EWS1 Update

New RICS Guidance to Ease Housing Market Issues

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) announced on 8 March 2021 it’s new guidance on the valuation of properties in multi-storey, multi-occupancy residential buildings with cladding. The RICS aim to have this guidance implemented by 5 April 2021 and are working with the Government and consumers to meet this deadline.

The guidance is the result of collaboration and consultation with it’s members, leaseholders, lenders, fire safety experts and Government and crucially it clarifies types of properties which will, and those which will not, require additional inspections, because of fire safety concerns.

It is important to note that this guidance will be for the purposes of valuations only and it is not a life safety risk assessment, so lenders may still determine that a valuer could need more information around potential remedial work that could affect the property’s value.

The guidance clarifies those properties that are and those that are not required to have additional inspections, as a result of concerns about fire safety, and we set out this criteria below.

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 which stack vertically above each other and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials 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 (25% of the whole elevation estimated from what is visible standing at ground level) 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 or the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible material.
For buildings of four storeys or fewer an EWS1 form should be required where:
There are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building.
The Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP has said “I welcome RICS’ new guidance which will mean nearly 500,000 leaseholders will no longer need an EWS1 form – helping homeowners to sell or re-mortgage more quickly and easily”.

Whilst this guidance has the potential to ease the problems in the housing market, there is still much work to do in tackling cladding remediation to existing blocks of flats and apartments, although the Government’s latest announcement of extra funding is discussed in this newsletter.