Responding to a written question, Housing minister Christopher Pincher (pictured) said his department estimated than nearly 500,000 leaseholders should not need to supply the form following the publication of the March guidance from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which clarified exactly which property types required the EWS1 cladding certificate.
RICS stepped in to curb unnecessary requests from mortgage lenders that were unclear of which building types and cladding materials triggered the need for an EWS1 to be completed.
Pincher added: “Most major lenders, representing roughly 80 per cent of the mortgage market, have said that they will adopt the RICS guidance, or already take a markedly less risk-averse approach.
“Recent data from one major lender suggests that an EWS1 already exists for 50 per cent of mortgage applications where one is requested, and we are working with industry to ensure this picture only improves.”
Pincher said the government continued to challenge the industry on its use of the EWS1 process and data has been requested to highlight how the RICS guidance is being applied and how that impacts the mortgage process.
The new RICS guidelines spell out when an EWS1 form is needed.
Buildings of any height with high pressure laminate (HPL) cladding warrant an EWS1 form, a requirement which was not included in the original guidance.
Buildings which are five storeys or higher with combustible cladding with balconies that are linked or vertically stacked with combustible materials such as timber will also need a certificate.
For buildings over six storeys, an EWS1 form will be needed if there is cladding or curtain wall glazing.
Meanwhile, for buildings of five or six storeys, a certificate is required where there is significant cladding, which is confirmed by RICS as approximately one quarter of the whole elevation.
A certificate is also required if there is HLP, metal composite material (MCM), or if aluminium composite material (ACM) panels have been used.
For buildings of four storeys or fewer, a form is needed if there are ACM, MCM or HPL panels present.
Properties which are five or six storeys tall will not need to be inspected if they do not have ACM, MCM or HPL cladding or if any cladding used covers less than a quarter of the building.
The guidance also said if a lender or valuer is sure a building owner has met the criteria in the consolidated advice note which was issued by the government in January 2020, an EWS1 form will not be needed.
A form will also not be needed for buildings taller than 18 metres with a valid building control certificate in accordance with building regulations.
Buildings which already have an EWS1 form will still be valid despite the updated guidance and this applies to a whole building or block for five years.