Surveying Safely in England this Lockdown
Both the safety of our customers & assessors, 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 new lockdown coming into place in England on 5th November 2020 we have created some guidance for attending a survey safely during the next lock down, based on advice provided by the Government. If you are an assessor and would like to find out how to survey properties safely then click here to access our Surveying 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 Attend a Survey Safely during the Winter Lockdown
Maintain Social Distance
If possible, occupiers should vacate the property whilst the assessor surveys and where this is not possible occupiers must adhere to social distancing guidelines by maintaining a 2m distance from the assessor during the survey, and in instances where 2m isn't viable a distance of 1m must be maintained 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 throughout the survey while you are in the presence of the assessor 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 also important to note that your face covering should be washed regularly and touched 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 before and after the survey and interacting with the assessor, open the property’s windows for the duration of the survey to provide better ventilation, and use a disinfectant effective against COVID-19 to wipe down areas that will be touched before and after the survey like external doors, internal doors that cannot be left open, cupboards to gas meters and anything else the assessor may require access to.
Leave internal doors open where possible to minimise the amount of areas the assessor must touch. All access arrangements should be made prior to the survey as usual, this is especially important now to minimise the amount of time the assessor spends at the property(s).
Survey Location Restrictions
A survey must NOT go ahead if someone in the property is:
- Exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
- 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 between the assessor and clinically vulnerable person. If there is a survey booking for a property that contains someone who matches any of the above criteria then it is vital to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 that the booking is put on hold and rescheduled when it is safe to survey.
If you have any queries or concerns about having your property surveyed during the next lockdown then please feel free to get in contact with our admin team, who will be happy to help with your queries or run through how Easy EPC’s surveys are working during the lockdown. You can get in touch by calling us on 0800 170 1201 or filling in our contact form (Office Hours are Mon - Fri 9:00 - 17:30 excl. Bank Holidays).