Why do you need an EWS1 Certificate?
Prior to the Grenfell tragedy compliance with building regulations was regarded as sufficient evidence that a building was safe. Buildings were signed off as compliant with regulations at the time of construction by either a local authority buildings inspector or a private inspector under the approved inspectors scheme.
Subsequently the government created an independent expert panel to advise on building safety. Its advice sought to shift responsibility away from approval under building regulations to the ‘building owner’. The government published Advice Note 14 in December 2018, intended to provide clear guidance to building owners that it was their responsibility to check the safety of all buildings of more than 18 metres.
The safety panel issued no guidance on how this safety should be evidenced. Mortgage lenders became worried that they now had no means to verify that a building was safe. An ordinary valuer does not have the skills necessary, nor would they be in a position to carry out the level of work required to make this assessment. They could not assign a value to a flat for the purposes of a loan without some other form of evidence.
As a result of this the EWS form and process was developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It was intended to provide a consistent method of assessing and recording the external wall construction of residential buildings.