In my recent posts (click here) on the subject of Cladding and ESW1 Forms in the post Grenfell climate I referred to the consultation being carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (RICS).
Following completion of the consultation the RICS have now published their highly anticipated guidance on when EWS1 forms will be required. By way of reminder an EWS1 form is a means of ensuring that a suitable assessment has been carried out by a competent fire expert to determine whether remedial works are required for multi storey, multi occupancy residential buildings in order to give assurance to lenders, residents, buyers and sellers.
The guidance is intended to improve consistency surrounding the need for EWS1 forms. As alluded to in my previous article the lack of clarity associated with these forms has been causing considerable difficulties within the property market for buyers, sellers and lenders alike.
The guidance has made a distinction between buildings of differing heights namely buildings over six storeys, buildings of five or six storeys and buildings of four storey or fewer. By way of example, where a building of over six storeys has cladding or curtain wall glazing on it or has balconies which contain combustible materials and are situated on top of each other, a EWS1 form will be required. By comparison, for buildings which are four storeys or less, a form EWS1 is only needed where there are specific materials or panelling covering the building.
Further information on the specific details of the guidance can be found on the RICS website here. The website provides a useful decision making tree and case studies, which helps users to decide whether a form ESW1 will be required.
It will be interesting to see if or how this guidance changes lenders instructions to their valuers as this will be key as to whether it will help alleviate the current problems being experienced with the sale and refinancing of flats in these type of residential buildings.
The guidance although published on 8th March has now become effective from 5 April 2021.