We talk to the RICS about adapting our building surveying work during COVIDKerry Baker
Now that we are open for business and our surveyors are back on the road working again, it feels like a good time to reflect on how the surveying community responded to the COVID-19 crisis.
In the UK, the lockdown meant that many businesses in the building consultancy industry, including ours, had to temporarily cut back on services or even shut down altogether. Surveyors had to adapt to new ways of working and to find ways to keep busy on furlough.
As Tim described to Modus, Allcott Associates’ solution to keeping our company Partners out of trouble was to offer free building advice. Timothy and our other Partner, Matthew Baker MRICS, answered questions from previous clients and the general public on a range of topics, from mystery roof brackets to damp problems to insulating a house of non-standard construction.
However, it was cracking that was the most frequently queried issue. We saw photos of cracks in render, in internal plaster in both walls and ceilings, and in stonework. Although many people were understandably concerned about the structural integrity of their properties and the possibility of subsidence, most examples we saw were minor and caused by ageing and weathering. This meant solutions were straightforward, such as filling and decorating with appropriate material. As with any cracks, however, it is important to monitor them and to call out a professional if they keep getting worse.
Thankfully, keeping busy is no longer a problem for our surveyors now that the government has lifted some of the restrictions in England. Our surveyors are now back out on site, surveying homes where nobody is shielding or isolating.
Our way of working has adapted to reduce the COVID risk as much as possible. We have additional PPE (gloves, face coverings, shoe covers and antimicrobial wipes) and we are wiping down any surfaces that we touch.
All of our survey reports include comprehensive photos of the property, so we are able to illustrate everything we have found, even though we cannot meet our clients on site. We are also continuing to offer one-to-one advice through phone and video calls, to ensure that all our clients have a thorough understanding of their property.