, or texting us in the normal way if you are already working with us (Office Hours are Mon - Fri 9:00 - 17:30 excl. Bank Holidays).