UK Providers of EWS1 Review Surveys
Since 2019 owners of domestic properties have experienced difficulties when trying to buy, sell, remortgage or renew insurance for properties with external wall cladding. Lenders have concerns over providing finance for the purchase of flats particularly in high rise buildings where the make-up of the cladding system is unknown and which often is deemed to be unsafe until proven otherwise.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has developed form EWS1: External fire review. This form is a set way for a building owner to confirm to valuers and lenders that an external wall system or attachments, such as a balcony, on buildings containing flats has been assessed by a suitable expert. The form has two options. Option A is for buildings where the materials used in the external wall would be unlikely to support combustion. Option B is for buildings where Option A does not apply and a more detailed review (and hence higher level of fire expertise) is required.
Qualified Fire Engineers
As part of this process in conjunction with experience building surveyors a qualified fire engineering specialist will review and assess the cladding in order conclude if the building meets stringent lenders criteria or whether remediation works are required. The signed EWS1 form is valid for five years and lenders can use this signed form to provide a valuation.
For Option B, the signatory needs a higher level of expertise in the assessment of the fire risk presented by external wall materials. Typically, this will be a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers and should be a Chartered or Incorporated Engineer. Alternatively, the signatory should be a fully qualified member of a relevant professional body that deals with fire safety in the built environment, with either actual or equivalence to the Chartered or Incorporated Engineer status.
Single Building Assessment
In Scotland the Scottish Government set up a working group Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety which supported the need for affected buildings to be assessed against clear and robust criteria related to the fire safety of flatted buildings, including any cladding systems. The Group recommended that ultimately an EWS1 (External Wall Systems 1 form) would no longer be required for buying, selling, or remortgaging property and that instead a new approach of a Single Building Assessment should be implemented launched with funding from the Scottish Government.
This process is now in place based on a combination of using PAS 9880 in conjunction with the Scottish Advice Note https://www.gov.scot/policies/fire-and-rescue/
The Scottish Advice Note brings clarity to the different legislative requirements and guidance in Scotland and take account of the key findings from large scale and intermediate scale fire testing of external wall cladding systems carried out by the UK Government.
Brooker Diamond Fire Engineering Limited has both chartered fire engineers and chartered surveyors authorised to undertken both EWS1 and Single Building Assessments and act as signatories.
Chartered and Fully Insured
Brooker Diamond Fire Engineering Limited has both chartered fire engineers and chartered surveyors authorised to act as signatories. Stephen Brooker is registered with the Scottish Government as a Chartered Fire Engineer able to engage in the Single Building Assessment process.
Brooker Diamond Fire Engineering Limited has a wide-ranging capability for carrying out both EWS1 assessments (Options A and B) and the Single Building Assessment (SBA) now being used in Scotland.
Brooker Diamond Fire Engineering Limited can arrange for cladding removal and testing.
Most importantly Brooker Diamond Fire Engineering Limited holds full professional indemnity Insurance cover for undertaking all types of cladding surveys. A copy of our policy will be made available to all clients on placement of an order prior to any work commencing.