Howe to Survey Safely During COVID-19
March 24, 2021
When COVID-19 was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic on 11th March 2020, little did we know how much of an impact it would have on each and every one of us, literally changing life as we once knew it.
Over a year on, reflecting on the events of the past 12 months, the pandemic brought with it many challenges to say the least, both on a personal level and as a business. As a company we were determined to rise to this challenge by adapting our working practices as the situation evolved, so our ability to deliver our usual high level of service whilst ensuring the safety of our clients, the occupiers of the properties we visit, and our staff remained paramount.
With this in mind we wanted to share our current COVID-19 Survey Safety Procedure:
- Once we have been instructed by the client, we contact the estate agency and/or homeowner to find out if the property is vacant.
- If the occupier is going to be at home at the time of the survey, we ask them to open all doors and windows and remain in the same room throughout the inspection until we need to inspect the relevant room. We do this to minimise contact with surfaces and maximise airflow.
- We ask that a minimum distance of 2m is kept between the surveyor and occupier at all times.
- We ask the people residing in the property to sanitise the property before and after the survey for the safety of all involved.
- All of the above is confirmed by email to the occupier with a COVID-19 declaration form attached for them to complete prior to the date of inspection. If the occupier is self-isolating, has symptoms or has been tested positive within the last 14-days, then the survey will be rearranged.
- During the inspection our surveyors wear gloves and face masks and adhere to social distancing rules. The surveyor will thoroughly wash their hands before and after the inspection.
Prior to the pandemic, our surveyors were often asked by our clients if they could join the surveyor at the property to ask specific questions, take measurements, and discuss plans for extensions or conversions. Where previously this would have been an easy allowance, we are now sharing the policy below.
COVID-19 Visitor Policy:
Please note, with consideration of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, we are responsible for the safety of our team. In order to minimise contact with others, HCS have implemented a COVID-19 work safe system when visiting sites. We are unable to meet with additional people on site, other than the agent or vendor providing access, who are requested to maintain a safe distance from the surveyor and vacate the premises as best possible during our inspections.
HCS are unable to permit access to any other person into a property during our inspection. Any other access should be arranged as a separate matter with the agent or vendor directly. Should another person be granted access to the site during HCS attendance, our surveyors may stop the survey, potentially incurring an additional fee for lost or aborted time.
We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience; however, we hope that you understand the importance of safety during these unprecedented times.
In addition to the Survey Safety Procedure and the Visitor Policy, to ensure our staff stay safe we are continually adapting our working practices in the office in line with current government guidelines. This has included having a minimal number of staff in the office with the majority working from home, keeping the office windows at all times (yes, even during the recent snowfall) and carrying out virtual team meetings which has made for some interesting team games – not to mention some questionable choices of workwear!
Now that the government has announced the gradual easing of the restrictions, we cannot wait to welcome everyone back into the office soon and return to some sort of normality. That being said, we cannot disregard that COVID-19 is still with us, and we will therefore continue to remain vigilant at doing our bit to keep us and everyone we work with and for safe.