Posted 22 Feb 2024

What Is An EWS1 Form? EWS1 Form Requirements For Property Buyers

apartment / buy / ews1 form / mortgage

More and more property buyers are asking: “What is an EWS1 form?” This guide explores cladding, mortgages and EWS1 form requirements.

In recent years, many homeowners and buyers have asked me: “What is an EWS1 form?” 

It’s a very important question if you own, or are thinking of buying, an apartment in the UK. 

The Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 has raised awareness around the importance of sufficiently assessing properties for fire risks due to cladding. That’s where EWS1 comes in, also known informally as a cladding certificate.

Even if you’re confident that your property does not contain cladding, other parties may seek their own assurances, so it’s worth knowing about the EWS1 survey.

I’ll explain the who, what, when, where, why and how of EWS1 form requirements in this guide.

What is an EWS1 form? EWS1 meaning

An EWS1 form is an acronym for a External Wall System Fire Review certificate.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Building Societies Association and UK Finance introduced EWS1 forms in late 2019.

Before this, but post-Grenfell, lenders wanted assurance on the safety of external wall systems – without a clear system in place, their surveyors devalued many properties.

But there have been some major rule changes to EWS1 since its initial introduction, resulting in a lack of clarity for those needing to provide the certificate to mortgage lenders.

Changes include, as per the House of Commons:

  • December 2019: EWS1 form required as part of property valuations for buildings above 18 metres or six stories
  • January 2020: Buildings of any height required (i.e. also those below 18 metres high) also require this fire risk assessment, according to a government advice note
  • March 2021: RICS confirms some buildings under 18 metres with high pressure laminate (HPL) or combustible cladding need an EWS1 form
  • July 2021: Government says there is ‘no systemic risk of fire in blocks under 18 metres’ and no longer recommends EWS1 forms for these
  • December 2021: RICS confirms that its guidance for buildings under 18 metres remains unchanged

Then in March 2022, aiming to reduce the need for EWS1 forms, the government confirmed several funding schemes to fix cladding-related fire safety issues:

  • 11 metres and above: The Developer Remediation Contracts 
  • 11-18 metres: The Medium Rise Scheme (now called the Cladding Safety Scheme)
  • 18 metres and above: The Building Safety Fund

With high demand for EWS1 forms and a low supply, given the level of expertise required to complete the assessments, this can be a problem for those selling their flats. Developer and government remediation schemes aim to reduce the need for the EWS1 system.

Why do I need to know about EWS1?

It can have an impact on property valuation when either buying, selling or re-mortgaging flats in residential buildings.

EWS1 forms are not required for terraced, semi-detached, or detached houses, as confirmed by housing association Moat

EWS1 forms help lenders determine the risk for a specific building and decide whether to offer a mortgage on one of its apartments based on its external wall system and fire risk.

They are valid for five years. However, after any significant changes to the external wall or attachments to the exterior of the building, there’s a need for a new EWS1 form.

Where is the property’s external wall system?

The external wall system is the outside wall of a residential building – including insulation, fire break systems and, of course, cladding. The EWS1 form focuses on these external walls.

EWS1 forms are not an assessment of fire life safety, or an alternative to a complete fire risk assessment though. A comprehensive fire risk assessment is mandatory for all occupied buildings.

When is an EWS1 form required?

In short, what are the very latest EWS1 form requirements? Flats in multi-storey buildings, especially those over 18 metres tall, are the most likely to need an EWS1 form to satisfy mortgage lenders.

Some flats in smaller buildings that potentially have combustible materials still require an EWS1 form though, according to RICS.

In theory, the aforementioned remediation schemes are supposed to reduce the reliance on EWS1 and ease lenders’ concerns. It can take a long time to issue a building with an EWS1 form – waiting for one can be a barrier to buying and selling apartments.

