An EWS1 certificate reporting on the safety of cladding on a block of flats in Cardiff has been found to be fake, according to a report by the BBC.
The forgery was discovered by a resident of Marseilles House in Century Wharf. According to the BBC article, the resident, a retired police office, became suspicious over the External Wall Survey (EWS1) that was issued for the block of flats in the Butetown area.
Flat owner Gareth Griffiths is reported to have said ‘When I looked at it, the writing didn’t look great for a professional RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) surveyor. When I rang the surveyor, she was horrified that the survey took place with her signature’.
Property management company Warwick Estates contracted Newbridge based Specialist Façade Inspections to conduct the EWS1 survey. However, Specialist Façade Inspections reportedly stated that they only produce a report. This is then signed off by third-party chartered surveyor for a fee, and they stated that they had also been the victim of a fraud.
The company's founder Paul Tedstone was reported as stating that ‘the forged signature was also used on five or six other EWS1 certificates’. He could not provide contact details for the third party surveyor or the name of the company’.
Mr Tedstone said the company has withdrawn every certificate with the false signature, reviewed each case and reissued each certificate.
Further forged EWS1 Certificates uncovered
Further investigation by WalesOnline has reportedly found 15 more forged EWS1 certificates linked to Specialist Façade Inspections. The report states that it has now emerged that the forged signature was also found on several other EWS1 forms. Specialist Façade Inspections reissued certificates under a new inspector’s name, who they claim has ‘huge experience’ and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
However, according to the WalesOnline report the CIOB state that the new inspector is neither a current member nor qualified to sign the forms, invalidating the fire safety certificates. At least 15 more certificates were issued by the company with forged signatures and possibly even more.
David Kennedy, the chief executive of Columbia Group, a property investment company, was issued with replacement certificates for work done by Specialist Facade Inspections. Mr Kennedy attempted to verify the qualifications of one of the new named inspectors. He wrote to the CIOB who told him the inspector is not a chartered member nor ever has been.
Mr Kennedy is reported as stating ‘What these operators are doing is undermining certain parts of the building profession. There needs to be better guidance on a level of qualification that is acceptable. There should be greater transparency. You have to put some legwork in to get some information’
How can Anstey Horne help?
At Anstey Horne we only use our in-house team of Chartered Surveyors to undertake EWS1 surveys. Our EWS1 certificates are signed by registered members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), and the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE). The EWS1 certificates we issue are covered by our Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Each EWS1 certificate is issued following a site visit to inspect the construction of the external walls. A review of design drawings is insufficient as it would not identify the ‘as built’ make-up of the external walls. Anyone offering a ‘desktop study’ would not comply with the EWS1 process.
The team can also advise on how you can access the Government’s £400 million fund for remediation of ACM cladding, and the £1 billion Building Safety Fund.
Our experts understand the EWS1 assessment process including what information is needed and at what stages. Our specialist service includes the procurement of a specialist design team of fire engineers, cladding engineers and cost consultants to advice on the full remediation of the external façade.
For further help & advice please contact :
Head of Building Consultancy
DD: 020 7947 0974
Details of questions we are often asked about the EWS1 process can be found on our FAQs page.
Also see our EWS1 Fact Sheet for further information.