August 25, 2020

Fire safety performance of external walls, facades, balconies and the EWS1 Certificate

The EWS1 Certificate is an assessment about the safety of different types of cladding wall systems
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What is the EWS1 Certificate?

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have issued Advice Notes 14, 18 and 21 for external wall coverings, facades and balconies for residential buildings over 18 metres which has developed into the current External Wall System (EWS) Form.

What does the EWS1 Certificate do?

The EWS1 Certificate is an assessment about the safety of different types of cladding wall systems used in residential buildings in scope located across the United Kingdom. It is not designed to assess other fire safety features or risks.

The external wall survey process and resulting form, is a set way for a building owner to confirm to valuers and lenders that an external cladding system on residential buildings in scope above 18m in height (approx. 6-storeys) has been assessed by a suitable expert. Not every building in scope above 18m will require an EWS form – only those with some form of combustible cladding or combustible material on balconies.

More details

The EWS Form is split in to two options, options A or B:

Option A is for buildings where the materials used in the external wall would be unlikely to support combustion; in this case the signatory would need only the expertise to identify the relevant materials.

Option B is for buildings where Option A does not apply, and a more detailed review and hence higher level of fire expertise is required.

Why is it needed?

The EWS1 certificate delivers assurance for lenders, valuers, residents, buyers and sellers.

Which buildings are effected?

  • Blocks of flats
  • Student accommodation
  • Dormitories
  • Care homes
  • HMOs

How often will an assessment be required?

One assessment will be needed per building, the signed form is valid for 5 years.

What do RICS say?

We do not envisage residential in scope buildings 1-3 storeys in height requiring an EWS form, unless the type of occupation of the building significantly increases risk to life in the event of a fire e.g. a care home with elderly people which could not be evacuated quickly and which will necessitate remediation works that will materially affect value.

What have Summit Environmental Found?

We have recently completed a number of EWS1 forms for our clients. A number of our clients have been requested to provide an EWS1 form even though no combustible materials are present and the building is less than 18m. We have been able to assist and now a number of our clients have now moved onward from their flats.

What happens if combustible cladding is present?

We are currently putting a proposal together for a 6 storey high rise property comprised of 4 blocks of residential properties in London and the removal of polystyrene insulation to the external.

How can Summit Environmental help you?

  • Verify if an EWS1 form is required.
  • Complete the EWS1 form
  • If cladding is present we can complete a more detailed review and advise on remedial requirements.
  • Advise on remedial actions and remove cladding if needed.

Contact Summit Environmental on  or 0203 874 9530

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