However, according to Inside Housing, as of June 2023 banks were still asking to see EWS1 forms for:

  • 62% of buildings with more than seven stories
  • 32% of buildings with five to six storeys
  • 10% of all flats in the UK
  • 2% of low-rise buildings

In other words, lenders are asking for EWS1 forms more often than the UK government anticipated, when it stopped recommending these for smaller buildings in July 2021.

Who needs an EWS1 certificate?

If you own a flat in a building that could require an EWS1 form, lenders may ask you for it – when it comes to selling your home or remortgaging, for example.

Similarly if you are planning to buy an apartment in a tall building, your mortgage lender may want to see the EWS1 certificate. EWS1 certificates are not a legal requirement, but some mortgage lenders may not offer a mortgage on properties without one.

It depends on the materials, of course. According to government research:

  • Non-cladding materials include: brick, stone panels or stone, concrete and glass
  • Cladding materials include: aluminium composite material (ACM), brick slips, HPL, metal composite material (MCM), metal sheet panels, render system, plastic, tiling systems, timber or wood

However, leaseholders and mortgage lenders cannot arrange for an EWS1. Only the freeholder, legal owner of the building, or management agent can.

They need to contact a professional body such as the Institution of Fire Engineers to carry out the EWS1 assessment. Qualified fire engineers are responsible for issuing the EWS1 form.

The cost of the assessment varies depending on the size of the building and the amount of cladding. According to safety company Fire Safety Risk Assessment, the minimum cost is likely to be £6,000 but it can rise to nearly £30,000 too.

The very latest new build flats may not need an EWS1 form. That’s potentially the case because The Fire Safety Act 2021 stipulates that fire risk assessments of residential buildings must now include cladding reviews.

But of course, any fire risk assessments pre-2021 likely won’t have included the external wall system.

How can I see my building’s EWS1 report?

As a leaseholder, try searching for it on the Building Safety Information Portal. If it’s not there, ask the freeholder, legal owner of the building or management agent for the EWS1 form.

In previous articles, I have written about what a flying freehold is and also, what a share of freehold means.

Based on the EWS1 assessment, the building will have one of the following ratings. Here’s how to read them:

Option A – The external wall materials are not likely to support combustion:

  • A1 – There is no cladding containing significant quantities of combustible material
  • A2 – The risk assessment of cladding is complete – no remedial works needed
  • A3 – Cladding is unlikely to support combustion – however, remedial works may be required

Option B – The cladding contains combustible materials:

  • B1 – The fire risk is low enough that remedial works are not needed
  • B2 – The fire risk is high enough to necessitate remedial work

If the building is over 11m tall and receives a B2, the government will pay to remove the cladding from one of the aforementioned funds, which housing developers also pay into.

Final thoughts: EWS1 compliant buildings

I hope this guide has answered your queries around the EWS1 process. If you’re buying or selling a flat, it’s worth keeping in mind the:

  • Height of the overall building
  • Materials used in the external wall system
  • Likelihood of mortgage lenders asking to see an EWS1 form

Plan ahead as much as possible, to reduce the chances of a wait for an EWS1 form slowing things down.

Just like property searches in the property buying process, it can take a while. Ultimately it has the potential to be one of the things that can hold up an exchange of contracts.

Once your mortgage lender has the EWS1 form, or confirms that they don’t need to see one, you’re one step closer to making that big move! Here is my first time buyer checklist – as well as 16 moving house tips.

Take a look at the Fine Living blog for more useful articles. In recent posts I have covered the non-resident landlord scheme and answered the common question: “Do you pay council tax on an empty property?

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, let or rent, the Fine Living team is here for you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Simon has been great throughout all the process. He is extremely professional and reliable, I would definitely recommend him.

Luca Baldini


Easy, quick and smooth experience overall.

Ana Maa


Simon has been a great guide and support throughout our tenancy. He was always available, helpful and he managed the communication with our landlord perfectly.

Paul Biard


Renting our first London apartment through Simon was an incredible experience! Handling everything from abroad was made effortless by Simon's exceptional assistance. He accommodated our requests promptly, addressing all queries without delay. Our experience was flawless, and we're immensely grateful to Simon. We highly recommend his services to anyone seeking to rent in London, especially from overseas.

