What EWS1 forms are and why they are hard to obtain

Since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, a number of potential building safety concerns have been uncovered. The government has been conducting fire safety tests on materials such as the ACM cladding which was found on Grenfell Tower. Building owners have also been inspecting their buildings for safety concerns and remediating them as a priority.

Because the issues uncovered are so complex and there are so many buildings to inspect and remediate, it is not always easy to tell whether an individual building has been appropriately constructed using safe materials. Mortgage providers are therefore asking for additional information about a building’s external wall system in an EWS1 form before they are willing to lend against it.

Obtaining an EWS1 form can be difficult. It requires input from the same experts who are needed to carry out remedial works in buildings with the most urgent safety concerns. There are very few of these experts in comparison to the large number of buildings that need to be inspected.

The limited availability of experts and resources to carry out inspections and remediation mean that some housing associations estimate it could take up to a decade to complete all inspections, EWS1 forms and remediation.

This would mean unacceptable delays to buying or selling homes, which is deeply frustrating to all of those affected. Housing associations have been doing whatever they can to find solutions to this critical issue, working with leaseholder groups, the government, the building industry, mortgage lenders and surveyors