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The EWS1 Form Explained

As the Grenfell Tower Fire inquiry continues to develop, so have the lending decisions banks and building societies have made for high rise properties with a potential for fire risks. This has resulted in thousands of flat owners, particularly in high rise buildings across the country unable to sell or remortgage their homes without evidence of an External Wall Survey. Currently, the only recognised survey methodology is via obtaining an External Wall Fire Review which will enable the signing off on an EWS1 certificate. This is the building owner’s responsibility to provide. This statement will explain the EWS1 process.

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What is an EWS1 form?

EWS1 is a synonym for an ‘External Wall Fire Review’ and is a fire safety certification form prepared by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). The main purpose of this is to minimise the risks of fire on the exterior wall materials of a building to ensure it meets cladding regulatory standards. The document has been designed to help experts assist landlords to assess their external wall systems, specifically for residential apartment buildings where the highest floor is at least 18 metres above ground level. Once the process has been completed and cladding has been deemed safe, the building will acquire an EWS1 certificate.

 

How to fill in an EWS1 form

The EWS1 process begins with the name of the landlord and building address and presents two main options. Option A, and B. A relates to buildings where external wall materials are unlikely to support combustion. It is also only for signatories who have the expertise and qualifications, without needing assistance from fire engineers, to identify if the Wall Cladding materials meet fire safety standards. Option A is split into three sub-options:

  • A1 precludes the Wall Cladding containing combustible materials – the building meets fire safety regulations.
  • A2 makes the concession that the wall cladding does contain combustible materials, however, stipulates that a valid risk assessment has been conducted and concludes – the building is not a fire risk due to acceptable Cladding and insulation in situ.
  • A3 establishes that the Wall Cladding build-up does include combustible materials – remedial works will be needed to grant an EWS1 certificate.

The signatory required for Option B requires expertise in Fire Engineering and Fire Risk, and membership of a professional body that deals with fire safety within residential buildings.  Option B is split into two sub-options:

  • B1 – the fire expert concludes remedial works are not needed.
  • B2 – the building does not meet safety standards and work must be commissioned to achieve certification.

The following RICS Flow Chart breaks down these options, and explains what options should be selected, for example, if a fire risk assessment has determined the systems in place are acceptable without remedial works, the signatory signs Option A2, whereas if it is not acceptable, they would need to sign Option A3.

EWS1 Flow Chart

How HS RoofClad can help

As a designated Wall Cladding and Building Fabric expert, HS RoofClad can facilitate the full EWS1 survey-process. All that is required from the client is:

  • A complete initial EWS1 enquiry form
  • Existing external Cladding specification
  • Documentation for the insulation that may be present
  • Documentation for the fire stopping system in place
  • Documentation for the cavity barriers details
  • ‘As fitted’ drawings from construction stages for all the above if available
  • Any previous fire risk assessments

Once this documentation has been submitted, HS RoofClad will move to the review stage, using all the information provided by RICS. A proposal for the required survey will be provided to the client for assessing the Cladding currently in place on the building. When visiting the building HS RoofClad will use expert Building Fabric surveyors, accompanied by a chartered surveyor.

Following the survey, a plan for removing all existing Cladding panels, and exposing the Cavity Barriers behind the brickwork to identify and assess what fireproof solution is in place will be made, each building will vary. HS RoofClad personnel will follow the proposal that was sent to the client and will expose and investigate all relevant locations to confirm the criteria on the submitted EWS1 enquiry form is correct. Any intrusive work that involves the altering of Cladding for inspection will be restored by the team during the visit.

Once the survey has been completed, the surveyor will submit their findings onto a chartered fire engineer. It will then be their responsibility to investigate all the findings and identify any additional required remediation works. HS RoofClad will then submit their completed Façade Report and signed EWS1 form to the client.

 

Ensuring every building is safe

It is HS RoofClad’s moral duty to ensure EWS1 process requirements are fully met. Among the country’s most knowledgeable Cladding experts, it is our responsibility to make sure every building in the country meets relevant Health and Safety criteria, and that there is no danger to life due to fire hazards or other potential risks.

We can provide you with all the information you need to begin the process of obtaining an EWS1 certificate. For more information on how HS RoofClad can provide assistance, Contact Us now.

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