Post-Grenfell Safety Check Lifted for Uncoated Dwellings | Grenfell Tower fire

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Security checks introduced after the Grenfell fire will no longer be necessary for homes in buildings without siding after thousands of homeowners have been left “in limbo” by the requirement.

In the aftermath of the disaster, which claimed the lives of 72 people in 2017, surveyors acting for mortgage lenders began to conduct an examination of exterior wall fires – known as EWS1 – on apartments before quitting. ‘they cannot be sold or re-indebted.

EWS1s were requested in some cases even though the buildings had no exterior cladding – one of the causes of the Grenfell fire – delaying the sale process and frustrating many apartment owners.

But the government announced on Saturday that the forms will no longer be needed for uncoated buildings, following an agreement with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA).

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Through no fault of their own, some apartment owners have been unable to sell or mortgage their homes, and this cannot continue.

“This is why the government got an agreement that the EWS1 form will not be necessary on buildings where there is no siding, thus providing certainty to the nearly 450,000 homeowners who may have feel stuck in limbo.

Building owners are legally required to undertake fire risk assessments on all apartment buildings, but the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said new guidance developed by the RICS will be made available to inspectors so that the number of vessels requiring an EWS1 can be reduced.

The government has already been criticized by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which said many people remain “trapped” in buildings with dangerous siding, unable to sell apartments whose value has depreciated considerably.

The PAC said residents have reported worsening mental health problems due to concerns for their safety and have faced high costs of funding interim measures such as “wake-ups” – constant patrols for their safety. monitor buildings for signs of fire.

PAC President MP Meg Hillier said: ‘Thousands of people have been doomed to lives of stress and fear in unsaleable homes with life-changing bills – for the works and for the fire guard that is necessary for them to sleep. overnight until it’s done.

“The government repeatedly made what turned out to be pie in the sky promises and then failed to plan, resource or deliver.

The MHCLG has also announced nearly £ 700,000 to train more appraisers, speeding up the homeowner appraisal process in cases where an EWS1 form is required.

The news was welcomed by the BSA, which said the move “will draw attention for further investigation into higher risk buildings.”

A joint statement from BSA and UK Finance said: “We welcome the announcement of training and guidance for assessors who will provide more assessors and work to ensure that these assessors have the professional liability insurance required.

“Over time, this will allow for a more proportionate approach, allowing these assessors to sort out the buildings they are examining and focus their attention for further investigation on the higher-risk buildings.

“The goal of the lenders is to keep everyone safe, while allowing for a normally functioning market and we will continue to work with the government and RICS to find the best solution for affected clients.

“Concretely, with the exception of a few occasions where they were requested in error, which have since been rectified, an EWS1 form has never been required for a building without any form of coating.

“There are buildings which may appear to be constructed of solid bricks, but which are in fact clad in unknown material behind the brick and some unlined buildings may have balconies constructed of combustible material that a surveyor can return for further investigation. thorough.

RICS Managing Director Sean Tompkins said: “We are aware of the serious impact this has had on some homeowners and we agree that uncoated buildings should not go through the process.

“We are going to advance work with the industry on this. Additionally, we recognize the severe shortage of fire engineers in the market to perform EWS1 assessments and welcome government support to work with us to improve the skills of other regulated professions, such as licensed land surveyors, to to create additional capacity in the market.

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