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 require an EWS1 form as detailed under the latest RICS guidance issues on 5 April 2021.
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. We are currently establishing a programme to review all external wall systems (EWS) on buildings that are under six storeys or below in height. This programme will establish each building's requirement under the following criteria to determine if an EWS1 form is required.
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
If any of the above criteria apply, the Group will produce an EWS survey report identifying details of the external wall, balconies where they exist, and the likely EWS rating. Once we can confirm that an acceptable EWS rating can be achieved without remedial work, the Group will arrange for the production of an EWS1 form.
The outcome of this will be for all buildings under six storeys to have an expert report that demonstrates the checks that we have carried out to ensure compliance with government guidance. If, after an EWS survey, the EWS rating is confirmed as a B2 or below, and requiring remedial works, we will contact residents to set out the next steps.
If you are finding that a lender is requesting an EWS1 form on a building under 18m without the conditions listed above, 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.
Upon request, we will be able to supply you with a relevant Fire Risk Assessment for your building.