Work in other peoples homes FAQ
This guidance is for tradespeople providing goods and services in or to other peoples’ homes. This includes all in-home workers – such as utility engineers, domestic cleaners, furniture delivery and furniture installations, in accordance with relevant sectoral and industry guidance.
Q. Is the good /service I provide considered essential under the current restrictions?
The current measures in Scotland are designed to be in place for a short period of time and are required to suppress the virus.
Work in other people’s homes must only be carried out in line with the regulations. These limit the work or provision of services for the purpose of the upkeep, maintenance or functioning of the home to only situations where that work is essential.
The regulations use the word ‘essential’ with respect to the given purpose (upkeep, maintenance or functioning), not to the attendance of the individual. The regulations do not allow for someone to attend where their presence is essential to the carrying out of work, where that work is not itself essential.
The kind of work we expect may continue includes:
- utility engineers and telecoms workers (e.g. electricity, gas, solid fuel, water, broadband) for the purpose of safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations (where those cannot be delayed or there is a risk to continuity of supply)
- urgent repairs and maintenance - time critical repairs and maintenance that threaten the household’s health and safety
- pest control
- delivery, installation and repair of key household furniture and appliances such as washing machine, refrigerator, cooker etc.
- provision of health, medical and veterinary care to household occupants including animals e.g. to prevent a health or welfare issue arising or address a current health or welfare issue
- services in support of a home move
- domestic cleaner providing services in support of a clean and safe living environment for people in vulnerable circumstance, living with a disability and as a result of that vulnerable circumstance or disability are unable to clean their own home
For guidance on childcare, please check Your guide to childcare | Parent Club
Where work to be carried out on someone else’s home is not essential, it would be against the law for it to go ahead while the house is occupied under the current restrictions. Examples of this could include:
- cosmetic painting/ decorating/ interior design
- interior remodelling
- measuring, fitting or replacement of kitchens/ bathrooms/carpets or windows where the existing condition is adequate and does not risk the health or safety of the household
- installation of smart meters, where the current meters continue to function safely and has not reached the end of its life.
- meter readings
Q. What steps should I take to protect myself and others when working in someone else’s home?
In this public health crisis, it is vital that everyone act responsibly and align fully with published guidance. At a minimum this must include:
- 2 metres physical distancing
- good ventilation
- the wearing of face coverings
- effective hygiene practices
- appropriate risk assessment
- contact tracing and appropriate self-isolation
These are the most effective means of preventing transmission of the virus and saving lives.
People delivering goods to, or services in or outside a customer’s house, can travel between COVID-19 Protection Levels for the purpose of work where that work is essential and allowed under the regulations.
Across all Levels and during Lockdown tradespeople and businesses should contact the customer or client in advance to:
- ensure the customer or client agrees to have their contact details recorded for the purpose of contact tracing
- check the household is not self-isolating
People should not enter the home if any of its occupants are self-isolating, except where such work is essential for emergency health and safety reasons. In such circumstances tradespeople and businesses should review any risk assessment processes they have in place and be especially vigilant in implementing existing mitigation measures throughout the duration of the work, such as
- physical distancing
- hand hygiene
- avoiding unnecessary contact with household surfaces
- cleaning of touch points/ contacted surfaces
- use of face coverings
These mitigations are essential to break the chain of transmission.
Q. What guidance is available to support safe working in someone else’s home?
There is a range of guidance available to support people undertaking work in someone’s home this includes:
- Construction industry guidance including industry guidance for those working in domestic properties.
- house moves
- retail, including mobile close contact services
- Guidance for micro and small businesses
- face coverings including exemption cards
- travel and transport and who needs to self-isolate
- childcare provision
- Your guide to childcare | Parent Club
You should also consult the following Guidance:
- Health Protection Scotland
- Health & Safety Executive – Working Safely guidance.
- Test and Protect: guidance for self-isolating including advice for employers
- Test and Protect: Collection of Customer & Visitor Data
- NHS Inform
Q. Can I have clients/ customers in my home?
If your job involves meeting with customers or clients in your home, remote working tools should be used where possible, then the same restrictions apply as if they were working in your home. Face to face meetings should only happen when the work is essential and cannot be done remotely. Any customer or client will also be subject to the stay at home requirements, so unless it is for an essential purpose they may be breaking the law by travelling to your home.