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Comptons Clarifies...EWS1

Did you know that an External Wall Fire Review (EWS1) Survey provides an industry standard approach to assess fire cladding safety and came in to use in December 2019.

It assesses the external wall construction of residential buildings in response to the Grenfell Disaster and subsequent Hackitt Report (Building a Safer Future).

Although developed by RICS it is also endorsed by the UK Finance and Building Society Association in respect of mortgage lending.

It currently applies to individual residential buildings over 18 metres tall, or any building (regardless of height) where there are specific concerns over fire safety.

The form has 2 options, A and B as follows:

Option A – Where the external wall materials are unlikely to support combustion.

The Signatory needs to highlight one of the following

A1 – There are no attachments whose construction includes significant quantities of combustible materials (i.e. materials that are not of limited combustibility or better);

A2 – There is an appropriate risk assessment of the attachments confirming that no remedial works are required

A3 – Where neither of the above two options apply, there may be potential costs of remedial works to attachments.

The signatory for Option A must have the expertise to identify the relevant materials within the external wall and attachments and whether fire resisting cavity barriers and fire stopping have been installed correctly.

They would not necessarily need expertise in fire engineering but should be a member of a relevant professional body within the construction industry, such as an RICS Chartered Surveyor or a member of the Chartered Institute of Building.

Option B – Where combustible materials are present and a higher level of fire expertise is required to undertake a more detailed review.

The Signatory needs to highlight one of the following

B1 – the fire risk is sufficiently low that no remedial works are required

B2 – an adequate standard of safety is not achieved, and it has been identified to the client organisation the remedial and interim measures required (to be documented separately).

The signatory for Option B must have expertise in the assessment of the fire risk presented by external materials and be a member of a relevant professional body that deals with fire safety

The EWS1 form will need to be reassessed if any significant changes occur to the external wall or attachments of the building and is valid for up to 5 years from the date at which it is signed.

Mortgage lenders will also want sight of a valid EWS1 to assess the suitability of the property for lending.

Susanna Levingstone - Senior Associate Solicitor Comptons Solicitors
About the Author
Susanna Levingstone, Solicitor, Residential Property

Specialises in: Property Conveyancing, Large Rural Estates, Lockout Agreements, Auctions, Options and Time-critical Contract Races, Attended Exchanges, Acting for First Time Buyers, Property Dealers & Developers, Cohabitation Agreements

If you would like to speak to someone regarding External Wall Fire Review (EWS1) Surveys, or require further information on any Residential Property matter, please contact Susanna Levingstone in the Residential Property department at Comptons Solicitors LLP. ( / 020 3830 6276).