Government announcement on EWS1 forms
For many yesterday’s announcement of the agreement between the Government, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA) that EWS1 forms are no longer required in the sale or mortgage and remortgage of flats and apartments which don’t have cladding is huge! Fantastic news.
The introduction of the need to provide a EWS1 form had stopped many peoples plans stone dead. Few surveyors were able to provide this little-known form, fuelling confusion and uncertainty, frustrating sales, even of buildings that didn’t even have cladding, because the external wall fire review process, known as EWS1, was being applied to all apartment block buildings, irrespective of cladding or not.
The government’s statement that apartments in blocks without cladding are now not subject to regulations requiring an EWS1 form, potentially affects some 450,000 owners of long-leasehold flats and apartments.
Fire Risk Assessments are compulsory
Jon Limer, Director of Peninsula Fire Safety explained “There is a legal obligation to undertake fire risk assessments on all blocks of flats and apartments, ensuring standards and promoting fire safety, awareness and good practice is absolutely essential. Following yesterday’s Government announcement, the RICS will be working with banks and lending institutions, property valuers and various fire safety organisations to develop new advice for surveyors in these circumstances, enabling surveyors and valuers to take a more realistic and positive approach and effectively reduces the number of buildings where an EWS1 assessment is needed.”
“This is a significant move” continued Jon “and really great news for many. It will still apply to those blocks which have cladding and that remains a huge challenge, seriously affecting many, especially owners of flats and apartments in the high-rise blocks. However, at least this common-sense clarification releases some to continue with their plans to buy and sell their flats and apartments, where no threat exists. This is particularly important in our area of operation in Barnstaple North Devon. We operate in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset and sales of flats and apartments of in west country blocks of flats and apartments have been affected, even when they have no cladding. We’ve spoken with block managers and fire safety colleagues trying to help. It has been a real nightmare for many.”
“It is likely that it will take a little time for this news to have its impact but I know that there will be lots of phone calls to solicitors, block management agents and estate agents on Monday looking to kick-start action! Good news!”