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Lockdown Scotland New law? Essential electrical work only in private dwellings....
Weirdbeard
214 Posts
Question
Scotland’s first minister announced today that:

“Fifth, we will strengthen the provisions in relation to work inside people’s houses.

We have already issued guidance to the effect that in level 4 areas work is only permitted within a private dwelling if it is essential for the upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household.  We will now put this guidance into law.”

source:

 https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-statement-13-january-2021/


Any ideas what constitutes essential electrical works to avoid breaking the law unintentionally? 

 
19 Replies
Chris Pearson
2045 Posts
Weirdbeard:
Any ideas what constitutes essential electrical works to avoid breaking the law unintentionally?

I noticed that on the Beeb where it suggested that painting and decorating would not normally be essential.

I would suggest that most remedial work would be "essential", especially the sort of thing which would attract an EICR code. Putting in anything new (e.g. new lamp fitting, EVCP, hot tub) would not be.

I am not sure about Scottish law on private tenancies, but a mandatory PIR would be essential in the same way that an MOT is essential.

The point about not being allowed to leave home except for essential purposes is an interesting one. The law has been clarified to avoid the "loophole" of leaving home for an essential purpose and then remaining out for any other purpose. To my mind, this illustrates the problem: instead of saying to themselves, "what is the most that we are allowed to do?" people ought to be thinking "what is the least that we need to do?"

Keep safe folks!

perspicacious
429 Posts
I read that as only work on the existing. So if the kitchen centre light fails, that is fixed but if the occupier wants it taken down when still functional and replaced by 20 recessed spot lights, that is not essential. Although the occupier might think they are a must have...........

Regards

BOD
lyledunn
465 Posts
I have completely backed out of teaching but I know that the centre where I tutor is still running courses. EV, 18th Edition and Construction all being offered. Unbelievable really. City and Guilds and others should pull the plug!
ebee
921 Posts
Some good answers have been given.

I`d say that only repairs etc needed to get an installation to work "safely" in order to allow people to live relatively "safely" with regards to lighting/heating etc etc. No additions or cosmetic alterations allowed. just maintain reasonable safety.
GTB
37 Posts
I would think that all landlords would still need to ensure the EICR is carried out if existing is about to expire, just as the gas safety checks are needed. A failed light fitting where its the only one in a room, to me would be essential or if its on a landing staircase so replacing lamp/s or fitting if totally failed. Correcting defects of a C2/C3 nature to me would also be required.

Installing extra luminaires/power outlets or changing a perfectly working fitting for an updated one to me isnt essential.

But like all these new regulations/legislation, if you introduce them, you also need a "Enforcer"!!! so how would any property owner/tenant get caught out? by having an accident and Police come along? Police start going into properties where they see a van parked outside?  A nosy neigbour alerts the authorities?

Maybe another thought is for all the tradesmen and contractors, would your professional and public liability insurer cover you for the work being carried out given COVID regulations in place at the time? Insurers like to wiggle out of any claim if they can........
mapj1
2851 Posts
I suspect it is unclear until there is a test case, so your best bet is to work in a way that ensures that test case is not you !

- distress works, like the lighting has failed or the water heater doesn't, should be no issue,  needs doing now really, but you should be working in a covid safe way, maintaining distance from customers and minimising contact time and clearing up before things you have contaminated before you go, and probably a bit on the way in as well - you may be the victim of the customers carelessness after all. (actually I hope that was the case already)
Avoid dragging the work out with extra activity.
Then you can say 'I was not reckless. I acted safely'  and your prosecution is not in public interest...

- cosmetic works - perhaps adding fancy lights when for now the existing are OK, is less justified, and probably only sensible on an empty property and or where it is a new installation - is ordinary building stopping ? 

I agree no-one will shop you unless your actions are egregious , and what of the customer breaks the existing light so you have to fit the new one
There will be others who do not want you to attend after all - my parents were happier to live without a kitchen light for some months in the 1st lock down here, but both are in the higher risk category.

... I suspect a short case by case discussion will be needed before you agree to start work.

Even that is an insurance of sorts "we discussed it and agreed it could not wait, and how it would be done in a low risk way" is likely to get far more sympathy from the powers that be than just going in without a care.

Mike.


 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
lyledunn:
I have completely backed out of teaching but I know that the centre where I tutor is still running courses. EV, 18th Edition and Construction all being offered. Unbelievable really. City and Guilds and others should pull the plug!


I have had emails offering classroom and workshop based training courses, with the argument being presented that they are effectively work that you cannot do from home.

Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
I have just told a couple of landlords I won’t be doing PAT in HMOs at the moment, I cannot really think of a much more potentially risky workplace at the moment!
GTB
37 Posts
Im also involved with providing training and practical assessments for some of my clients who have all taken diffrent aproaches. In the first lockdown last March they all shutdown, no training and no practical or written/oline assessments. When things eased a little during the summer months the pure commercial training centres reopened but with reduced delegate numbers both in the training rooms and assessmnet workshops to get the social distancing and protocalls over hygene and cleaning of tools/materials were all risk assessed and controls put into place. Those clients that were a further or higher education establishement did the same but didnt open until September as they took the lead from education authorities over opening.
In this current time, the establishements that are further or higher education  clients have again shut down but pure commercial centres are still operating. Now in the area of assessments which I do for those working in flammable atmospheres the awarding body last year put into place a special extension letter for those persons where they were due a refresher course and assessment if their current certificate was about to expire and they and/or employer needed to still demonstrate competence. I believe that was the correct step to take given reduction in service provision and whenw e hopefully comeout of this virus nightmare there will be a backlog of those needing a refresher.
For those candidates requiring the course and assessments for the first time, sure you could perhaps do the training online, but the two days practical in the approved assessment workshop just cant be done anywhere else, so my own opinion was those courses perhaps didnt need to happen. The issue is "education"  was seen as being essential, but I took that as being schools, colleges and university not so much vocational training centres/providers. 
Its not clear cut and will always be open to interpretation and abuse, also commercially operating centres will not want to close and loose revenue. Again as I mentioned in an earlier thread, duty holders responsibility to ensure a safe place of work.
AJJewsbury
2163 Posts
It's difficult to generalize. Circumstances can change over time even during a pandemic - so that sometimes "new" or "improved" can indeed be "essential".

