Helping lenders value residential properties

If you own a flat in a block and want to sell or remortgage your property, you might need an External Wall System (EWS1) form.

The form was developed by the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and UK Finance to help lenders fairly assess how much a property is worth.

The EWS1 form isn’t a legal requirement or a safety record and the requirements for getting one are constantly changing. So please check our useful information below. If you still can’t find what you need, you can contact us or use the links below to find out more.

What is an External Wall System (EWS)?

An External Wall System is the outside wall of a residential building. As well as cladding, which you’ll have heard a lot about in the media, it also relates to bricks. It includes the insulation between any cladding panels and the walls and other fire-stopping measures.

What is an EWS1 form?

The EWS1 form was introduced by (RICS) and UK Finance in December 2019 to provide lenders with sufficient detail about potential remediation costs. Initially, the rules related to buildings over 18m tall but were expanded to include buildings over 11m tall in April 2021. For more information see the RICS website.

What does the process of getting an EWS1 form involve?

  • There are several stages that we need to go through and the process from identifying a building needs to be investigated to obtaining an EWS1 form that lenders will accept can take many months.
  • Although every building is different, we still need to go through the same steps:

1. Building identified as needing investigation

  • We follow guidance developed by the government to help building owners, including housing associations, prioritise which buildings need to be assessed, based on a range of risk factors.
  • The tool is called the Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool (FRAPT) and there are five ratings: 1=high risk, 5=low risk.
  • Having been assessed via FRAPT, the remaining buildings in our investigation programme were all rated 4 or 5.
  • We write to residents to let them know when the investigation into their block is about to start.

2. Building is assessed by an independent fire engineer

  • We appoint independent fire engineers to carry out the assessments.
  • They follow the PAS9980 assessment methodology to carry out what’s known as a Fire Risk Appraisal of the External Wall construction (FRAEW).

3. Fire engineer issues results of their assessment

  • If the fire engineer is satisfied that that no safety repairs are needed, they’ll issue an EWS1 form with a minimum B1 rating, which lenders will accept from leaseholders looking to sell, remortgage or buy more shares in their home.
  • If the engineer needs to take a closer look at the make-up of an external wall as part of the FRAEW, an intrusive survey is carried out. This involves ‘opening up’ sections of the wall to see how it’s constructed. We write to let residents know if an intrusive survey is needed.
  • If the fire engineer advises that remedial work is needed, they will also confirm whether any interim mitigation measures are required, such as fire alarm installation, change of evacuation strategy, waking watch.
  • We write to residents to let them know the results of the fire engineer’s investigation.

4. Determine scope of work

  • The remedial work that the fire engineer has recommended is developed into a scope of work, which is based on those recommendations.  

5. Complete design and programme of work

  • We work closely with a range of specialist contractors, including architects, fire engineers, structural engineers and building control consultants, alongside our internal experts, to develop a programme of work that, once completed, will ensure the building is compliant with all relevant fire safety regulations.

6. Appoint contractor

  • If the original developer has agreed to deliver the work, we will have worked closely with them through the various stages set out above. It can, however, sometimes take many months to come to an agreement on the programme of work and who’s liable for costs. We know that this can be a particularly frustrating time for residents, and we make every effort we can to move the process on as quickly as we can.
  • If we’re appointing a contractor from our framework, we bring them in at the most appropriate stage of the process, depending on the type of project.

7. Apply for approval

  • If it’s a high-rise building (seven storeys or 18 metres plus), the plans need to be submitted to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) for approval. Once submitted, the BSR should make their decision within 12 weeks.
  • If the building is not high-rise, the plans need to be submitted for approval from the local authority Building Control.

8. Preparation before work starts on-site

  • Condition surveys
    Carrying out visual surveys before work starts is standard practice as it enables us to monitor whether any damage is caused whilst the work is being carried out.

  • Setting up site compound
    This is where the developer or contractor has their site office, welfare facilities and storage space for materials and equipment.

9. Work is delivered

  • The developer or contractor starts on-site, delivering the agreed programme of work that’s needed to remediate the block. 
  • We write to residents regularly (at least on a quarterly basis) keeping you updated on progress for the duration of the project.
  • The developers and contractors we work with appoint a Resident Liaison Officer (RLO) to provide updates and manage queries about day-to-day on-site work.

10. Work is completed

  • The developer or contractor demobilises the site. This includes taking down any scaffolding, dismantling their site compound, removing any welfare facilities and storage areas.

11. On completion, EWS1 is issued

  • We write to let residents know that the remedial work has been completed.
  • We include the EWS1 form in our sale/remortgage pack. Copies can also be requested by emailing

Why is getting an EWS1 form an issue for leaseholders?

