Repairing Standard Communication Log

 

May 23, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Managing Director, Clan Gordon

To: Charlotte McHaffie; Robert Drummond-Murray, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan reaches out with concerns about the upcoming changes to the Repairing Standard, particularly around the requirements for RCD protection set to take effect in March 2024. He queries if the standard’s compliance could be aligned with the schedule for Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR), pondering whether properties without the correct RCD protection at the deadline would be considered non-compliant, or if updates could wait until the next EICR.

 

May 24, 2023

From: Shaun Cassidy, Housing Standards and Quality Senior Policy Manager, Scottish Government

To: Jonathan Gordon; Charlotte McHaffie

Summary: Cassidy responds, clarifying the stringent requirement of the Repairing Standard regarding RCD protection. He emphasises that from March 2024, any rental property lacking RCD protection would not meet the Repairing Standard. He mentions the five-year grace period provided since the regulation update in March 2019, intended to give landlords ample time to ensure compliance and recommends seeking advice from a ‘suitably qualified professional’ if unclear.

 

July 24, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Managing Director, Clan Gordon

To: Shaun Cassidy; Charlotte McHaffie, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan seeks further clarification on the specifics of RCD coverage necessary for compliance. He references advice from the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), suggesting that a single RCD covering one circuit might suffice and that it is “up to the electrician” to decide how to meet the guidance. Jonathan explained that his interpretation of the guidance leads him to believe that every circuit needs RCD protection. He requests confirmation of this discrepancy.

 

July 27, 2023

From: Shaun Cassidy, Scottish Government

To: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

Summary: Cassidy confirms that the interpretation provided by SAL is indeed correct, explaining that a property would be considered compliant with the Repairing Standard as long as it holds a valid EICR that aligns with the BS7671 requirements. He elaborates that the judgment on the extent of RCD coverage needed may vary based on the electrician’s assessment of the property’s specific electrical installation.

 

August 2, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Shaun Cassidy; Charlotte McHaffie, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan discusses the widespread confusion and inconsistency in the interpretation of RCD requirements among letting agents and electricians. He points out that some electricians operate under the belief that the Repairing Standard imposes additional requirements beyond the British Standard, leading to varied practices and confusion over compliance.

 

August 11, 2023

From: Shaun Cassidy, Scottish Government

To: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

Summary: Cassidy suggests a meeting to address and clarify the concerns raised by Jonathan regarding the RCD provisions in the Repairing Standard. He acknowledges the confusion and the necessity for clearer guidance, indicating the inclusion of Ruth Whatling in the conversation for her expertise.

 

August 11, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Shaun Cassidy, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan seeks clarification from Cassidy regarding requirements beyond a satisfactory Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). He points out a perceived contradiction in Cassidy’s earlier communication, questioning the assertion that the Repairing Standard does not impose additional requirements beyond the EICR, specifically concerning Residual Current Devices (RCDs). Jonathan expresses concern over the practical implications of adding RCD protection to any circuit, highlighting that prioritising sockets then lights for safety would be more beneficial. He requests a direct phone call to discuss these critical nuances further.

Here's the detailed summary for the email sent on August 15, 2023:

 

August 15, 2023

From: Jonathan DR Gordon, Managing Director, Clan Gordon

To: Shaun Cassidy, Housing Standards and Quality Senior Policy Manager, Scottish Government; Charlotte McHaffie, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan addresses ongoing concerns about inconsistencies and contradictions within the email communications about the Repairing Standard, specifically in relation to the requirements for RCD protection and EICR compliance. He expresses the difficulty Clan Gordon faces in providing accurate guidance to landlords due to these contradictions. Jonathan requests a more formal approach to resolve these issues, suggesting a meeting to clarify the requirements and ensure that Clan Gordon can offer appropriate advice to both new and existing landlords. He emphasises the need for clear and consistent information to mitigate confusion.

 

August 29, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Shaun Cassidy; Ruth Whatling, Scottish Government

Summary: After their meeting, Jonathan reflects on the persistent uncertainties surrounding the RCD provisions within the Repairing Standard. He notes the challenges in establishing a compliance process due to the lack of definitive guidance and varied interpretations among professionals.

 

August 30, 2023

From: Ruth Whatling, Housing Standards & Quality Team Lead, Scottish Government

To: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

Summary: Whatling recaps the outcomes of their meeting, committing to engage with industry bodies to seek clearer guidance on RCD requirements. She acknowledges the complexities and challenges highlighted by Jonathan and promises further action to address these.

 

September 25, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Ruth Whatling, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan follows up, asking for updates on the discussions about RCD and lead regulations. He expresses concern over the need for clear and actionable guidance for landlords and agents.

 

September 25, 2023

From: Ruth Whatling, Scottish Government

To: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

Summary: Whatling replies, promising an imminent response on the lead issue and noting productive discussions with industry leaders about RCDs. She mentions ongoing efforts to clarify guidance and promises to keep Jonathan updated.

 

October 20, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Ruth Whatling, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan requests a status update on the RCD issue and suggests that considering the significant implications and the approaching deadline, an extension for compliance might be necessary. He highlights the urgency of receiving clear guidance for electricians to assist landlords and agents in achieving compliance.

 

November 15, 2023

From: Shaun Cassidy, Scottish Government

To: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

Summary: The Scottish Government acknowledges having meetings with key industry bodies regarding RCDs and indicates plans to update the guidance for landlords. Despite the request for an extension, it emphasises the expectation that properties should be able to meet the Repairing Standard by the set deadline without further delay.

 

December 12, 2023

From: Jonathan DR Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Shaun Cassidy, Ruth Whatling, et al. (Scottish Government)

Summary: Jonathan expressed frustration with the government’s response, stating the guidance on lead in water and RCDs was misleading and practically unworkable. He criticised the lack of clarity and feasibility in the guidance, especially for landlords of flats in shared tenements, and cautioned that landlords who were misled by the guidance could conclude they meet obligations when in fact they do not. Critically, tenants could believe there was no lead in their drinking water supply when there might be.

 

December 18, 2023

From: Jonathan Gordon to Shaun Cassidy, Ruth Whatling, et al.

Summary: Jonathan provided an update on lead testing results from a flat known to have a lead riser, reporting a finding of less than 1 microgram per litre. He mentioned similar findings from a company in Glasgow, reinforcing his point about the misleading nature of the guidance and its potential to give tenants false assurance about water safety. He suggested a breach of duty of care by the Scottish Government in misleading tenants.

 

December 22, 2023

From: Shaun Cassidy

To: Jonathan DR Gordon, Ruth Whatling, et al.

Summary: Cassidy thanked Jonathan for his detailed concerns but stated that the government had already provided all the information available and had nothing new to add at that time. He encouraged Jonathan to get in touch if there were any other matters they could assist with, effectively closing the discussion on the previously raised issues without offering new solutions or changes to the guidance.

 

February 7, 2024

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Ruth Whatling, Scottish Government

Summary: Jonathan writes concerning the revised Repairing Standard Guidance issued with just four weeks left before the compliance deadline. He points out that the guidance has significantly changed in some areas and the challenges of meeting new requirements within such a short timeframe, especially regarding lead and RCD changes. He calls for the government to reconsider the compliance date.

 

February 8, 2024

From: Jonathan Gordon, Clan Gordon

To: Scottish Government Minister for Housing Paul McLennan

Summary: Jonathan forwards an email to the housing minister regarding The Repairing Standard, highlighting significant flaws in the recently published guidance. He raises concerns about the risks posed by the guidance on lead in water supplies and RCD protection, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss these critical issues.