Easing of External Wall System Fire Safety Checks

Filed in Landlords by on 13th November, 2020 0 Comments

External Wall System Fire Safety Checks

17 November 2020 update – since writing this news article both the Government and RICS have eased the requirement of the EWS1 form assessment.

In summary, unless the property has cladding, there is now no need for an EWS1 certificate.

However, mortgage lenders are criticising this easement and may still ask for an EWS1 to be presented before proceeding with a new mortgage or mortgage renewal!

For more details see this article.

It is recommended that Landlords and Block Managers confirm this with their insurer, mortgage provider and if relevant the licencing authority.

Original post (13 Nov 2020):

Landlords need to be aware of recent changes in Government advice relating to the overall external wall system, i.e. cladding and wall cavity, door & window etc fire boundary protection. It broadens the scope of property that can be affected.

If your property was built before year 2000 it is unlikely to comply with building regulations relating to wall cavity fire boundary requirements (now BS9991-2015) or/and if tenants are considered vulnerable, the property could be considered a “specific concern”. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) explains:

“Changes in Government advice in January 2020, bringing all buildings into scope, mean some residential buildings below 18m which have ‘specific concerns’, may now require an EWS1. Examples include 4-6 storey buildings which may have combustible cladding or balconies with combustible materials and therefore are a clear and obvious risk to life safety and may require remediation in accordance with the latest Government advice.

The external wall system is made up of the outside wall of a residential building, including cladding, insulation, fire break systems, etc. The EWS1 form checks these for safety, if that is required. Buildings in scope are blocks of flats, student accommodation, dormitories, care homes and HMOs exc hotels.”  click here for full article from RICS

EWS1 checks must be completed by a certified professional and should be included as part of an overall fire risk assessment. Many mortgage lenders and insurance companies are now asking for a completed EWS1 form before proceeding.  A list of suggested bodies to contact to source fire experts and information about the competencies required can be found in the above RICS article link.

About the Author ()

Rob Crawford is the chairman of the Association of Local Landlords (Wessex). Rob is a practicing landlord with a property portfolio that includes small private residential properties and HMO's. Rob is a qualified letting agent and former owner of Kingfisher Lettings & Management. He is now a share holder of the successful online lettings company Lettingsupermarket.com.

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