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‘I’ve turned away 15 cases because of EWS1 issues’ – Star Letter 31/07/2020

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  • 31/07/2020
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‘I’ve turned away 15 cases because of EWS1 issues’ – Star Letter 31/07/2020
Each week Mortgage Solutions and its sister title Specialist Lending Solutions select the top comments from our readers in our Star Letter section.

 

Both were in response to the article: Fewer than 300 fire inspectors to conduct EWS1 inspections 

Spinmeister said: “I’m no longer taking applications unless an EWS1 form is present. 

So far I’ve lost or turned away about 15 cases and I’m still waiting to see a single one with a completed certificate. 

Anything leasehold except a maisonette, is being told not to waste their time. I’m sure the stamp duty suspension will be a great relief to those who are now effectively prisoners in their own flats. 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will singlehandedly be responsible for 20-30 per cent of the London housing stock becoming unsaleable, Spinmeister added. 

 

Lack of inspectors will cause five-year wait 

Arron Bardoe commented on how a lack of qualified fire inspectors could cause a wait of five to eight years for those without the EWS1 form. 

He said: “Now some surveyors are insisting on an EWS1 for all flats regardless of height and regardless of whether there is cladding – most of us will have been asked for an EWS1 with a tick in box A to confirm there is no cladding – the lack of inspectors will leave many people with unsaleable and unmortgageable properties until there is reform of the rules. 

Bardoe added: “To estimate the effect, I searched for the housing mix in the UK and focused on purpose-built flats which are most likely to be affected as opposed to houses converted flats. That said, conversions would include offices and factories, so I may be underestimating. 

Apparently, there are around 25 million households in the UK and 12 per cent of these are purpose-built flats, so around three million households. If one assumed 10 units per block that gives 300,000 buildings that might require an EWS1. 

Bardoe continued: “With 300 inspectors, this requires each to inspect 1,000 buildings, test any cladding and prepare reports – say one to two days per property at best, especially when including travelling. Inspectors will also want to take weekends off and holidays and may need to attend CPD regularly. 

Added to this current workload will be all new developments; any property that has any changes to its exterior – which automatically requires a new EWS1 – and those with cladding that requires remedial. 

Let’s not forget that, even when the first run is completed, these reports need to be renewed every five years, even for properties without combustible materials. 

My rough guess therefore is this whole process will take five years.  

“People living in purpose-built flats will be able to move or remortgage sometime between now – if they are lucky enough to have an EWS1 – and 2028 if they are at the back of the queue, he concluded. 

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