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Updated advice on External Wall Systems (EWS)

Posted on 16 November 2020

We’ve updated our advice and information about External Wall System assessments and the EWS1 form on our website.

If you are a leaseholder in one of our buildings, and are considering re-mortgaging or selling, or you are a shared owner considering staircasing (increasing your share of your home), you need to be aware of changes to Government advice and lenders’ approach to lending.

The Government changed its guidelines on building safety, issuing a series of advice notes, following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017. The aim was help building owners ensure homes were built and maintained safely.

A key focus is on External Wall Systems (EWS), the external coverings of buildings, which includes cladding systems like the one that failed at Grenfell.

The Government has advised that all buildings above 18m (six or seven floors) should have their EWS assessed by a qualified surveyor. An EWS assessment may also be needed for buildings where a risk assessment considers it necessary, regardless of height.

An EWS1 form summarises the findings of the assessment and is designed to be used by building owners to demonstrate a building is safe, so lenders will offer mortgages to home buyers, enable leaseholders to re-mortgage and enable shared owners to staircase.

However, despite some lenders insisting on an EWS1 form, building owners are not legally obliged to provide one. This is a condition being imposed by lenders, based on Government advice.

Our priority is, and always has been the safety of our customers. All our buildings have current fire risk assessments and all our tall towers have adequate layers of fire protection, so we are confident everyone is safe in their homes.

You can find out more about EWS assessments, EWS1 forms and the answers to some frequently asked questions in Re-mortgaging, staircasing or selling properties in our buildings.