Dear Engineer,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we have issued the latest guidance to provide further clarification on questions received by Gas Safe registered businesses. For all of the latest advice please visit our website.

Can gas engineers still work?
Given the restrictions that have been put in place in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is essential that any registered businesses undertaking work still follow the guidelines in terms of:
  • Keeping a minimum of 2m apart from other people (who are not from your household)
  • Washing hands frequently
  • Wiping down all surfaces
Full guidance on precautions to take to avoid transferring or contracting the virus can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
And: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings
This is based on current guidance from the UK Government, at 24th March 2020, and is subject to change as the pandemic situation progresses.
We also note that registered businesses should conduct their own assessment of the risks before entering any property, as with any other risk.

Can I still carry out a landlord gas safety check?
Landlords still have a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check. The latest restrictions on leaving the home currently allow registered gas engineers to undertake essential work, whilst taking the appropriate precautions advised to avoid spreading or contracting the virus in a new setting.

In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g. persistent refusal of access due to vulnerable tenants self-isolating, the landlord will be expected to be able to demonstrate that they took reasonable steps to comply with the law, and that they are seeking to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are able. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant, and details of any attempts where the engineer tried to gain access.

What happens if my ACS is due to expire?
Whilst engineers are expected to take all reasonable measures to maintain their ACS qualifications, including planning ahead where possible, we appreciate that the current situation means this is not feasible. Maintaining gas safety competence is essential for registered gas engineers.

If engineers take all reasonable steps to update their expired ACS certification as soon as possible after the restrictions are lifted, and continue to work safely, HSE will permit registered gas engineers to remain on the Register for an additional period during the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) measures. Engineers may be required to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to renew their qualifications. Engineers MUST maintain their Gas Safe registration during any extension of their ACS qualification period if they are carrying out gas work. This is a temporary measure and does not remove the standing requirement for registered gas engineers to maintain their ACS certification and renew certification every 5 years.

Gas Safe Register Inspections
We understand that there is some confusion amongst registered engineers following our recent update. We apologise for this and want to clarify the latest situation:

During this initial period of restriction, Gas Safe Register anticipates we will only conduct inspections undertaken by GSR Inspectors into high risk scenarios, and that these will be determined on a case-by-case basis with the HSE. All other inspections will be held and prioritised to be scheduled once the restrictions are lifted.  
We have suspended all of our routine Inspection Events for the time being, and are looking at suitable alternatives to attending an event in person. This work will continue, and we will communicate details of these as soon as they have been decided.

Gas Safe Register's service
We are currently operating a limited service as we have closed our main office as of today until further notice, to support efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. We appreciate your patience and would like to remind you that we will not tolerate any abuse of our staff at any time; and ask that you treat everyone with respect as we work through this emerging situation.    
All of our services are available online, at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk, or you can email us with your query to register@gassaferegister.co.uk and we will aim to respond to you as quickly as possible.
You will continue to find all our latest information and advice in response to the pandemic on our website as they emerge, and you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Yours faithfully,

24TH MARCH 2020

Notification from ARLA just now
Propertymark has spoken to a senior civil servant at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) this morning.
The civil servant stated that agents are not “essential businesses” under the new rules and therefore their view is that agents should close their offices immediately.

Furthermore, they stated that there should not be any in-person viewings, routine inspections or house moves.

MHCLG is still looking into property maintenance tasks such as gas safety checks and hopes to issue guidance on these points as soon as possible.

In a further development, British Association of Removers (BAR) has issued communications this morning instructing members that moves should only be completed if they are already underway, any move that has not yet started, should not go ahead.

Propertymark will keep members up to date later today and as any further information becomes available.
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