Trusted Trader Coronavirus Support and FAQsUpdated: Thursday 11 June 2020
**THIS INFORMATION HAS NOW BEEN SUPERSEDED**
Please refer to the new guidance which can be found here:
Trusted Trader COVID-19 Support and Guidance
The Scottish Government have announced a routemap out of lockdown.
As of Friday 29 May, we have moved from lockdown to Phase 1 of a 4 Phase approach to coming out of lockdown. This means some restrictions are being lifted for some traders, primarily outdoor trades or those that can social distance from customers.
As of Thursday 11 June, the same restrictions are still in force with the exception that the construction industry will allow workers to return to construction sites gradually, while using measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene to ensure that they can do so safely. Domestic home improvement restrictions are still in force, with urgent work and essential maintenance only.
The next review of lockdown restrictions will be made by the Scottish Government on Thursday 18 June.
The route map relating to businesses can be seen below.
- Phase 1 states non-essential outdoor workplaces can resume with physical distancing.
- Examples of outdoor workspaces could be gardening, landscaping, tree surgery services, window cleaners, external painting, harling, driveway contractors, and roofers. The guidance is down to interpretation rather than being an exhaustive list of trades or scenarios.
- Tradespeople including Trusted Traders should only be called out and enter people's homes for urgent and essential work, such as heating problems, leaking pipes, leaking roofs, electrical faults or other serious issues.
As per the Scottish Government guidelines:
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Health Protection Scotland guidance can provide advice to tradespeople and households. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
For more information, see FAQs below.
Coronavirus Scottish official information
- NHS Inform - For the latest NHS advice about Coronavirus in Scotland.
- www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/ - Latest official guidance from the Scottish Government.
- coronavirusadvice.scot - Advice.scot has put together a Coronavirus Knowledge Centre, with advice around employment, financial, housing support and a list of useful contacts.
- findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice - Scottish Government dedicated business support page.
- www.gov.scot/news/route-map-for-moving-out-of-lockdown/ - The official plan to move out of lockdown.
Trusted Trader help and guidanceThe following information is to try and answer some of the most common questions for residents and traders. For clarity, Trading Standards Trusted Trader follows the advice and guidance from the Scottish Government.
This advice is given on a best efforts basis and will be amended as we receive further updates.
Frequently Asked Questions1. Can I still use a Trusted Trader?
2. What is classed as urgent or essential work?
3. Can a tradesperson visit my property?
4. I am in the “at risk” category but need a Trusted Trader
5. Work has stopped or slowed right down on my big job – help!
6. Communicating with a Trusted Trader
7. I have a complaint about a Trusted Trader, will it still be investigated?
8. I have a complaint about a rogue trader
9. Can I search for Trusted Traders who do emergency call outs?
10. Landlords gas certificate renewal / Certification for HMO properties
11. Social distancing for traders on a job / vehicles
Traders should only to be called out and enter people's homes for urgent and essential work, such as heating problems, leaking pipes, leaking roofs, electrical faults, maintenance or other serious issues. Currently this doesn't include home improvements.
As per the Scottish Government guidelines
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and is not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither they nor any of their household are self-isolating. Again, it will be important to ensure that a 2 metre distance from any household occupants is maintained for everyone’s safety.
Trading Standards have asked that this guidance be taken seriously by all Trusted Traders and businesses.
We would expect any Trusted Trader to exercise extreme caution and minimise any risk. If they or any member of their household display any symptoms, they are to self-isolate and remain indoors.
A collective of trade and professional bodies has come together who advise the Scottish Government, called the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum. They have created a handy visual representation of what is classed as essential work, making the point that not all essential work is obvious.
There are too many scenarios to list definitive answers, so common sense needs to be applied. What is the impact if the issue or job isn't resolved or completed? Is it worth putting tradespeople and your own lives at unnecessary risk?
A trader will be able to advise you if an issue is urgent or not and if they can assist. If you have any problems or concerns, contact the Trusted Trader support team on 0333 444 7015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone, both traders and customers must heed NHS Inform advice. If any party has symptoms of the Coronavirus, i.e. a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater), then they are to self-isolate.
For visiting traders, remember social distancing. No handshakes and keep well apart from the customer. Keep any physical contact to a minimum, sticking to the area where work is being carried out. Bag and contain any rubbish and take it with you. Wipe down any areas you have been working on.
For customers, be considerate and provide cleaning material if at all possible, to assist the trader in minimising any risk to your home.
