If you're a leaseholder or shared owner, you may have been asked for a EWS1 by your lender. Find out more by reading our EWS1 form frequently asked questions.
Frequently asked questions about the EWS1 form (updated September 2021)
If you've been asked by your lender for a EWS1, or external wall survey, then you probably have a lot of questions about what it is, why it's needed and how long it may take to get.
What is an EWS1 form and why is it required?
The EWS1 (stands for external wall survey) form was introduced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in December 2019 to make sure the external wall systems in buildings over 18 meters high were installed correctly.
It also gives independent certification that a building meets the requirements of the government’s latest standards. The form is valid for five years.
The guidance for lenders was updated in March 2021 and the criteria can be found on the RICs website.
The government recently made a statement to clarify which homes needed an EWS1 and when lenders should ask for one: Major intervention from the government and lenders to support leaseholders
Does the EWS1 form cover general fire safety measures?
Why do I need to know about it?
Government guidance means that in some instances banks and building societies now require EWS1 forms from leaseholders/shared owners who are applying to staircase, re-mortgage or sell their property.
I don’t think my building is over 18 metres. Do we still need one?
Even if a building is not over 18 meters and the form is not a legal requirement, some lenders are now commonly requesting EWS1 forms for buildings less than 18 meters before they will consider offering a mortgage.
The government recently made a statement to clarify which homes needed an EWS1 and when lenders should ask for one: Major intervention from government and lenders to support leaseholders
I've been asked for an EWS1 form but my building is under 18m
If your building is under 18 metres high but your mortgage lender is asking for an EWS1 form here's what you need to know.
In July 2021 the government announced that EWS1 forms should no longer be needed for lending on buildings under 18 metres.
However, this is at the mortgage lender's discretion. This means that some lenders are still asking for one regardless of the building height.
If this happens, your mortgage lender must provide a specific reason why they are requesting one, for example concerns about cladding on a balcony. If they have not given this reason your first step is to query this with them.
Can I arrange my own EWS1 assessment?
No, only those responsible for the structure of the building can commission surveys with qualified fire engineers.
What is the process for getting a form?
An EWS1 form will only be issued by a qualified fire engineer after they have carried out a pre-survey (stage 1), followed by a full investigative survey (stage 2), after which we will know if external wall needs any remedial work or not (stage 3). If remedial work is required, the EWS1 form is issued upon completion at Stage 4. The survey may state that work needs to be carried out before a form is provided.
Is my building safe?
We would like to reassure you that all of Home Group properties:
- Received Building Regulation sign-off at the time of construction
- Have an up-to-date fire risk assessment and any recommendations are dealt with immediately or put into a programme of work to be completed as soon as possible
- Are monitored by our Service Delivery, Health and Safety, Maintenance and Asset teams to maintain a safe environment
My lender has said I need a form, can I get it straight away?
We know that some lenders/surveyors are requesting these forms outside of the agreed parameters and as a result, we are seeing an increased number of requests and there are capacity issues with the small number of consultants who can carry out this work.
We are adopting an approach which primarily fulfils our legal requirements and is prioritised in a fair and objective manner. This is particularly important given the long lead in times that we are seeing for this type of work.
What is Home Group doing to help?
The safety of our residents is our utmost priority. We’re monitoring the latest Government guidelines and our Health and Safety team are ensuring EWS1 surveys are carried out when they’re needed.
We are providing regular and clear communications to customers in those properties we know might be affected by this change
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