The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published further guidance on moving home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The coronavirus regulations have been amended by the Government to allow people to move between private residential properties. The changes outline key public health information to ensure key activities regarding moving remain safe, whilst following the ‘stay alert, contain the virus and save lives’ message and government guidance.
Following the updated guidance, energy assessors are now free to visit properties to undertake assessments and complete Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), ensuring they follow the latest guidance for working in other people’s homes.
• Always follow the latest government guidelines for working in other people’s homes. This may change, so it’s important to continually review
• Ensure public health guidance on social distancing is followed when carrying out assessments. Companies must ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate to customers
• Assessors should contact the property owner(s) prior to any assessments, ensuring they understand which areas will be assessed. All doors and access panels to the property must be open and surfaces cleaned with household cleaning products, in line with public health advice
• Assessors should be clear in any reports about any areas of the property they were unable in inspect due to public health limitations
• During a visit, members of the household must follow social distancing guidance, staying 2 metres away wherever possible. For example, by staying in another room.
• Assessors must wash their hands immediately upon entering a property, using separate towels or paper towels which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
• Assessments should not be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, including anyone who has been asked to self-isolate.
“Stroma Certification and the energy assessment industry welcomes this government advice.
It comes at a time where all businesses have had to cope with reduced volumes of work for 6 or more weeks. It is the first sight of a roadmap back towards normality. This ‘new normal’ however presents risks and challenges, and I must insist that all energy assessors become very familiar with the requirements and responsibilities placed upon them during this relaxation of lockdown.
The housing market is fortunately enough to be one of the first industries to begin to be released from lockdown, and as a result, there will be enviable focus on our industry. It is therefore crucial that all members act with caution, diligence, responsibility and ensure that measures are put in place to follow all the guidance and not endanger lives. The most crucial metric will be the effect on the R figure. We must not allow it to be affected by our activities.
Risks should not be taken in pursuit of fees. On that point, it is highly likely that the process of producing an EPC will take more time, and you will need to purchase PPE, hand sanitiser etc. to reduce risks.
This is exceptionally welcome news for our industry, and I recommend you speak with clients in the coming days to notify and document your procedures, disclose any additional costs or requirements in order to mitigate risks to the lowest possible level, and ensure that these are clearly recorded and understood.”
Andrew Parkin, Director of Energy Certification
More guidance for energy assessors undertaking assessments will follow in the coming days. Stroma Certification will be releasing any updated guidance to its members as soon as possible.