Work in other people's homes
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.
Protection levels 0 to 4
In areas in levels 0 to 3, work within someone else’s home can be carried out. However, work should be done in a way that limits the risk of transmission of the virus. This includes physical distancing, wearing of face coverings and any other appropriate controls as set out below.
For areas in Level 4, work or the purpose of the upkeep, maintenance or functioning of someone else’s home should only be carried out where it is essential.
Work categories classed as an essential service in Level 4
The level 4 measures in Scotland are designed to be in place for a short period of time and are required to suppress the virus when it is prevalent at higher rates.
Work in other people’s homes in level 4 areas 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 in Level 4 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 level 4 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
The regulations for areas in other levels do not include a requirement that work in someone else’s home must be essential. This means other kinds of work can go ahead.
All work should be done in line with all relevant guidance and regulations. This will include steps to protect both workers and those who live in the house.
Protecting yourself and others when working in someone else’s home
In the current pandemic it is vital that everyone act responsibly and align fully with published guidance. At a minimum this must include:
Incurrent pandemic , 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. They are relevant across all levels and types of work. They apply no matter the vaccination status of the worker or individuals who live in the house.
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 they or 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.
Related safe working guidance
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
- Shielding Advice
- Your guide to childcare | Parent Club
You should also consult the following Guidance: