RLH Developments have remained working throughout the pandemic albeit with reduced staffing levels to ensure social distancing is maintained in our offices and on site.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 we have introduced a new Safe System of Working to ensure we are able to continue providing our services whilst protecting the health and welfare and minimising the risk of spread of infection to the residents/occupiers and our employees.
These are exceptional circumstances and we will comply with the latest Government advice on Coronavirus and are supported by our Trade Association, The Property Care Association and Stallard Kane our Health and Safety Consultants who update us on all the latest developments and guidelines.
We take our Health and Safety responsibilities extremely seriously and therefore have highlighted useful considerations.
Surveying & Working In Occupied Buildings
It is only acceptable to undertake surveys, inspections and works in occupied buildings, homes and commercial premises where this activity can be carried out safely with a minimum possible risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The information below sets out what RLH Developments considered useful considerations that can be read alongside Government advice aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
This guidance is designed to protect both the surveyor, operatives and occupants of the property to be surveyed or where works are carried out.
Much of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required will be in daily use by the professional specialists’ surveyors/operatives, who routinely visit dusty roofs and unoccupied voids where inhalation or contact contamination hazards are regularly encountered. Disposable gloves, rigger type gloves, coveralls, good quality respiratory protection (that has been face fit tested to the individual by our own inhouse trained face fitters) as well as eye protection and safety helmets are standard equipment for our specialist surveyors. .
It is imperative that the Government guidance regarding COVID-19 is followed. Any information provided here is subservient to the information and guidance issued by the UK Government or other regulatory authorities such as the Health and Safety Executive.
Guidelines for Our Surveyors/Operatives
Infection Control Precautions Before Entering A Property
All surveyors and operatives will be supplied with:
FFP3 Face Masks | Goggles | Disposable Gloves | Rigger Gloves | Alcohol Gel Hand Sanitizer | Hand Wipes | Multi-Use Sanitizing Wipes | Waste Bags | I.D. Badge
Our surveyors have been provided with the appropriate training and deemed competent to carry out property inspections on occupied buildings. Our surveyors and operatives are fully aware of the need to comply with the safe operating processes that have resulted from a suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment and Method Statement. All surveyors and operatives have received training, toolbox talks, completed return to work pre-screening COVID-19 questionnaires which have been signed and recorded as part of the process.
Our surveyors and operatives have been equipped with the appropriate type and quantity of personal protective equipment. These will be worn before entering the occupied building and will not be removed until the survey/works are complete and our surveyor/operative is outside the property.
The equipment that will be worn before entering the occupied property will include disposable gloves, FFP3 or similar face masks and shoe protectors. Additional PPE may be required if other hazards become apparent during the survey and/or works.
Where occupants are in the building, our surveyor/operative will always observe the 2-meter social distancing rule. Our surveyor/operative will not be able to accept refreshments or use the lavatory facilities.
Gloves will be worn at all times when handling ladders, handles and doors etc. If their disposable gloves are ripped or damaged during the survey/works, they will be removed safely, disposed of and double bagged and replaced with new ones.
After the survey and/or works, their disposable gloves will be removed in accordance with best practice to avoid direct skin contact. Any non-reusable PPE will be safely removed and stored safely for disposal.
Our surveyors/operatives will not work if they are ill, have tested positive for COVID-19 or are displaying any symptoms, no matter how slight.
Our surveyors/operatives will not bring any equipment into the occupied building that will not be needed during the survey/works. They will also ensure tools and equipment that are used within the property during the survey will be cleaned using disinfectant spray or wipes before it is used in the next survey.
Hand washing facilities must please be available to the surveyor/operative to ensure the Government’s guidance on regular hand washing is observed throughout the working day.
Our Surveyors will travel alone and will not share vehicles also avoiding non-essential use of public transport.
Our operatives where possible will travel alone but if they have no option than to share transport, the journeys will be shared with the same individuals with the minimum number of people at any one time.
The vehicles will be cleaned regularly using standard cleaning products with emphasis on handles and other areas where passengers may touch surfaces.
Guidelines For the Occupants
Upon receipt of your instruction, our office will contact you and ask you our COVID-19 Question Set which consists of the questions below. These will then generate a profile which incorporates our Risk Assessment, COSHH Assessments and COVID-19 Risk Assessment and associated Safe System of Working Method Statement during COVID-19 Pandemic which will be forwarded to our surveyor and/or operatives along with their schedule.
No work should be carried out in any household which is self-isolating or where an individual is being shielded:
- Has anyone in the household displayed signs of COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
- Is anyone in the house elderly or considered vulnerable with any significant underlying health conditions?
- Are you comfortable for our Surveyor/Contract Manager/Operative attend to carry out an inspection or works?
- When the Surveyor/Operative attends, please do not be alarmed they will be wearing PPE, which will be a face mask and gloves are you happy with this, they will of course show you their I.D card?
If the occupants are comfortable with the survey/works, please ask the following:
- Can you ensure 2 meter/6 feet distance is kept at all times to maintain social distancing?
- Can you ensure curtains are pulled back, internal doors and windows opened to promote fresh air flow?
- Can you confirm that no more than one resident will be in the property whilst the works or inspection are being undertaken. Or alternatively, can the residents remain in one room until all areas, other than the occupied room, have been inspected or worked in?
- Can you ensure the areas to be inspected/worked in are as accessible as possible to speed up inspection/works?
- Can you make sure doors to all rooms to be inspected/worked in are fully opened so that Surveyors/Operatives do not have to touch door handles?
- When necessary can you open loft hatches and place ladders in the down position for roof inspection/works?
Our surveyors/operatives will, at their discretion, terminate the appointment if they think that any of the occupants are in a vulnerable group, display symptoms of infection or they feel that the safe operating procedures can not be observed.