Last week, the RICS proposed new guidance designed to reduce the number of buildings that will need an EWS1 fire safety assessment before flats in the block can be mortgaged or re-mortgaged. A consultation on the proposals runs until 25 January, so if you are a leaseholder in an affected block or you are impacted by the use of these forms in any way, you can have your say here.
Taking lower rise buildings out of the equation is good news for leaseholders – some would say that the intention was never to include them in the first place. So if the proposed changes to the form are made following the current consultation, forms should not apply to:
However, regardless of cladding, since the advent of EWS1 investigations those carrying out invasive assessments of residential buildings have unearthed a wide range of other defects in low as well as high rise blocks that could pose a fire safety risk. So what is to be done about that?
Rather than putting the fear of God into flat owners – and pulling even more buildings apart causing huge cost and distress for residents - a better solution may be for owners and building managers to concentrate on ensuring that passive and active fire safety measures in blocks are effective and regularly tested. Constant reminders to residents not to engage in potentially dangerous activities such as balcony barbeques is also really important. Fire safety should always be uppermost in flat owners’ minds – it is too easy to forget that your own actions, as well as others’ may have tragic consequences.
A huge amount of fire safety information will soon be required on handover of new buildings under the new S38 of the fire regulations – and will apply to older blocks too. Routine inspection, testing and maintenance of all systems and processes will be required. This is yet another responsibility to add to the workload of block managers and other ‘accountable persons’ but, if adhered to correctly, the new rules should provide peace of mind for jumpy residents who are rightly concerned that their buildings may have hidden faults.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
Strategic partnerships, holistic delivery/ opportunities, growth, value engineering, thought leadership
Ian Barber MD BTR Mobilisation & Leasing
Runs HQ & site lease-up teams. Drives rent pricing, mobilisation, marketing, happy residents!
Jon Curtis MRICS Head of Building Engineering
Chartered Building Surveyor. Lectures on EWS1 & building safety. Runs CapEx programmes.
Kate Robinson MIRPM MD Blocks/FM Management (London Region)
Master plan setup, ops and staffing and resident engagement. ISO45001 champion.
Lee Harle Partner Ringley Law
Plot conveyancing. Debt litigation. Group Company Secretary.
Anthony Kingdon MIRPM AssocRICS MD Blocks/FM Management (North Region)
Stakeholder engagement. Mixed tenure specialist. Budget management. Plant audit, PPM compliance.
Chris Georgalis MRICS Head of Commercial Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental valuations: retail, leisure. IRR modelling and valuations for secured lending. Compulsory purchase & rent reviews
Nichola Pughe MRICS Head of Residential Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental development & mixed use valuations, IRR modelling. Leasehold enfranchisement specialist
Libby Chen MSc Compliance Manager
Operational Plant & Equipment strategy PPM Compliance lead, Asset tagging Client major projects
Dipesh Parekh Director PlanetRent
Customer centric, vertically integrated PropTech/fin-tech solutions.
Leana Aristodemou MIRPM MARLA AssocRICS Strategic lead: ESG & Asset Business Plan delivery
Financial modelling, valuation analyst to support underwriting & fund reporting.
Natalie Birmingham Helpdesk Support Manager
Trainer & Helpdesk Manager: people, systems,contractors. ISO45001 supply chain accreditation.
Steve Norman Planning Director
Land due diligence (opportunities & constraints) Has contributed to a number of award winning schemes.