Say you had two employees that worked in a given specialization - one old hand about to retire and a young lad/lass that's been shadowing him for a year or two now and just needs to finish their formal training and complete the exams before they can work on their own.  Would you tell the old fella to postpone his retirement, tell all your customers you can no longer provide whatever service it was (perhaps essential to some), or would you think that completing the youngster's training was "essential"?

Likewise a new socket/circuit might sound like a luxury, but if it were to supply say a new stair lift, or medical equipment, that would mean someone could be discharged from hospital - or even just work from home - then again it might not be so simple.

We can only life off our fat for so long - soon or later we're going to have to doing all the mundane things that keep life ticking over - even if the consequences of that aren't palatable.

   - Andy.
Weirdbeard
214 Posts
Thanks for the replies.

It seems the general consensus is the only allowed works so far is conducting an EICR, replacing bulbs where it is the only light source in a room, remediating any code given in an EICR, and extra sockets that supply medical equipment or stairlifts, 

Does any one know if an “official” definition is available anywhere?

 
GTB
37 Posts
I think it is extremely unlikley there is a prescriptive list of what is allowed and what isnt, trouble with lists are, there will always be an item scenario that wasnt thought of, or an item in one dwelling house would be seen as diffrent in another. So a small house with the single and only light on the staircase not working, I could see that as being safety essential for repair/replacement. A larger house with four lights on the staircase but only one not working wouldnt be classed as essential as sufficient light would still be present, but if there was a strong smell of electrical burning then that would be essential.

Its down to the homeowner and ultimately the contractor to decide if the work being engaged or likley to be engaged sits within the sentiment of the covid restrictions and everybody meant to be looking after not only their own health as well as that of others they may come in contact with. 
Chris Pearson
2045 Posts
Taking a step sideways, I thought that this article was interesting. The richest plumber in the land wants his staff to be vaccinated. Article If he manages to buy it, he must have some good contacts.

Frankly, if I were going into several peoples' homes every day, I'd want to be vaccinated. However, the rules would not (yet) grant me any form of exemption.
Weirdbeard
214 Posts
Chris Pearson:
Taking a step sideways, I thought that this article was interesting. The richest plumber in the land wants his staff to be vaccinated. Article If he manages to buy it, he must have some good contacts.

Frankly, if I were going into several peoples' homes every day, I'd want to be vaccinated. However, the rules would not (yet) grant me any form of exemption.

Hi Chris, stepping back on topic, the rules you mention, please provide a link ? Thanks.

GTB
37 Posts
Weirdbeard,
This is what the Scot Gov website published yesterday:
Going to work / working from home – what the Law says
Tradespeople, home repairs, and working in someone else’s home

Tradespeople (which includes those carried out by the voluntary or charitable sector) must only go into someone else’s home to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example:

  • to carry out utility (including electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations
  • to carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety
  • to deliver goods or shopping, where essential
  • to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers
  • to support a home move, for example furniture removal
  • domestic cleaner providing services in support of a clean and safe living environment for people in vulnerable circumstance, living with a disability or otherwise unable to clean their own home

Safety when working in someone else’s home

When carrying out essential work 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.

This is just one part of a larger document https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/

Chris Pearson
2045 Posts
Weirdbeard:
Hi Chris, stepping back on topic, the rules you mention, please provide a link ? Thanks.

My point was that no distinction is made between those who have been vaccinated and those who have not. I doubt that there are many 80+ electricians!

I rather doubt that restrictions will be relaxed for people (customers or tradesmen) who have been vaccinated before the rest of us, but you never know what will come next. So for now there are no exemptions.

ebee
921 Posts
"to carry out utility (including electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations"

Could be taken as "Oh I want to install an extra light to look pretty" if someone is daft enough to translate it such.
Also fridges etc - What`s to prevent someone with one adequate fridge wanting an additional one without good reason?.

People will try to apply rules and regulations to fit in to justify their own selfish wants rather than apply them in the spirit unto which they have been devised for. We see it a lot with Covid but it also happens in all of live`s tapestries too.
No wonder our Lawmakers and rulemakers spend loadsa time on money making laws & rules in order to stop folk circumventing the intentions of Parliaments and Commitees . Unfortunately , speed of delivery of Covid rules is paramount and we do not get the luxury of time to mull with this.

Too many people will not play fair and spend considerable effort "cheating" the system.

I think all any tradesman can do is to apply reasonable judgement and say to oneself  "I looked as objectively as possible and agreed my actions were reasonable and proportionate"
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
My plan to avoid high risk locations failed last night, I ended up collecting my Dad from A&E after he was taken in by ambulance after a fall.

Plan B of standing outside the door is the fresh air came into action rather than sitting in the waiting area. Changes of behaviour seems to be the order of the day and presumably will stick with us for some years to come.
Weirdbeard
214 Posts
GTB, thanks for the info, and thanks all for the replies.

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