If your building is under 18m tall (about seven storeys) it is not appropriate to complete an EWS1 form because this form is designed to be used on tall buildings. The government advice does not require that an EWS1 form is completed for buildings of this height but all buildings must comply with government’s building safety guidance.
Since the government advice was issued, some mortgage lenders have been asking for EWS1 form certification on any building they are asked to lend on, even if it is under 18m tall. This is affecting leaseholders who wish to sell, staircase or re-mortgage their homes in low-rise blocks and are unable to.
The EWS1 form is only for use on buildings over 18m tall or where specific concerns exist, so if your building isn’t over that height we cannot provide you with one except where there are exceptional circumstances. We will, however, be able to supply you with a relevant Fire Risk Assessment for your building and our building safety programme is beginning to extend to buildings under 18m. The outcome of this is for buildings under 18m will be an expert report (the equivalent of an EWS1 form) that demonstrates the checks we have carried out to ensure compliance with the government guidance.
If you are finding that a lender is requesting an EWS1 form on a building under 18m we would encourage you to speak to your mortgage broker or financial advisor as not all lenders are taking the same approach and you may find another lender takes a different view.