Zvika Weksler


Simon was extremely professional and a pleasure to work with in securing a flat in London. Would certainly recommend to all

Tommy Griffin


Simon is truly a special estate agent. He's knowledgable and cares about the relationship with customers going the extra miles to inform properly and not to rush in his viewing. He makes you feel extremely taken care of and guided alongside the process.

Davide Cavagnino


I recently had the pleasure of working with Simon, and I must say, he exceeded all expectations. Simon's professionalism was evident from the get-go, and his friendly demeanor made the leasing process an absolute breeze. What truly impressed me was his lightning-fast response time to all of my inquiries. No question was too small, and he always made me feel like a top priority. If you're in need of leasing assistance, look no further than Simon. He's the epitome of excellent customer service and professionalism.

Laura Giersdorf


Seriously knowledgeable, very reassuring and the friendliest chap you could hope to meet. Goes well beyond "just" an estate agent. More like a high end property consultant that can talk about investment decisions, interior design and everything in between. Highly recommended!

Dipta Malik


Can’t thank Simon enough for helping us secure our first flat here in London. He was super helpful during the whole process and was always available for any questions. We are really happy!

Abby Wilson


Simon’s service was top notch. Professional, quick to respond and a great mediator between me and the landlord. Definitely a good experience overall. 🙌

Isauro López


I was really impressed by the service I received here, in particular from Jack. He was 'on it' from the start and took his time in understanding what kind of property we were after and our other requirements. He was knowledgeable, professional and gave us an all-round easy experience and personal service. To be honest, I'm still pinching myself that he managed to find us such a great place to rent. Would highly recommend.

India Semper-Hughes


I've known Simon for quite a while now and his expertise and effort to attend to clients/tenants queries and problems are second to none. Simon is efficient, which comes from his years of experience and therefore things get sorted quickly. In a time where things are so fast paced, it's nice to know there is someone competent in charge dealing with the situation.



Simon is fully hands on and on top of everything. Has made my life so easy while being an overseas landlord.

Roxanne Cohen


Simon is great to work with, super friendly and responsive. I would highly recommend house hunting with him!

Kelly Lenihan


Simon was a great agent. Understood what we were looking for, excellent communication and a very nice guy to work. Would highly recommend.

Luke Russo


Very professional and offers excellent service. You will be well looked after. Impressed with the technology and quality of virtual viewings. Thank you Simon!

Arta Alfere


We've been working with Simon for a number of years now and he has always been efficient and pragmatic on each letting, doing his best for both the landlord and tenant. He has also overseen works for us and is thorough in his inspections. Overall, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with.



It's been a great experience renting a flat through Simon, he is always very kind and helpful

Tijana Markovic


This is truly a unicorn of an organization! Simon is approachable, thoughtful, and extremely knowledgeable about his property. He made the entire process completely painless from the viewing through to signing the lease. He’s incredibly communicative and ensured that our rental was finished to the highest standard of cleanliness and repairs. We are now the proud tenants of the most wonderful home and are so grateful that we found Simon. 10/10 service, no notes!

Michaela Zamloot


Simon manages a rental flat for us and we very much enjoy working with him. His service is exceptional. He takes care of everything for us and we feel totally reassured that our property is in great hands. Any little issues our tenants might have, such as small repairs etc are dealt with right away in an efficient and professional manner. We recently had a change of tenants and Simon did a fantastic job of marketing the property and finding us excellent new tenants. He is proactive, communication is excellent and he is a lovely guy to work with too! Highly recommend.

Sarah Faulds


5 stars at least! Moving abroad with a property in London and a busy life I wanted someone to deal with my property. Simon has been amazing as he is personally taking care of everything. He is quick, he explains what I do not know and he is very professional. He takes on the responsibility and take actions. 100% recommended

Erika Felici


Simon is the most reliable trustworthy letting agent you can find! Paying attention to all details and doing fantastic job!I know him for 5 years, did few flats with him and all went smoothly. Try yourself and see.

