An EWS1 certificate is an External Wall System Fire Review certificate.
They come into play when a leaseholder is buying or selling or re-mortgaging an apartment in a multi-storey multi-occupied residential building.
It is not a building safety certificate or a legal requirement. It is a mortgage valuation tool. EWS1 certificates are not issued by the Fire Brigade.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and mortgage lenders jointly created the EWS1 form. It was launched in December 2019 as a way for mortgage lenders to assess the external wall safety of buildings over 18 meters.
It helps them decide whether to offer a mortgage on any given apartment within multi-storey, multi-occupied residential buildings.
Over time, they have been used for buildings under 18 meters. This reflects the Government’s Building Safety guidance published in January 2020 which applies to buildings of any height.
To find the latest information on which buildings EWS1 forms apply to, and current exemptions for buildings under 18 meters, please see Cladding Q&A (rics.org).
The certificate gives two main options:
- Option A is for buildings where the external wall system is unlikely to support combustion.
- Option B is for buildings with combustible materials present in the external wall system, which may or may not need to be remediated.
The survey outcome for each block will fall into five categories, or ratings:
A1 rating There are no attachments whose construction includes significant quantities of combustible materials (i.e. materials that are not of limited combustibility).
A2 There is an appropriate risk assessment of the attachments. This confirms that no remedial works are needed.
A3 Where neither of the above two options apply, there may be potential costs of remedial works to attachments.
B1 Surveyors conclude that in their view the fire risk (Note 8) is sufficiently low that no remedial works are required.
B2 Surveyors conclude that an adequate standard of safety is not achieved, and they have identified to the client organisation the remedial and interim measures required (documented separately).
The Mayor of London has also issued EWS1 best practise guidance.
This sets out how landlords can raise standards and improve service to leaseholders when dealing with EWS1 forms.