In these current times, everyone is worried and has concerns. Please exercise patience and consideration. If you have a visit scheduled, it may have to be cancelled at short notice if a trader feels they are at risk or have symptoms. But traders please ensure clear communications at all times with customers.
e.g. You could agree with the trader that when they arrive, you will unlock the door, then retreat into a bedroom and shut the door. The trader is to minimise contact with any surface and to ensure they clean up, removing rubbish and wiping down surfaces with antibacterial cleaning product if available.
It can be traumatic having a stranger in your home, even more so if you can’t see what they are doing, which is another reason why you should use a Trading Standards Trusted Trader. They have checked and vetted by Trading Standards and can be trusted. If you have any concerns, then contact Trusted Trader on 0333 444 7015 as we monitor all traders and investigate any complaints.
Speak to your Trusted Trader and discuss what options there are. Accept any contracted completion times may not be achievable through no fault of the trader or customer, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.
All of us are being advised to stay at home. A lot of people are also very worried, including traders, who may have close family members who are deemed at risk.
Current advice states that commercial building sites need to be closed, unless essential such as hospitals.
The key thing is communication and minimising any risk and transmission of the virus. If projects have slowed down, stalled or postponed, then traders need to ensure customers are made aware of the reason why and discuss any potential impact, offering work around temporary solutions if need be.
Patience and understanding are the order of the day. If you are having communication problems with a Trusted Trader, then please let us know and we can try and help. Email email@example.com or telephone the Trusted Trader Admin Team on 0333 444 7015.
- Take a photo or video using your smart phone.
If there is a leak and you have managed to get into the loft and can see the source, it might be that taking a few pictures or a short video and emailing it, would be enough for a few roofers to give you a good estimate, rather than having to visit your property.
- Use a video call company such as Zoom.
Zoom is currently taking the world by storm, enabling an army of home workers to stay in touch. It allows you to set up a video meeting from your phone or computer, is free to use for meetings under 40 minutes, and is pretty straight forward to master.
Depending if the trader is willing to do this and the type of job, you could actually show the trader the problem, live via video. They could then ask you questions, and if need be, ask you to show them more detail, or maybe see something from a different angle. This could then allow an estimate without the trader visiting your property.
For bigger ongoing jobs, if there are snagging issues or points you want to raise, this can be a good form of communication and limit actual face to face contact, whilst maintaining control.
- Telephone. If it’s a small but urgent job, then it may be that you can describe it in detail over the phone, allowing a trader to paint a picture of the problem, offer advice and potentially give you an estimate of any cost.
We will endeavour to meet normal SLA’s and all issues and complaints will be fully investigated. But please consider that we are in very difficult and unusual times. More patience than normal will be needed by all parties. Traders will be operating on a best effort's basis, dealing with staffing problems, cashflow concerns and lots of other problems. Any serious issues will be investigated, but we do ask all parties to be as flexible and considerate with each other as possible. Communication as always is key, which doesn't have to be done as face to face. (See Communicating with a Trusted Trader)
For serious issues, Trading Standards resource is obviously stretched very thin, so any escalations may take a little longer than normal. But the complaints process is still fully in force, and we will do our best to assist or resolve any issues as soon as possible during this difficult time.
Consumer Advice Scotland on 0808 164 6000 as normal.
approvedtrader.scot which brings together all the Scottish local authority schemes, including Buy With Confidence and the Perth and Kinross Better Business Partnership.
strict regulation around the private rented sector. But with the current crisis, any certification or safety checks can continue if qualified traders are happy to carry out this work. With buildings occupied more than normal, there is a need to ensure safety.
Traders must carry out an adequate risk assessment,, ensuring staff are not displaying any symptoms and arrange a visit so that social distancing is observed where possible and any risk of infection is mitigated as much as possible.
Gas Safe now have a dedicated Coronavirus page for all gas related questions, gas registration and for latest advice.
It is impossible for the Government to legislate for every situation, so it is very much down to the traders to adapt to best efforts and common sense. If personal protection equipment such as gloves and masks are available, then use them. If it is possible for traders to arrive in different vehicles, then do this. There will be times when two or more traders are needed to lift equipment or objects. Minimise contact and risk as much as possible.
But remember you must observe strict social distancing from anyone in the property you are working in. If there are children playing in the house, don't be afraid to ask parents to keep them away from you for their own and your safety.
Employers, remember you have a duty of care to your workforce and customers. Please ensure any traders being asked to perform emergency or essential work in people's houses are comfortable doing this, fully understand the concept of social distancing in relation to customers, and are showing no symptoms.
This advice is obviously evolving as new measures are introduced, or more questions are asked. Please bookmark this page and we will continually update it as more information becomes available. If you need to contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the Trusted Trader Admin Team on 0333 444 7015.