Currently there is a significant wait to get an EWS1 form. This is due to the acute shortage of fire safety engineers who can carry out the checks required to issue the form.

What is the latest position from lenders on buildings over 11m?

As of 9 January 2023, six high street banks - Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest and Santander – no longer require EWS1 forms as long as leaseholders can provide evidence that:

  • The developer has committed to correct any issues themselves. (Check this list of developers who have signed the government's legally-binding contract.
  • The building is covered by one of the recognised government schemes (the Developer Remediation Contracts or the Medium Rise Scheme or the Building Safety Fund).
  • The leaseholder is protected under the Building Safety Act and has a deed of certificate. See the government website to download a certificate and for information on how to fill it out. If you want to send us a copy, please email it to Alternatively, you can post it to Peabody, 45 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JB. (Once we’ve received it, we’ll keep it on file.)


Lenders will continue to lend and approve mortgages where an EWS1 form or equivalent assessment shows that remediation is not required (A1, A2 or B1 rating).

Please note that individual lender eligibility criteria and lending policies will still apply.

When is an EWS1 form needed?

Based on the current RICS guidance, EWS1 forms are needed:  

For buildings over six storeys where:

  • There’s cladding or curtain wall glazing on the building.
  • There are balconies that stack vertically above each other and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials, such as timber, or the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible material.    

For buildings of five or six storeys where:

  • There’s a significant amount of cladding on the building. (For the purpose of this guidance, a significant amount is considered to be approximately one-quarter of the whole elevation as viewed when standing at ground level).
  • There are aluminium composite materials (ACM), metal composite materials (MCM) or high pressure laminate (HPL) panels on the building.
  • There are balconies that stack vertically above each other and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials, such as timber, or the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible materials.    

For buildings of four storeys or fewer where:  

  • There are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building.

You can find details of the latest RICS guidance here.  

Are building owners legally obliged to provide EWS1 forms?

EWS surveys are discretionary and there’s no statutory or automatic obligation for landlords to carry them out or provide copies of EWS1 forms to leaseholders. However, at Peabody we’re committed to supporting our leaseholders. So we have a full investigation and remediation programme that ensures all our buildings are safe and EWS1 forms are issued where required under current RICS criteria.

How long is an EWS1 form valid for?

An EWS1 form is valid for up to five years from the date that it’s signed. If any significant changes are made to the external wall during those five years, it will need to be assessed again.

When will my building be issued with an EWS1 form?

We’ve prioritised our current three-year investigation programme based on safety factors, including height and type of cladding used. We expect to have completed those that fall within the government’s current building safety guidance by the end of 2024.

We’re writing to all residents in the programme to let them know when we expect to have completed their building’s investigation and, where applicable, issued an EWS1 form.

What can I do if a lender asks for an EWS1 form when it’s not needed?

If you’re looking to sell or staircase, and have an issue with your lender, please contact our Customer hub on 0300 123 3456. We’ll provide you with a letter stating why your building does not require an EWS1 form.

Can I organise an EWS survey for my building?

Lenders will only accept an EWS1 form that’s been completed by a competent professional and organised by the building owner, freeholder or managing agent. Leaseholders don’t have the legal right to carry out the survey or to instruct a surveyor to do it for you.

Why has Peabody completed an EWS1 form when my building is below 18m in height?

Due to the as-of-yet unclear nature of the rules, some lenders are still asking for forms for buildings regardless of their height and safety issues. Once the new guidance, issued in March 2021, has been properly clarified, it’s thought that fewer buildings will require an EWS1 form.

Can I rent out my property until it’s possible to sell it?

There are options to sublet, whether you own your home outright or on a shared ownership basis. You can find out more on the subletting page.

Can I nominate a fire engineer?

You can nominate a fire engineer, but they need to comply with certain criteria. That’s because as a housing association, Peabody and its subsidiaries are governed by public law and have to follow the Public Contract Regulations. You can find out more about these and our procurement process here. Basically, when a particular category of spend (in this case fire engineering consultancy) is more than the amount set in these regulations, we have to follow a compliant procurement route. We also have to ensure any organisation is listed on the IFE register of Chartered Engineers and considered competent by the MHCLG.

Who pays for the EWS1 survey?

At the moment we’re covering the costs of the survey. But we can’t guarantee this will always be the case as we’ve identified 490 residential buildings that need in-depth investigation and assessment in the next three years. This means that like other housing associations, we may at some point need to start charging.

You can find lots of useful information about the EWS1 form via the following links:

Contact us

Got specific questions about Peabody? We’re always happy to help.