For buildings over six storeys, an EWS1 form should be required where:
There is cladding or curtain wall glazing on the building or
- Some balconies stack vertically above each other, and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials (e.g. timber), or the decking is constructed with combustible materials balconies are directly linked by combustible material.
- For buildings of five or six storeys, EWS1 form should be required where:
- There is a significant amount of cladding on the building (for this guidance, approximately one-quarter of the whole elevation estimated from what is visible standing at ground level is a significant amount) or
- there are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building or
- Some balconies stack vertically above each other, and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials (e.g. timber), or the decking is constructed with flammable materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible materials.
- For buildings of four storeys or fewer, an EWS1 form should be required where:
- There are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building.
We recently sold two properties: four storeys and below one in Lock House E10 and the other in Furrow Lane E9. Both below four levels and both came with accompanying letters from the freeholder that no ACM, MCM or HPL material was used in the building's construction; however, the buyers still failed to obtain a mortgage from mainstream lenders, citing an EWS1 form is required. With banks having a great time now because of the stamp duty holiday, they lend a hand over fist to first-time buyers and feel no need to open and adhere to the EWS1 sector of the market.
The other sector is the re-mortgage market. If you are looking to re-mortgage and your bank is now not lending due to the EWS1 form, you will find your mortgage jumping up sometimes 3 x times what you were paying until an EWS1 form is in place. The banks are acutely aware that once the stamp duty holiday expires, there will be a dip in first-time buyers; however, the secondary market will start to open, and the banks will then begin to be battling over clients who could not re-mortgage prior but will now accommodate those clients. Is this another well-calculated move by the banks at the expense of customers? If the banks adhere to the criteria set out by RICS and government guidelines, this problem would not be as big as it has snowballed into now.
Light at the end of the tunnel: We have seen some banks starting to tentatively align themselves with the RICS guidelines, such as Santander and TSB, but you still must go through the risk assessment team and jump through hoops for them to lend however the further the time goes along the more lenders should come into the playing field soon.