Attendees and apologies
Tim Sharpe, Chair University of Strathclyde
Dougie Collin, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Stephen Crawford, Scottish Heads of Property Services
Neil Granger, Scottish Property Federation
Chris Iddon, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
Stephen Long, Scottish Futures Trust
Patrick Mackie, Environmental Health and Trading Standards Covid19 Group
Carol McRae, Public Health Scotland
Tracy McTaggart, Health and Safety Executive
Cath Noakes, University of Leeds
Fiona Richardson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
Graham Robertson, Health and Safety Coordinating Group
Euan Ryan, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Karen Stevenson, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
- Michael Swainson, BRE Group
Scottish Government attendees
Morag Angus, Chief Surveyor
Stephen Garvin, Deputy Director Building Standards
David McPhee, Deputy Director Covid Business Resilience and Support (CoBRaS)
Bruce Marshall, Scottish Enterprise
Marion McCormack, Deputy Director Covid Ready Society
Items and actions
Welcome and apologies
The Chair welcomed all attendees to the second meeting of the Scottish Government’s Covid Ventilation Short Life Working Group. Apologies were noted as above.
Minutes of the previous meeting and review of actions
- draft minutes of the meeting of 3 September 2021 had been previously circulated, the group confirmed the minutes as accurate
The current status of the actions is as follows:
- terms of reference - a finalised version will be circulated in due course
- members to return completed conflict of interest forms - thanks was given to those that have provided them, those who had not yet sent them in were requested to do so as soon as possible, even if it is just to record no conflicts
- setting up a teams site for the group - in progress
- further comments on the proposals - completed
- circulation of summary of the proposal discussions – completed
- poll to establish date and time of next meeting - completed
- members who have not already done so, to return completed CoI forms to the Group Secretariat email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking forward approved recommendations
Scottish Government officials detailed the plan for a First Minister’s announcement next Tuesday, and the short timescales required to ensure the plans are in place to support this.
- approved recommendations for further discussion had been previously circulated, the group went on to discuss the approved recommendations in detail
Funding for adaptations to enhance ventilation
There was discussion about where best to target the funds, with a paper of targeted questions circulated during the meeting. Whilst larger buildings with higher occupancy areas might have the most impact on reducing potential larger transmission numbers, these larger spaces are more likely to have established facilities management and should already have their ventilation in-hand. There could be a hierarchy of uses for the funding, provision of advice including a helpline, support for an assessment/survey for those who don’t know what their ventilation is like or what options they have to introduce fresh air, support for CO2 monitors for settings which would like to assess whether their current ventilation actions are sufficiently effective or not. An assessing or monitoring aspect is important to include to help ensure that premises are not ventilating more than they need to (which could incur an unnecessary increase in heating costs).
It was noted that for some properties there could be a conflict between tenants wanting to take forward actions, and landlords not being in agreement. If it was regulatory practice, then the landlord would be required to ensure that ventilation actions happened. Priority should be given to the very badly ventilated spaces. In terms of high risk settings, it was raised that pharmacies should be considered.
As we do not routinely collect data on performance of buildings, if the fund included a requirement to provide the information that they collected as part of the assessing or monitoring it enabled them to undertake, this could provide a really useful evidence base. We do not have access to data on the square meterage of offices or buildings readily available. The potential for a survey to businesses to find out what actions they have taken and what support they would like was discussed.
With regards to CO2 monitors, they could be one part of the funding rollout. Feedback on the experiences from their use in Scotland’s schools noted that it has led to simple measures being taken, and huge reassurance. Thermal issues can be an ongoing challenge, but monitors can also give you temperature and humidity readings to balance that. Clarity would be required on what businesses/organisations should do if the monitors record a reading that is recognised as too high.
A separate conversation is being held with FE/HE representatives. If looking at offices as another group, then we should be considering targeting smaller ones. If that is the focus, then we should be clear about that and also ensure that guidance messaging to larger offices about what they should already be doing is provided. It was noted, however, that it would be useful to collect data on larger offices spaces as part of an evidence base.
Further advice or guidance being developed should look to ensure that it helps to give simple answers. The inclusion of peer-to-peer business support, and the provision of case studies or examples were suggested. Business organisations could be used to poll members for best practice.
Summary of actions
- group members to send further comments on the targeted funding questions to Scottish Government officials by Thursday lunchtime
- secretariat will circulate a summary of the proposal discussions
- we will look to identify which members of the group may be best-placed to advise separately on the work developed under each of the three recommendations
SLWG future work programme
Due to shortness of time, this item was not discussed in much detail. The Chair proposed that the next meeting should focus on policy and regulation.
Date of next meeting
The next meeting is due to take place in mid-October.
- secretariat to send out a poll to establish a date and time
Any other business
Some insights from the PROTECT study being undertaken elsewhere in the UK were discussed.
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