RICS invites views on EWS1 requirements

RICS invites views on EWS1 requirements

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has opened a consultation on proposed guidance that aims to improve consistency in EWS1 requests.

According to RICS, the guidance will set out a consistent position for valuers who carry out mortgage valuations on when EWS1 forms should be requested for buildings with cladding to avoid unnecessary delays.

It aims to help homebuyers and leaseholders who have been affected by delays in the homebuying market caused by safety concerns over cladding and the cost of remediation.

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Mortgage brokers have previously reported delays and scuppered plans encountered by clients as a result of EWS1 forms.

RICS said it was “particularly keen” to engage leaseholders, homebuyers and those that advise them, such as conveyancers, as it seeks to form a consensus on where an EWS1 form is required or not.

The proposed guidance includes criteria to help valuers decide where an assumption can be made that remediation work, which can affect the value of the property, is unlikely to be needed and an EWS1 should therefore not be required.

Ben Elder, head of valuation standards at RICS, said: “Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, fire safety in our built environment has rightly been under significant scrutiny both in the UK and globally.

“RICS worked with industry to ensure properties were safe from fire risk and to produce the EWS1 form to get the market moving.”

Mr Elder added that the EWS1 process was “never intended” to hold up the market and that the proposed guidance intends to help by providing valuers with clear criteria to help them decide on whether or not an EWS1 form may be required.

He continued: “There will clearly still be many cases where an EWS1 form is necessary, but the guidance and insight resulting from this consultation will enable us to continue to work with stakeholders, including government, to find solutions to help speed up the process for remediating these buildings.”

The consultation, which closes on January 25, comes after an agreement was reached in November between the government and RICS, UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA) that owners of flats in buildings without cladding would no longer need an EWS1 form to sell or remortgage.

The EWS1 process was developed in December 2019 by RICS, UK Finance and BSA, in response to government advice to check all potentially unsafe cladding systems for buildings over 18 metres following Grenfell.

Changes in government advice in January 2020 brought all buildings into scope, so that some residential buildings below 18 metres may require an EWS1 if there are 'specific concerns’.

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