Yael Epstein


An absolute pleasure to interact with Simon. A true professional with a mastery of the London property market. Very knowledgeable on all his properties, with high quality virtual viewings tailored to the current climate. Highly recommended.

Alfie Ashton


The whole process was a breeze, and everything happened in a blur. I moved from a foreign country and Fine Living was able to get everything done within a week, from answering my first message to handing over the keys. I absolutely recommend!

Merwane Drai


Simon was fantastic as both a lettings and sales agent. Very communicative and flexible in his approach.

Chloe Nankivell


Jack and Simon done an incredible job working around the current restrictions with the pandemic and managed to secure a sale on our property within months. They took on all the strain and pressure of securing a sale within a tight timeframe and made us feel at ease. They took every precaution to ensure we were safe during viewings and ensured everyone followed strict rules to ensure our safety and the safety of others. Both were great at communicating and offered constructive advice throughout that helped secure our sale. Thank you both for everything

Amal Jaber


Simon has been an excellent professional. He was very helpful and trustworthy since the first time I visited the flat. He went out of his way to make sure my needs and the landlord's were met and the lease signed as quickly as possible. In the uncertain environment of the London property market, having Simon's help was invaluable.

Nicola Speranza


Simon is professional, pragmatic and efficient. He gives us great confidence that our properties are being managed well.



Excellent service, would highly recommend.

Kirk Pereira


Simon is absolutely fantastic to work with. He is authentic, honest and trustworthy. As first time renters in London, Simon explained everything to us and remained accessible throughout the entire process. Definitely the best agent experience we have had.

Jackson Smith


Really smooth move in process, Probably the best I’ve experienced so far living in the city! It’s been really nice having Simon/fine living as our estate agent - you can really tell they look after the tenants which can be quite unheard of nowadays.



I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot ch


I recently purchased a flat through Fine Living and I couldn't be happier with the service I received. From the very beginning, the communication was outstanding. They kept me informed every step of the way, promptly answered all my questions, and were always available to address any concerns I had. The entire process was smooth and stress-free. Simon and Steve were professional, efficient, and made buying a flat a positive experience. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy or sell a property.



The service received from Simon was excellent. From ensuring all maintenance jobs were attended to, all legal requirements were adhered to and actually finding the tenant. A very seamless process. Would highly recommend.

Jennifer Nursiah


Positive experience working with Simon & team, from the start with the viewing, they were very responsive and timely in getting all the my questions answered and documents sent during the letting process. Would 100% recommend their services!

Joseph Chung


We noticed a significant difference when our landlord change from our previous management company to Fine Living. We received information and response to our inquiries very quickly and when needed, we were able to communicate more effectively with the landlord. We felt that Simon cared not only about the landlord but also us, the tenants.

Alejandra Cordero


I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot chollet


I would highly recommend Simon and Fine Living to anyone looking for a professional, attentive and transparent real estate agent to work with. Simon went above and beyond what I expected in order to successfully complete the sale and always did so with a helpful and respectful manner.

Alan Casey


I engaged Simon and Fine Living for the legal work on letting my home, his knowledge of the lettings market and the legal aspects made me feel very comfortable using him. We’ve got a great tenant and Simon is available should I need him for any assistance.

Kirk Smith


Excellent service from Fine Living the second time around. Always kept updated & the process was thorough & seamless. Would highly recommend!

Jennifer Nursiah


Simon is one of the best estate agents I have ever worked with. He really cares about looking after his clients and properties and makes the whole process easy and stress free. Would highly recommend

Manal Shaker


Simon was very accomodating and helpful throughout the rental application process

Brett Felsenthal


see all Google reviews

🍪 Cookie consent

We value your privacy! Please take a moment to customise your cookie preferences. By clicking 'Submit,' you agree to the use of cookies as described below:

Collects data on user interactions to improve website performance.
Ad Personalisation
Customises ads based on user interests.
× How can we help you?