Tuesday 5th May 2020
You are able to read the full write-up of the day here:
Ringley: UKAA Webinar Beyond the Hackett Review and into EWS1 compliance
On Tuesday 5th May, Mary-Anne Bowring, managing director at Ringley Group, hosted the UKAA Webinar on EWS1 form compliance and life beyond the Hackett Review. EWS stands for ‘external wall system’ and looks at the level of safety displayed by external walls on residential buildings. The person who completes an EWS1 form effectively risk rates the building using options under Certificate A or B as to whether there is no risk that the EWS will assist a fire or that there is tolerable risk or that action needs to be taken.
The webinar – attended by a mixture of property managers, investors, lawyers and consultants – provided a detailed overview of EWS1 compliance and what the implications would be on the industry.
EWS1 forms were introduced following a recommendation of the Hackett Review, and they capture part of the required ‘golden thread of information’ outlined in the review.
These forms are required by mortgage lenders where the Valuation Surveyor has identified that there is cladding or materials on the external wall of the building in which he or she is valuing a property. The challenge is that either over time, introducing new materials, e.g., cladding may change the fire performance of the building, if the ‘layers of protection’ offered by each material are not assessed both independently and in conjunction with each other and also that it is possible that either materials that are now known to be too dangerous to use are present, or that perhaps a sub-contractor substituted the material specified in design for what they believe is a suitable alternative – but is not what had been originally set out in the plans – thereby compromising safety.
Mary-Anne highlighted that the journey from applying for an EWS1 form to receiving it could take around two months.
“Mortgage Valuers are now being asked to declare if there is any cladding is present on a building and lenders will refuse to lend on the building until they are fully aware of what cladding has been used and that the Certificate awarded is in accordance with their lending policy.
“Lenders used to just be conscious about ACM cladding, but they are now looking at all types of cladding that are used on the building, including HPL cladding – and the entire wall system which means insulation, fixings, fire stopping around windows, glue, fixings and much more.”
All this comes about from guidance entitled “Advice for Building Owners of Multi-storey, Multi-occupied Residential Buildings” issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which was issued in January 2020. This guidance applies to all buildings, any height and sets out that what is pertinent is not just all types of cladding but any material that will assist the spread of fire, irrespective of height.
The guidance also states that existing residential buildings that have external walls that contain combustible materials may not meet an appropriate standard of safety and could pose a significant risk to the health and safety of residents, other building users, people in the proximity of the building or firefighters.
Mary-Anne explained: “We’ve got to make sure we are not being fooled by sampling and testing only materials from lower levels – there is of course a possibility that these materials can change when you move higher up the building and even before this guidance was issued Approved Document B of the Building Regulations has always applied more stringent requirements for stories over 18 metres.
“The fire brigade is taking an active interest in what materials are being put onto these buildings.”
The government has already introduced a £600m fund for ACM cladding, plus an extra £1bn for non-ACM cladding to replace these materials on HRRBs that are 18 metres or over.
However, there currently isn’t any government funding identified for building owners that own a building that is under the 18-metre guideline as yet
If you are interested in attending any future webinars hosted by Ringley, please get in touch with Anthony.firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.