30 March 2020

Maintenance and repairs can continue, as long as no one in the household is displaying COVID-19 symptoms or a ‘high-risk’ individual.

We have temporarily postponed all planned maintenance, such as annual services.

Engineers will now call before visits to carry out a risk assessment regarding COVID-19.

Only emergency repairs where there is a direct risk to the safety of the household can continue in households where an individual is displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

It is essential to stay two metres away from any tradesperson entering your home.

Ensure that any engineer entering your home wears full PPE, including a mask.

From school shutdowns, to government bailouts, it’s not an exaggeration to refer to the last few days as ‘the week that changed Britain’. Everyone has been caught off-guard by the pace and scope of the coronavirus problem, which has now required state intervention on a scale never previously considered possible. For the first time in many decades, normal life has been halted across the UK and individuals and businesses alike are trying to pick up the pieces. Despite the disturbance, some things continue to work, or not work as usual, including boilers. In fact, the likelihood is that as more of us are at home, boilers will be under an unusual amount of pressure to provide more heating and hot water than normal. During this difficult period many homeowners will be unsure whether they’re still able to get an engineer out to fix a boiler should it stop working. At Alpha Heating Innovation, we want to help address the confusion and ensure that you understand what you can do should an unfortunate incident occur.
Following the most recent piece of government advice, work carried out in people’s homes is still currently allowed, including repairs and maintenance. Therefore, should a boiler breakdown occur, it’s as important as ever to contact an engineer as soon as possible. However, as of last week, there are new rules in place that people must be aware of, which look to help prevent the further spread of the virus. To comply with the restrictions we have temporarily postponed all planned maintenance, such as annual services. Similarly, we have issued all our engineers with additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and guidelines on how to stay safe when attending a repair.
Furthermore, prior to a visit, our engineers will call you to carry out an over the phone risk assessment. The engineer will ask whether you, or anyone in your household is currently displaying coronavirus symptoms, or if anyone in the home has been classified as ‘high-risk’ with regard to the virus. If you require an engineer to visit your property, it is essential to ensure they are fully informed so they can assess whether they deem it safe to do so.
It is still possible to book a boiler repair or maintenance job, even if you, or someone in your household fits the above description. However, current guidelines stipulate that this can only include work that remedies “a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs”. Therefore, even if you’re feeling unwell it is still possible to get an engineer to visit your home, but only for repairs that can’t wait. If you’re instead requesting a routine maintenance job, it’s highly likely you’ll be asked to reschedule until a later date when you, or members of your household are out of self-isolation. If you speak to an engineer who is unsure about the current protocol, point them in the direction of Public Health England. The executive agency can provide advice and assistance on how tradespeople can navigate the coronavirus outbreak, as well as giving tips on how tradespeople can best protect themselves.
Regardless of whether you’re displaying symptoms or not, there are some simple steps that you can take should an engineer be required to fix a boiler problem in your home. The guidelines are as follows:

Ensure the tradesperson is wearing full personal protective equipment before entering the property. If possible, you should also look to wear a mask for the duration of their visit.
Ensure hand-washing facilities are easily available, including access to soap or the use of alcohol hand sanitising gel.
Keep at a minimum of 2 meters apart from the tradesperson at all times.
Do not shake hands with the tradesperson.
Once the tradesperson has left, look to wipe down all surfaces they may have touched using a disinfectant solution.

In spite of everything going on outside your home, the elements inside it, including boilers will continue to function as normal. As such, repairs and maintenance are still required and remain essential to preserving a hospitable home. Of course, in the current climate, getting tradespeople to make home visits is more challenging, but certainly not impossible. Even if you are sick, it is still possible to receive assistance, but only in an emergency. By following the steps identified in this blog, you can ensure you’re doing everything in your power to protect yourself, and the tradesperson from the risk of infection.
For more information on how Alpha specifically is responding to the coronavirus outbreak, please click here.