Last reviewed 27 November 2020

Thanks to an agreement reached between the Government and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA), flat owners in buildings without cladding will no longer need an EWS1 form to sell or remortgage their property.

Developed by industry to assess the potential financial impact of cladding on high-rise flats, an external wall fire review process — commonly referred to as EWS1 — is being applied to other buildings without cladding.

This has been stopping some people from selling or moving home and causing unnecessary anxiety for homeowners, the Government has agreed.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and RICS have now agreed that buildings without cladding do not need an EWS1 form, clearing the way for up to nearly 450,000 flat owners to sell, move or remortgage their homes.

“I welcome the support we have received from RICS and industry to resolve this matter,” Mr Jenrick said, “and will be working urgently with lenders to resolve these challenges, ensuring that EWS1 forms are requested only where absolutely necessary and that the number of surveyors able to complete them is increased urgently to meet demand.”

While building owners are already legally required to undertake fire risk assessments on all blocks of flats, following supplementary guidance published by the Government (see Advice on ensuring that buildings are safe), RICS will be working with lenders, valuers and fire safety bodies to develop new advice for surveyors.

This will enable them to take a more proportionate approach and reduce the number of buildings where an EWS1 assessment is needed.

The Government is to provide nearly £700,000  to train  more assessors, speeding up the valuation process for homeowners in cases where an EWS1 form is required.

This training will be delivered by RICS from January and will  mean up to 200 additional  assessors will be qualified to carry out the EWS1 assessment within a month, 900 within three months, and 2000 within six months.