Last updated: 05/01/21, 13:30
The health and wellbeing of our members, colleagues and the wider community remains our top priority in the midst of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Elmhurst is the largest EPC accreditation business in the UK and we have the size, resources and processes in place to ensure that members can continue working, fully supported by our technical support teams.
Please do keep well and do not take risks.
We have created a list of FAQs which has been kept up to date in line with the most recent updates from government:
Should I be assessing properties?
England Lockdown (Tuesday 5th January -)
The government has announced yet another national lockdown for England in response to a rapid rise in Coronavirus cases across the country (full information available here).
The government's advice on home moving, however, remains the same:
- Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes - you can do so.
- Assessors should follow the latest government guidance for working in other people’s homes. Where assessments are carried out, all public health guidance on social distancing must be followed- a face covering should now be worn if social distancing (staying 2 metres apart from occupants) is not possible. Companies should ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.
- Assessors should contact the owners of the property to be assessed prior to the assessment to make sure they understand which areas will be assessed 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.
- Assessors 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.
Scotland Lockdown (Tuesday 5th -)
The Scottish Government has released new stay at home guidance following its decision to introduce a new national lockdown (full information available here)
However, activities which facilitate a home move can continue. Although Assessors/Surveyors can leave home for their work, the Scottish Government does advise that you should stay as close to home as possible
- Tradespeople should only go into a house to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example: to support a home move
- Energy Assessors involved in preparing the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) are free to visit properties and should follow the latest guidance for employers and businesses on Covid-19.
- Energy Assessors should contact the household in advance to check that no member of the household is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or self-isolating. If they are, assessments should be delayed.
- Energy Assessors should also ensure that property occupiers understand which areas will be assessed, including external areas, 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.
- Energy Assessors should disinfect their equipment between visits. They should also encourage households to ensure all internal doors are open and surfaces have been cleaned with standard household cleaning products prior to them entering the property.
- No work should be carried out by a person who has Covid-19 symptons (regardless of how mild), or by anyone who has been asked to self isolate.
- Members of the household, where possible, should vacate the property during an assessment. If not, Energy Assessors and occupiers should follow government guidelines on physical distancing and the use of face coverings.
- Energy Assessors should wash their hands using soap and water or use hand sanitiser before entering the property. If surveyors need to wash their hands in the property, separate towels or paper towels should be provided at the property and washed or disposed of safely after use.
- Energy Assessors should be clear in any assessments/reports about areas which they weren’t able to inspect due to public health limitations.
The full Covid-19 home moving guidance released by Scottish Government, can be accessed here.
Wales is currently at Alert Level 4 which is similar to the stay at home guidance issued by England and Scotland.
People living in Wales can however:
- move home
- market a residential property for sale or rent and prepare a residential property for persons to move into
- visit estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes for the purposes of the purchase, sale, letting or rental of residential property
- view a residential property
Guidance related specifically to Surveyors/Energy Assessors
- surveyors should not enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating, or they or a member of their household has symptoms or is self-isolating
- inspections should take place by appointment only, with one person visiting the property at any time, where feasible. The Welsh Government has adopted five principles for workplace safety, with full details available in workplace guidance for employers and employees: COVID-19. Surveyors should follow the physical distancing in the workplace guidance to minimise contact with the household.
Full information is available from the welsh government website.
The document released by the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland, ‘Advice on home moving during Covid-19’, provides guidance on how everyone involved in the home move process must adjust their processes to ensure a safe return to market activity. There is a specific section within this document for Energy Assessors and Surveyors which confirms the following:
- Surveyors and Energy Assessors are free to visit properties to carry out surveys/valuations. Surveys/valuations could be in relation to any property transaction such as a sale, purchase, letting or renting or obtaining a mortgage or further advance or buying a further interest or share in a home or for any other purpose. Surveyors should follow the latest government guidance on social distancing and guidance provided by their professional or representative bodies. Companies should ensure employees understand how to operate safely and communicate this to customers.
- Surveyors and Energy Assessors 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 standard household cleaning products in line with public health advice. If it is not appropriate for occupiers to vacate the property, measures should be put in place to ensure physical contact is minimised during the survey.
- No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild or by 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 were nable to inspect due to public health limitations.
The full home moving advice from Northern Ireland's Deaprtment for Communities is available here.
What is the guidance for ESOS Lead Assessors?
The Environmental Agency for England, NRW for Wales and NIEA for Northern Ireland have agreed the following guidance for Lead Assessors:
Where site visits are not currently possible you can continue to complete the ESOS assessment without a site visit where sufficient energy use data and other information for the selected site is available. In these instances please keep the information and decision documents in you evidence pack. A recommendation could be that further investigation is necessary for a given site to identify energy savings and these will need to be re-scheduled for completion at an appropriate date.
For organisations who are still required to complete their Phase 2 ESOS commitments they should carry on with this as best they can. If they are unable to complete their ESOS commitments due to Covid19 restrictions then please let the appropriate regulators know as soon as possible.
Any organisation that has received an ESOS Enforcement Notice will still be expected to comply with the Enforcement Notice or inform the appropriate Regulator why they will be unable to comply.
Contact details are provided below.
England: Environmental Agency - ESOSemail@example.com
Northern Ireland: NIEA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Wales: NRW - GHGHelp@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk
Scotland: SEPA are currently reviewing this guidance.
When completing an EPC for an existing building, do I still need to complete a site visit?
Yes. An EPC for an existing building can only be lodged after an onsite visit and this continues to be part of the Scheme Operating Requirements (SOR) and Framework documents set out by government. Under established rules there is some small dispensation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for domestic properties that are very similar, which is likely to be used for social housing providers; the full rules and details can be found in the ‘CLG Sampling Guidance doc, in the My Documents section of Access Elmhurst.
Do I need to continue to submit evidence for any audit requests I receive?
Yes. You should continue to submit evidence for all audit requests, however if you are unable to respond to a request by the due date (due to self-isolation or other mitigating circumstances), then please let the support team know at the earliest opportunity and we will do what we can to make alternative arrangements. We will endeavour to be as pragmatic as possible.
What will happen to any training or CPD courses that I have booked onto?
In light of the tightening restrictions we will not be running any classroom based coures during this time. We will be rescheduling all courses impacted by this recent change and will also be in touch with those who had previously booked on.
Should you have any queries about training please email: email@example.com
Will there be any changes made to billing?
Elmhurst will maintain its normal billing and credit control processes meaning that those who pay by direct debit get 45 days to pay. If you have temporary difficulties in paying your bill you should contact us at the earliest opportunity and we should be able to make arrangements to help you through this difficult period.
What is the best way to contact Elmhurst?
We have now fully adjusted to remote working which is good news for members, as our support teams can once again answer your technical queries by phone. With this in mind, we would now encourage members to call rather than email us should they have any technical queries (details below).
As only a limited number of staff are operating from our Head Office in Lutterworth, we would advise members to avoid mailing letters and parcels there. In some cases mail may be returned to the sender causing delays and confusion for all. If practical please call our support teams for advice on the best way to send information.
DEA Support: 01455 883 257
NDEA Support: 01455 883 231
OCDEA Support: 01455 883 236
Accounts: 01455 883 254
Can I get any financial support for my business?
Government is responding to the crisis with wide ranging support for businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Financial Support available to members may include;
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Extended)
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension
- Coronavirus job retention scheme
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme