Valuers, conveyancers, lenders, and all those involved in the transaction of flats in multi-story, multi-occupied buildings with cladding have been coming to terms with the recently published RICS Guidance Note and now, publicly available, EWS1 form register that has been set up by the Fire Industry Association and funded by seven high street lenders.
The RICS Guidance Note is intended to offer clarity to Registered Valuers on when to recommend that an EWS1 form be required, with the guidance including the attached flow chart, as well as a range of case studies for valuers to consider before providing advice to lenders. The guidance was issued in March 2021. The financial support by seven high street lenders to implement the Building Safety Information portal, where EWS1 forms can be viewed, is seen as a positive step in helping the sales market for flats function, improving transparency and access to building safety information for everyone involved in the home buying process. The quantity and quality of information held on the portal will evolve, but it is positive that the system has been funded and put in place.
We are now over four years on from the tragedy at Grenfell, and these recent steps should offer some clarity in terms of the valuation and conveyancing process, although there remain numerous challenges and issues around the funding of remedial works that the government and various stakeholders still need to work through to resolve the situation that many long leaseholders have found themselves.