London Property

EWS1 and how this can affect buying and selling residential apartments

EWS1 and how this can affect buying and selling property

Blog Post No.97

EWS1 and how this can affect buying and selling property


We all recall the terrible tragedy at the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington in mid 2017. Many lives were lost and the issue of fire safety in residential high rise buildings was rightfully put under much scrutiny.

The result of this scrutiny was the implementation of the EWS1 form by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). EWS1 stands for External Wall Survey and it involves a review of any external walls outside of a residential building, including any cladding, insulation and fire break systems.

Here is what you need to know if you are planning on selling or purchasing a property in a residential block. 

When selling or purchasing properties in a residential block, you will need to take into consideration this form and any measures that are highlighted in it. The form itself is not a fire certificate. But it is used to ascertain whether or not any remedial work needs to be done. The onus is on the owner of the property to ensure that any recommended works are carried out.

Not all residential apartment buildings are required to have this form. It depends on criteria such as the height of a building and the type and amount of cladding in relation to the building size. 

Specific materials such as aluminium composite material (ACM), metal composite materials (MCM) or high pressure laminate (HPL) are considered to be high risk materials and so a review needs to be done of the building cladding to establish how much of these materials are present and what fire safety measures are needed to negate any potential fire risk.

Getting an official signatory for the forms can also sometimes pose a challenge as there is a lack of suitable experts currently in the industry. It is highly recommended that you work with a Chartered Surveyor who is appropriately trained in EWS assessments or a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Fire Engineers for example. Take into consideration that this could also cause a delay to your sale process, so it is important to factor in a realistic timeline.

Neighbours and access to other apartments may also be a factor that could delay your sale process. The assessment will take into account all the apartments in the building which will need to be reviewed and if your neighbour is not willing to allow access, then unfortunately you may have to consider the legal route to resolve the issue.

According to RICS, the latest lenders update in March 2022 around EWS1 assessments indicates that if there is a remediation recommendation that lenders are required to “take the necessary steps to facilitate lending where a costed and funded remediation plan is agreed with committed dates for starting and finishing all specified/required work”.

Most of the big banks and financial institutions support this measure and there is work being done to include more of the banks and financial institutions. In short, you will struggle with your mortgage application or to sell your property if you do not meet the recommended remediation within the right time frame.

We are always interested to hear your thoughts and experiences. Have you faced any challenges getting the requisite forms done?


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