The government have announced that EWS1 forms will no longer be required for buildings below 18m in height.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick described the move as a “significant intervention by government and lenders” as he opened the Building Safety Bill’s second reading debate in parliament today.
The decision comes after an expert panel commissioned by the government found there was no “systemic risk” of fire in smaller blocks.
Instead, the government is recommending a more “proportionate and evidence-based” approach to fire safety. It said risk should be managed through measures such as alarm systems or sprinklers, and that the overwhelming majority of medium and low- rise buildings (those under 18m) with cladding should not require expensive remediation.
The EWS1 form was introduced in 2019 in response to the Grenfell tower fire which killed 72 people in 2017. It was intended to record in a consistent way what assessments have been carried out on the external wall construction of residential buildings. Lenders have asked for EWS1 forms to be completed to allow them to value the properties.
However, a lack of accurate information about blocks, particularly of smaller blocks which have often not been prioritised for fire safety work, have led to difficulties in getting blocks valued and meant leaseholders have struggled to sell or remortgage their homes.