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On the road again

The recent change in COVID-19 restrictions means that in-person technical assessments have been able to restart. Armed with mask and sanitiser, our man kept a diary of two recent visits to prospective Members…

One of the biggest things I was looking forward to after lockdown was jumping in the car and carrying out assessments of Conditional Members and new applicants.

Before COVID-19, it would have been a case of packing the tools and setting the sat-nav, but the pandemic means, quite rightly, that more checks are now in place.

Everyone undergoing an assessment is now sent an information pack outlining the safety measures that need to be taken, including the new SELECT guidance, Returning in person. They are also sent a text reminder and a COVID-19 questionnaire the day before, with everything organised by our extremely efficient Technical Administrator, Susie Liddle.

Having an open conversation with the person we’re visiting ensures that they understand the processes we’re putting in place and that we’re doing it to keep their staff, family and customers safe.

From the sole trader right up to the large companies, everyone has been extremely receptive and 100 per cent committed to the measures. In the current climate, they understand what needs to be done to ensure we can get on-site safely.

It also helps that we’ve restarted in-person visits as we move in to summer, so we can meet and interact with people outside, which makes social distancing easier.

Visit No1: Steve Scott Electrical

Friday morning meant a trip to the Borders, where I met up with Steve Scott for an inspection with a view to moving his firm, Steve Scott Electrical, into full membership.

I’d previously had a meeting and virtual assessment with Steve back in September 2020, which saw him join SELECT as a Conditional Member.

Now it was time to follow up in person and see him in action for myself.

The site visit was to an old stable block which Steve was helping to convert into a holiday let.

Masks donned, we grabbed our tools and did a walkaround as Steve showed me examples of his work and how things were progressing at the end of first fix.

We kept our masks on when looking over paperwork together and observed social distancing at all times, even when outside. And of course, there was regular hand sanitising throughout the visit – although after 16 months that’s become second nature, hasn’t it?

It was great to be back face-to-face with a prospective Member – even if that face was partly obscured by a mask! It meant we could have a productive chat and Steve asked some good questions, including plenty about possible EV charge points.

Being on site gave me a good idea of what he is capable of and after seeing his handiwork up close, I was happy to recommend him for full membership.

Visit No2: Livingston Building Services

Monday morning saw another visit, this time to Renfrew for an on-site inspection with another prospective Member, Livingston Building Services (LBS).

Project Manager Bryan Murray was there to greet me and, once again social distancing, masks and sanitiser were the order of the day as he showed me around.

LBS have just completed a large multi-phase commercial installation for Strathclyde University. The inspection involved multiple large section board installations, sub main distribution and final circuits – a really interesting and impressive job!

This was the first time I’d visited LBS, so it was a good chance to get to know Bryan and discuss various issues – plus it was a good learning curve for me too.

“There really is no substitute for getting out and meeting Members face-to-face – it’s what SELECT does best”

Bryan had previously sent over certification, so by actually visiting the site and seeing the environment I was able to answer some of the questions I’d formed in my head.

The result was that I was able to review more paperwork and arrange some further digital meetings to help the journey towards full membership.

The verdict

There really is no substitute for getting out and meeting Members face-to-face – it’s what SELECT does best.

Although the virtual assessments during lockdown have been good and we’ll continue to carry them out, meeting in person again means we can gain a real understanding of a business and ‘get in amongst it’ (in a safe and socially distanced way of course).

Members get a lot out of them too – when you’re there in person it’s a more relaxed environment and I find folk are more comfortable asking questions.

It’s been a long road to get back to this point, but long may it continue…


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