Cosy Homes Oxfordshire: update on COVID-19 and visiting homes

An update on COVID-19 and visiting homes

With the growing threat of COVID-19 and in line with UK Government advice on limiting non-essential contact, we temporarily stopped our on-site Whole House Plan home assessments in March this year – but we are now able to offer these as normal. During that time, we worked hard to adapt to the situation and find ways to continue to make home retrofit as simple as possible. In this post, we’ll be covering a couple of updates on this from the Cosy Homes team.

Remote home assessments

We’ve introduced a Remote Assessment and Pre-visit Whole House Plan (£75) to our Cosy Homes service, meaning that we can continue to welcome new clients even if you aren’t comfortable with having us visit your home for the time being.

The Remote Assessment and Pre-visit Whole House Plan is also a great place to start if you’re interested in home energy efficiency and retrofit, but aren’t sure that you’re ready to go ahead. It gives a good picture of the existing energy usage of your home, and bespoke advice on where changes could be made to improve energy efficiency.

When you register your home, you’ll be asked whether you’d prefer a remote or onsite assessment. If you choose remote, we’ll use existing data sources such as EPC data, Google Maps, or floorplans to find out as much as we can about your home. One of our Retrofit Coordinators will then conduct a 1 hour phone assessment with you, asking you a series of simple questions about your home to fill in any gaps.

With this information they’ll produce a reduced version of our Whole House Plan, detailing the recommended measures to improve energy efficiency.

If you choose to go ahead with any or all of the measures, we’d reequire you still have a full onsite assessment to ensure nothing has been missed. The remote assessment costs £75, and if you go ahead with the onsite assessment you’ll pay the balance of £100 for the full Whole House Plan (£175). Please note that due to restrictions on the RetrofitWorks payment website, you will be given a voucher code for checkout which brings the full Whole House Plan cost down from £175 to £100.

Safely visiting homes

Our priority is ensuring that at all times we protect the health and safety of all customers, staff and contractors who work with us – before we begin to offer onsite home assessments or other visits.

The RetrofitWorks team have reviewed all the advice and information made available by all reliable sources including HM Government, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Public Health England, Health Safety Executive and Ofgem. They have then distilled this guidance into comprehensive safe working practices and procedures for their team of Retrofit Coordinators and building contractors – as well as for home owners and occupiers.

Before agreeing to an onsite visit and coming to your home, each visit will be individually assessed based on the following four principles:

  1. What is the size and layout of your home – i.e. how feasible is it for us to work safely in your home?
  2. What is the purpose of our visit – e.g. is it an initial survey or are we installing loft insulation or a heat pump?
  3. Who needs to visit your home – i.e. is it a single surveyor or a team of contactors?
  4. Who lives in your home – i.e. is the property empty, is someone living in the home fall within a high-risk group?

If we determine that a visit is necessary, and cannot be done virtually, we will contact you to book a time. Ahead of coming to your home, we will share the relevant plan for how we will work in your home with you and make sure you understand and are happy to agree with it.  This will include guidance for you if you are choosing to remain in your home while work is being done, such as ‘safe’ places for you to be within the home and routes for the Retrofit Coordinator to take through your home. PPE will be available to protect all involved.

Of course, we will also require anyone planning to visit your home to reschedule appointments if they have symptoms of coronavirus or have been required to self-isolate.  We will also ask you to similarly notify us so we can reschedule work if you have symptoms or need to self-isolate.

Communication is key – we won’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with

Communication is always key to any successful project, and that’s more true than ever in the current situation. We would like to emphasise that we will be checking in with anyone planning to visit your home in advance to ensure they do not have any coronavirus symptoms. If they do, we will cancel the visit immediately. We will also ask you, similarly, to notify us so we can reschedule work if you have symptoms or need to self-isolate.

We want to assure you that at all stages of the process we will only ever enter your home if you are comfortable and happy for us to do so – even if there’s a last minute change in your circumstances. Your safety and the safety of our staff and colleagues is our utmost priority.