Scottish government

Scottish government clarifies advice

Following criticism from various trade associations, the Scottish government have confirmed that tradespeople in Scotland may only operate in other people’s homes if deemed as essential.

The BiKBBI confirmed the BEIS clarification of essential, with an emphasis on delivery, installation and repair of key household furniture and appliances, is as follows:

“Unless there was some sort of emergency and a bathroom / kitchen was necessary for the health and safety of residents I would expect it would not be covered here <referring to the exemptions below>.

More widely, Scottish Government colleagues have confirmed today, that following recent comments by the First Minister, they will continue to monitor transmission in the construction sector. They recognise that the industry has demonstrated strong compliance and a willingness to work with Government to tighten procedures and guidance wherever possible, to tackle the new variance and this is why the majority of construction work can still be carried out.”

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 – Schedule 18.2(k) provides the “reasonable excuse” for breaching regulations to stay home as follows:

Examples of reasonable excuse 18.

(1) For the purposes of regulation 17, examples of what constitutes a reasonable excuse (see regulation 5(4)) include leaving the place where the person is living, for the purposes set out in sub-paragraph (2).(2) The purposes are to—(k) – move home or undertake activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for, 

The majority of construction work in Scotland is permitted to continue at present, in both level 4 and during current ‘stay at home’ measures provided the following guidance is adhered to.    

• Work carried out in people’s homes should be limited to the provision of essential or permitted goods and services. Essential goods and services are those that fundamentally underpin, sustain and safeguard households. This includes (the list is not exhaustive): 

• Utility engineers and telecoms workers (eg electricity, gas, water, broadband) for the purpose of

• safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations.

• Urgent repairs and maintenance – time critical repairs and maintenance that threaten the households health and safety.

• Delivery, installation and repair of key household furniture and appliances such as washing machine, refrigerator, cooker etc.

• Services in support of a home move. When working in someone’s house, tradespeople should stay 2 metres apart from the people who live there, wear a face covering and follow good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Further guidance on working in people’s homes can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-general-guidance-for-safer-workplaces/pages/work-in-other-peoples-homes-faq/ 

Earlier this week the Scottish Government organised a 4 level COVID protection system to help tackle the spread of the virus.

The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation sought urgent clarification from the Scottish government as it believed that current advice was less than clear in relation to tradespeople working in other people’s homes.

Both the English & Welsh advice is clear, allowing tradespeople to continue their work in other people’s homes, however, the advice to Scottish tradespeople states:

“Tradespeople providing services in other people’s homes in level 4 areas
Tradespeople should only go into a house in a level 4 area to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example:

• to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers”

The ambiguity related to the term “essential work or services”, however, the advice included the authority to “deliver, install or repair key household furniture”.

BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters commented by saying: “Once again, this lack of clarity between our so-called United Kingdom is causing real confusion, which we urge the Scottish government to clarify as a matter of urgency”.

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