Following the Grenfell Tower disaster there has been intense conversation and change over the building regulations in place to assess the safety of exterior walls on high-rise residential blocks.
The External Wall System Fire Review (EWS1) certificate, launched in 2019, allows building owners to prove that their external wall system has been assessed for safety by a suitable expert. Not only providing safety assurance for building tenants, the form also ensures that a valuation can be provided for a mortgage or re-mortgage on their property, should they decide to sell at any point.
Whilst originally only required for buildings over 18m tall, as of January 2020 buildings of any height can be put into consideration for an EWS1 form following the Government’s Building Safety guidance. Not every building legally requires the certification, but the remediation of external wall cladding is a necessary measure to assure the safety of residents.
Following the assessment of one of our largest residential blocks of apartments near Canary Wharf, we found that remedial work was required to safeguard our residents and successfully obtain an EWS1 form.
Prioritising tenant care, we do everything we can to ensure our leaseholders and tenants feel safe and comfortable in their homes. That’s why, during the lengthy process of obtaining the certification, we worked with our developer client to ensure that the necessary remedial works were completed. We were also able to assure our leaseholders that they would not be asked to contribute towards the cost of the remedial work.
After a remediation period, we are pleased to announce that last week, we were able to deliver the good news to leaseholders that the EWS1 form had been received. The building was given a B1 rating to confirm that no further remedial works are required to the external walling due to the fire risk being sufficiently low.
Exemplifying our sustained efforts and commitment to the safeguarding of our residents throughout the process, we were thrilled to hear their excitement on receiving the news. One tenant said: “After stressful times, thanks to your effort and attention the safety problem is resolved.”
On 28th June 2022, the Building Safety Act 2022 came into force, stating that landlords are now financially viable, in law, for the remediation of historical building-safety defects. All building owners must now take responsibility for the dangerous buildings they own, meaning that leaseholders will never again be charged for all necessary remediation works, giving leaseholders greater security in their lease agreements.
The change in law is a positive step forwards for the wider industry, and one that we as a business had already taken. Our careful and considered approach to property management allows us to assure the safety and happiness of tenants in our properties across London and the South East.