The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced on Wednesday that anyone in England can move house if they follow the new guidance that has been published. This guidance applies to people buying or selling private residential homes and contains a specific section for Surveyors and EPC assessors. MHCLG also published an update on planning matters, which includes allowing more flexible working hours on construction sites. This will support the sites in meeting social distancing requirements by allowing varied start and finish times.

This updated guidance follows the Housing Minister’s announcement to unlock the housing market, with Estate Agents and show homes in England once again opening their doors. It should be noted however that this new development only applies to England.

Surveyors and EPC assessors

Surveyors and EPC assessors are free to visit properties to carry out surveys. Surveyors should follow the latest government guidance for working in other people’s homes. Where surveys are carried out, all public health guidance on social distancing must be followed. Companies should ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.

  • Surveyors should contact the owners of the property to be surveyed prior to the survey to make sure they understand which areas will be surveyed and ensure that all doors and access panels are open and surfaces have been cleaned with household cleaning products in line with public health advice. During a visit, members of the household should follow social distancing guidance, staying 2 metres away wherever possible, for example by staying in another room.
  • No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild or anyone who has been asked to self-isolate.
  • Surveyors should wash their hands immediately upon entering the property, using separate towels or paper towels which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
  • Surveyors should be clear in any reports about areas which they weren’t able to inspect due to public health limitations.

In light of these announcements, iATS has produced its own iats guidance which covers what members will need to consider before and during undertaking an air tightness test.

Jennifer Hartley, Scheme Coordinator of iATS, states: “With these new government announcements we expect air tightness testing volumes to increase over the coming weeks. The health and well-being of our members, colleagues and the wider community remains our top priority and so the good practice guidance document, which has been sent to our members, was produced in order to help keep testers, as well as any building occupants, safe. The guidance is not prescriptive, but should be used as a basis for our members to create their own appropriate guidelines.”

Government (MHCLG) Guidance:

Government (MHCLG) Planning Update:

Further Government guidance: