William Martin Compliance Advice
On first reading, people might be forgiven for thinking that the changes to the EWS1 process will now mean that no further inspection work is required for buildings without cladding.
This is not the case, as the supplementary guidance states that:
- the functional requirements of the relevant building regulations in force at the time of construction still have to be determined which can only be done through the invasive inspection process;
- the information obtained through the invasive inspection process will be required to enable risk based judgements to be made to determine what further action may / may not be necessary;
- ACM cladding (and other metal composite material cladding) with unmodified polyethylene filler (category 3 in screening tests), on buildings of any height still needs to be removed as soon as possible;
- other cladding forms on buildings 18m or more in height will need to be specifically risk assessed in order to determine the need for remediation.
Whilst it is clear that the focus of the new Government guidance is to free up the housing market in relation to blocks of flats, the focus is very much not to alter the need for building owners to make sure their buildings are fire safe.
Although it is likely that mortgage lenders will reduce the need for EWS1 forms for certain buildings which do not have external cladding, at the present time, their position is not entirely clear as they have stated that they have not yet signed up to these changes.
Furthermore, the whole inspection process is currently being reviewed and the RICS will be issuing additional guidance for surveyors in the near future.
So in conclusion, external façade inspections will still be required and more guidance is anticipated to help in the risk based judgements on what remediation measures may / may not need to be taken, which appears to be in line with the new requirements of the Fire Safety Bill due out next year.