Everything you need to know about EWS1 Form

Posted by Basak Erten, March 30, 2021

Everything you need to know about EWS1 Form
Everything you need to know about EWS1 Form

Due to the Grenfell tragedy in 2017, legislation was put in place to ensure such sad and horrific events wouldn’t happen again. One of the actions taken was creating the EWS1 form, which reports if a building meets the required fire safety standards. But what does it mean for landlords who either have a buy-to-let property or are thinking of investing in one?

What is an EWS1 form? 

The EWS1 form is required if there is no valid building control certificate that complies with the Building Amendment Regulations of 2018. The form provides a clear “safe” or “unsafe” certificate for a property, giving everyone clarity over an apartment’s fire safety status. This relates to the cladding used when the buildings were constructed to ensure it’s not the same type found at Grenfell.

The form is a way for residential owners to prove to lenders and valuers (more on that in a bit) that the building has been assessed and is classed as safe from fire hazards. A building classed as “safe” won’t have any potentially dangerous cladding or wall glazing, and there shouldn’t be any issues buying or selling it.

How does the EWS1 form work? 

There are three different types of EWS1 forms: one for buildings over six stories, one for those with five or six, and one with four stories or fewer. Each type of building needs to meet specific criteria before it’s classed as “safe”.

For buildings over six storeys, an EWS1 form should be required where:

  • There is cladding or curtain wall glazing on the building or
  • There are balconies that 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 material.

For buildings of five or six storeys, an EWS1 form should be required where:

  • There is a significant amount of cladding on the building (for the purpose of this guidance, 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 that 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.

Information provided courtesy of RICS

EWS1 forms and buy-to-let investors

Multi-storey buildings are often popular investment assets with landlords, who will need to pay particular attention to EWS1 forms. The EWS1 form affects landlords on all levels, whether they’re buying, selling or remortgaging.

Any building classed as unsafe could mean that property owners need to spend thousands in an effort to bring it up to scratch. Buyers will also need to safeguard themselves, ensuring the property they purchase has an EWS1 form classed as safe.

Getting a valuation and mortgage 

Valuers will need to see the EWS1 form to provide an accurate valuation of the property. Without it, valuers can’t provide an accurate valuation of the property, and, more importantly, mortgage lenders are unable to lend on homes without an EWS1 form in place.

Mortgage lenders are currently requesting the EWS1 forms before lending to ensure they don’t provide funds on an apartment in a building that may be unsafe or require extensive and expensive repairs to bring it in line with regulations.

Understanding the role of EWS1

As a landlord, you’ll need an EWS1 form if you’re buying a new property in a multi-storey building. The valuer performing the valuation will attain the form and report their findings back to the mortgage lender after conducting the rest of the property’s valuation. If you’re selling, you should contact the building’s management company to get the results of the EWS1 form.

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