Building Survey and Construction Site Inspection protocol in response to COVID-19
As a result of the latest RICS correspondence, Paragon will now in specific instances and following all Government guidance, undertake building surveys and construction site inspections on behalf of clients whilst following strict conditions of inspection. Paragon will continue to monitor this protocol on an ongoing basis.
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This Protocol has been prepared to define the procedures to be adopted for all property and construction site inspections by all Paragon service lines during the COVID-19 outbreak and specifically the UK Government defined “lock-down” period. It will be updated in line with RICS and UK Government advice as the COVID-19 situation develops. This Protocol is intended for surveys and inspections of both unoccupied and occupied buildings and/or construction sites via bespoke Procedures to be adopted as required for the required scope of inspection.
RICS Guidance and Paragon Insurance
This Protocol has been prepared with full regard to professional guidance provided by the RICS, reference https://www.rics.org/uk/news-insight/latest-news/coronavirus-and-rics-events/guidance-for-professionals/. This Protocol has been prepared with full regard current to insurance maintained by Paragon for Public Liability and Employer Liability.
Paragon Director Authorisation
A Paragon Director authorisation is required for any survey or site visit pursuant to this Protocol having first referenced this Protocol and satisfied that all Conditions have been met and all Procedures will be adopted. Only the first site visit requires authorisation in the case of construction sites and repeat inspections.
Unforeseen Situations and Aborting Inspections
The Protocol is intended to be as comprehensive as possible and anticipate all survey and inspection scenarios. There will always be exceptions. The Surveyor/PM/CM should remain vigilant and observant prior to and during the inspection. If the Procedure you have planned to work to cannot be applied in practice on the day, due to something different from what you were expecting or something unforeseen, then you must inform your line manager immediately and abort the inspection.
Current UK Government advice does not require the use of specific COVID-19 PPE for non-clinical environments. There could be exceptional circumstances where specific PPE such as disposable face masks or gloves is required to comply with the SOP of a construction site or property. For constructions sites, this should be provided by the Principal Contractor (new and opened). Where this is required to comply with the SOP for the inspection of a property a limited supply of disposable gloves and surgical masks (Type IIR) will be available. In order to ensure Paragon are not buying PPE required by frontline health and social care workers, anyone requiring a face mask will be required to demonstrate this is essential with reference to this Protocol.
Before considering Procedures to be adopted, the following Conditions of inspection must apply and have been confirmed in writing to Paragon by the instructing client (or Main Contractor in the case of construction site visits):
For Building Surveys
- Where the building is occupied, The Landlord (or Tenant in the case of a single occupier) has adopted a SOP for the building which maintains social distancing as defined by Public Health England guidelines. The SOP must have been received and reviewed and these procedures then adopted for the survey. For multi-occupied buildings, the Landlord SOP must also provide the SOP’s of the individual Tenants.
- In the unlikely event that the Landlord or Tenant SOP does not extend to any of the steps in Paragon Procedure, the surveyor must follow the Paragon additional steps.
- Where the building is occupied but no SOP is available or the building is unoccupied, a survey risk assessment will need to be completed by the lead surveyor (and signed off by the Service Line Head)
For Construction Site Inspections
- The main contractor has adopted a SOP compliant with the Construction Leadership Council guidelines. Further information on the current version of this guidance can be found here https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/site-operating-procedures-during-covid-19/
- The CDM Principal Contractor has formally incorporated the SOP into the CDM Construction Phase Plan (CPP)
- The appointed CDM Principal Designer has confirmed that the CPP has been sufficiently updated and developed to enable construction operations to continue or recommence
- In exception circumstances where a construction site is closed and there is no SOP in place e.g. a main contractor in administration, a survey risk assessment will need to be completed.
- The Surveyor/PM/CM undertaking the inspection confirms to the instructing Director, they have not had Coronavirus symptoms for at least 7 days or it has been at least 14 days since they had contact with someone with Coronavirus symptoms. Further guidance see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
- Inspection can only be undertaken by one Surveyor/PM/CM
- Travel to inspection must be by the Surveyor’s/PM/CM own transport (car, motorcycle, pushbike) wherever possible
- If the above in not possible, travel to inspection may be undertaken by overland rail services provided that Social Distancing Rules can be maintained for the journey and a face covering is used. It will be at the Surveyor’s/PM/CM own discretion as to whether this can be maintained based on the level of passenger congestion using the service at the time of travel. If in doubt, the Surveyor/PM/CM should abort the travel, cancel the inspection and notify their team administrator. For the avoidance of doubt, travel by Underground Rail Services is not permitted by this Protocol.
- Prior to commencing the inspection and entering the building, use any PPE required by the building or site SOP. Where the SOP requires use of a face mask or disposable gloves, ensure these are new and unopened PPE if provided to you on site.
- When obtaining keys, signing in/being let in, remain ideally 3m from the security guard/keyholder
- Undertake the inspection, remaining a minimum of 2m and ideally 3m from all other persons on site/in the building.
- Upon completing the inspection, any disposable PPE used should be removed and the Surveyor/PM/CM should wash their hands (at the building if suitable washing facilities remain available) or with hand sanitising gel which the Surveyor/PM/CM must carry.
Paragon will continue to monitor and update the above protocol and procedures as and when further guidance is made available by both the RICS and the UK Government.