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How EnviroBuild Can Help You Pass Your EWS1 Review

Eva Mee Dec 09, 2020
Construction News Technical

Why are homeowners struggling to sell or insure their properties?

high rise buildingThe 2017 Grenfell catastrophe was referred to as ‘one of the UK’s worst modern disasters’, resulting in a government ban on using combustible materials in the external wall structure and attachments of new high-rise buildings over 18 metres in height. Despite this legislation being in place since December 2018, very few buildings with combustible cladding or balconies have been replaced and the problem has been dragging, with ongoing disputes over responsibility of refurbishment costs lagging progress. Due to these slow developments, homeowners are struggling to insure or sell their homes, and many are trapped in their un-mortgageable properties being forced to remain living in dangerous conditions.

EnviroBuild’s Class A decking and paving systems, complete with full substructure, are completely non-combustible, ensuring compliance with all recent fire legislation and therefore helping to guarantee the successful completion of the EWS1 process. We strive to aid the nation-wide refurbishment of balconies so that homeowners are able to sell or insure their flats, and finally move on.

find out more

What is a Form EWS1

In an attempt to combat issues in the valuation and sale of residential properties over 18m in height, the External Wall Fire Review, and accompanying EWS1 Form, was launched in December 2019. This involved the introduction of a new standardised process to monitor balcony refurbishments across the UK, where qualified fire-safety professionals were to inspect the external structure of buildings above 18m in height, assessing their combustibility. The EWS Review process was ultimately introduced to encourage lenders and valuers to offer mortgages.

The EWS1 form provides two options for the fire-safety professional to allocate to the assessed property; option A and B. Within this template, the form offers a selection of tick-box options, which concludes the extent of risk posed by the combustibility of the building’s external wall system. In short, the final consideration will be the allocation of an option within an A1-3 and B1-2 requisite, with A3 and B2 results concluding that the property poses a risk high enough to demand remedial work. The results of the EWS1 form are valid for 5 years and cover the building as a whole.

However, the introduction of the EWS1 form has had little success, predominantly due to the limited number of qualified professionals available to carry out the review. In addition, there is no statutory requirement on a building owner to procure an EWS1 assessment, with many refusing to take action due to inspection charges and potential refurbishment costs. There has also been widespread confusion over which properties truly require the EWS review, with some lenders requesting valuers to implement the EWS1 form on a wider range of builds than originally outlined. As a combined result of these defects, waiting times for the EWS review are long and progress is exceedingly slow, with some building owners being given inspection dates into 2026, resulting in growing frustration amongst leaseholders struggling to sell or insure their homes.

What is EnviroBuild’s solution to the Form EWS1?

EnviroBuild have been involved in numerous balcony refurbishments, helping building owners and residents pass the EWS1 review by offering market-leading aluminium-decking and paving solutions, which can be directly retrofitted onto existing timber or WPC decked balconies. In collaboration with Grainger Plc and Axis Europe, EnviroBuild’s Hyperion 145 Pro-Grip decking was selected to be retrofitted onto the balconies of 1 Bomore Road, Kensington, offering the esteemed strength and adaptability required for this redevelopment. EnviroBuild’s Luxury Italian Porcelain in Silver was also installed onto the communal courtyard, patio and corridor areas of this Bomore Road project, further ensuring the non-combustibility of this build in order to successfully pass the EWS review. You can find a full collection of commercial case studies here, including an aluminium decking installation for ENGIE’s Ensign Court, and a paving project for the balconies of Thrayle House with Henry Construction and Network Homes. 

Ensign Court Commercial Flooring Decking Case Study

Our non-combustible Hyperion decking ranges, 145 Pro-Grip and 150 Aqua-Channel, offer very price competitive boards which are purposely specified for balcony and terrace areas. With options for clipless systems, built-in drainage, traditional or continuous surface aesthetics, as well as a range of neutral colours, we can supply the perfect fire-rated external flooring system for any refurbishment project. In addition, we offer Luxury Italian Porcelain paving, fusing the practicality of porcelain with authentic and sophisticated stone, wood and concrete finishes. Each EnviroBuild paving tile is made with 40% recycled material and produced using 100% renewable energy.

get in touch

For technical information around installation, and more details on the features and benefits of our non-combustible aluminium decking and porcelain paving, the installation guide is the best repository of knowledge. Please get in touch with our commercial team with any questions or queries.