On this page, where we refer to the 18m height demarcation, it is important to note that we are referring to the government's definition of "high-rise residential multi-occupied buildings of 18 metres or more in height, or more than 6 storeys (whichever is reached first)."
If your building is under 18m tall (about six storeys) it may not appropriate to complete an EWS1 form .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 or six storeys 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. These circumstances are detailed below. 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 without the conditions listed below, 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.
What are the specific concerns referred to?
For buildings of five or six storeys, an EWS1 form should be required where:
• There is a significant amount of cladding on the building (deemed as approximately one quarter of the whole elevation estimated from what is visible standing at ground level is a significant amount) or
• there are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building or
• there are balconies which stack vertically above each other and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials (e.g. timber), or the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible materials.
For buildings of four storeys or fewer, an EWS1 form should be required where:
• There are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building