EWS1

The introduction of the EWS1 form has greatly affected the UK property market and residents. A form is required for multiple scenarios, including completing a sale, re-mortgaging or insuring a property; therefore, being familiar with the form’s purpose and the process can help streamline the procedure.

At FR Consultants our experts are fully qualified and insured. We provide reliable and straight-forward services for getting an EWS1 form signed and completed for your property.

Hear from a client:

“I want to thank the FRC team for assisting me with one of my larger blocks being over 18 metres in obtaining an A1 status on the EWS1 form. The staff are very knowledgeable, quick to respond to emails and at finding solutions. Their completed reports stemming from intrusive investigations are very clear and easy to read and follow. Thanks again FRC for making my life as a property manager that little easier. I hope we can do business again soon.” Darren Speck, Senior Block Manager

Get in touch
  • T: +44 (0)1794 332456
  • E: enquiries@frconsultants.co.uk

What is an EWS1 form?

The EWS1 form was created by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Building Societies Association and UK Finance. It came into effect in December 2019. It has been revised twice, so is now in its third edition. It is a document that enables residential building owners to confirm that the building’s external wall system has been assessed by a suitable expert, providing assurance for lenders, valuers, residents, buyers and sellers. Once an external wall system has been assessed by a suitably accredited and competent expert, they can complete either option A or option B of the form, depending on their findings.

  • Option A describes a building that does not contain materials likely to support combustion or materials likely to support combustion, but only to an attachment, such as a balcony.
  • Option B means there are known combustible primary materials in the external wall system, including any external cladding, insulation, support framework or substructure.

Both options have specific sub-categories that clarify the risk associated with the competent person’s findings.

Who is suitably qualified to sign an EWS1 form?

It is a stipulation that the EWS1 form must be completed by a suitably qualified and competent professional; otherwise, the form will be invalid. It is essential for those who are commissioning EWS surveys with the aim of obtaining an EWS1 form to perform due diligence to confirm that their chosen professional meets the required criteria. A number of EWS1 form forgeries have been uncovered, emphasising that only reputable contractors should be instructed to undertake such work. Moreover, care needs to be taken to ensure that your chosen contractor is suitably qualified.

Is it a legal requirement?

While obtaining an EWS1 form is not a legal requirement, the majority of lenders will request one before considering a mortgage application. However, it is a legal requirement for responsible persons to ensure the safety of buildings and residents. The full enactment of the Fire Safety Act 2021 also creates a legal requirement for external walls to be assessed as part of a routine fire risk assessment, progressing to a fire risk appraisal of the external walls following PAS 9980:2022 in most instances. There will inevitably be some overlap between the health and safety, legal and financial drivers.

Do I need an EWS1 form?

The EWS1 form was originally intended for high-risk buildings above 18 m in height or where specific concerns exist. This clause means that the form could always be requested for a building of any height where there are concerns about the external wall system. The updated form does not mention height and, therefore, applies to all residential buildings where a valuer requests one. The latest RICS guidance makes it clear that a valuer/lender has the final say as to whether they require an EWS1 form. An EWS1 form is usually valid for an entire block/building and is not applicable to individual flats and apartments.

Is one required for buildings under 18 m?

In a written statement to parliament in July 2021, the former Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, announced that according to an expert panel appointed by the government, EWS1 forms should not be required for buildings under 18 m. He also asserted that major lenders had welcomed the recommendations. However, in a subsequent government publication, as well as at the second reading of the Building Safety Bill, it was reaffirmed that the requirement for an EWS1 form remains a commercial decision and one that is down to the lenders.

How can I obtain a signed EWS1 form?

To obtain a correctly signed EWS1 form, an independent intrusive survey (FRAEW) of the external wall system following PAS 9980 is necessary. This is the only way to ascertain the actual materials used during construction (these can vary from plans), as well as the appropriate compartmentation in fire and cavity barriers, along with the correct installation method and standard of workmanship, have been adhered to. Evidence of the investigation of each of these aspects is required to sign the EWS1 form.

How much does an EWS1 form cost?

There is no set cost for an EWS1 form. To sign an EWS1 form, an independent investigation must be carried out by a qualified and competent professional, possessing a suitable level of professional indemnity insurance. Given the nature of external walls, this would involve investigating several areas of the external wall to establish combustibility of the materials, as well as identifying the appropriate cavity and fire barriers. The related costs can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, including the size and scale of the building, the number of external wall systems to be sampled and whether access machinery is needed to achieve this.

How long is it valid?

An EWS1 form is valid for up to five years. The building will need to be reassessed following any significant changes to the external wall or attachments of the building or when this time period has elapsed.

– Chris Dore, Resident of building surveyed by FRC

“I contacted FRC because I needed an EWS1 form, so that I could sell my apartment.

From my initial contact with FRC, the teams were very responsive, helpful, and knowledgeable about the requirements of the latest government guidelines. They arranged everything, from the survey through to the final EWS1 form.

I would highly recommend FRC to anyone in the same predicament.”

Get in touch

Send us an initial enquiry with a brief summary of your requirements and one of our team will be in touch within 48 hours.

 


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