Tel 0300 131 7300
Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA)
102 Blackstock Road
London N4 2DR
0300 131 7300
Over the past year, most lenders have added a special condition to mortgage offers, requiring EWS1 (external wall system) forms.
Although the EWS1 process was devised as an industry solution to ‘unstick’ the market for flats in high-rise blocks, its implementation brought other problems to the fore. Therefore, on 21 November, the Government announced changes would be made to the application of the EWS1 process to help long leaseholders.
We recognise the difficulties leaseholders are currently experiencing in selling and re-mortgaging homes, which is why ISHA wrote to all our shared owners and leaseholders in March and May 2020 to explain that you may experience issues when trying to sell, staircase or re-mortgage.
ISHA own six buildings above 18m and approximately 35 buildings between 11m -18m with cladding. We have prioritised buildings by risk and carrying out intrusive surveys on these blocks of the external walls to identify the materials used in the construction and to check for key fire safety components such as cavity barriers.
In January 2020, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published its Consolidated Advice Note to building owners about building safety which recommends building owners check their buildings to make sure they are safe.
We must prioritise taller buildings first and therefore, cannot begin work on sub-18m buildings until we have completed the work on taller buildings.
EWS1 forms are a lender request and do not demonstrate compliance. The forms are issued either as soon as the investigation happens, and no work is needed, or as soon as the work has been carried out and inspected. Fire Engineers are working with us on what's required to certify the buildings.
ISHAs buildings have an annual fire risk assessment (FRA) and these are published in the ‘In your area’ section of our website. You can find your FRA by first selecting your borough and then the name of the building from the dropdown menus.
The fire risk assessment is carried out per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RR(FS)O) 2005. The Quality Fire Safety Management (QFSM) fire risk assessors are qualified former Fire Brigade officers. They assess the risks to the building in line with the Articles of the RR(FS)O 2005. They also consider the British Standards and industry best practice. It’s the risk assessors professional and qualified opinion that assigns a risk level using a 3X3 matrix and a due date for action(s).
All actions are recorded on the fire risk assessment report including due dates for completion.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) guidance says requesting an EWS1 for buildings where there is no visible cladding or low risk of remediation work creates long and unnecessary delays to the buying, selling or re-mortgaging of such properties. It also prevents the limited number of competent experts from focussing their assessments on properties where there is a significant risk to the safety of occupants. A valuer should always have a rationale to justify the request for an EWS1 form.
For buildings over six storeys a EWS1 form should be required where:
For buildings of five or six storeys, a EWS1 form should be required where:
For buildings of four storeys or fewer, a EWS1 form should be required where:
* Metal cladding and ACM/MCM are visually very similar, so if metal panel cladding is present, the valuer should confirm with the building owner or managing agent in writing that they are not ACM/MCM, or, if confirmation cannot be obtained, an EWS1 inspection should be requested.
The Government announced a £5 billion investment in building safety, including £3.5 billion announced on 10 February 2021. This funding is targeted at the highest risk buildings.
The Government announced a loan scheme for leaseholders where the building is below 18m. Where cladding has to be removed, leaseholders will pay for the removal through a long-term, low interest, government-backed financing arrangement.
Under the scheme, no leaseholder will ever pay more than £50 a month towards the removal of unsafe cladding. This will provide reassurance and security to leaseholders, and mortgage providers can be confident that where cladding removal is needed, properties will be worth lending against.
If you would like more information on EWS1 forms or have concerns, email email@example.com or call our Customer Services Team on 0300 131 7300.
The National Housing Federation has put together information for leaseholders about EWS1 forms and remedial work. It includes information on obtaining EWS1 forms, what housing associations are doing, what leaseholders can do and frequently asked questions for leaseholders.
This page was last updated on 6 May 2021.