Cladding has been in the news in recent years, with many reports of property owners in Scotland struggling to sell flats that contain some form of potentially-flammable, external cladding materials. This page is here to help anyone who is thinking of selling or purchasing a property with external cladding.
Numerous media reports in late 2019 have highlighted that property owners in Scotland are struggling to sell flats that contain some form of potentially-flammable, external cladding materials. This page is here to help anyone who is thinking of selling or purchasing a property with external cladding.
Why is Cladding a Problem?
The Grenfell Tower tragedy occurred in mid-2017. Dangerously-flammable, external cladding was blamed for the rapid spread of fire that contributed to the scale of the tragedy.
Between mid-2017 and late-2019, we experienced a handful of cases where external cladding presented any challenges for property sellers and buyers. However, by late 2019 many of the UK’s major lenders stopped lending on properties where the Home Report made any mention of cladding.
Since then, guidance from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the government as well as the introduction of the “EWS1” form in December 2019 have brought more clarity and a more consistent approach.
Is the Problem Just with Cladding?
No. The issue affects properties with external wall systems (cladding) as well as attachments such as timber balconies.
Can I Sell a Property With External Cladding?
In short, yes, but subject to some further considerations.
If your building is a multi residential building of 2 storeys or above and has any form of cladding or attachments such as timber balconies, lenders are very likely to require some form of certification that these materials are safe. If you obtain certification that the cladding or attachments are safe in the format of an EWS1 form (see below), some lenders will lend.
If you are unable to obtain a satisfactory EWS1 form, you can still sell the property. However, your buying market will be limited to buyers who do not require a mortgage. This will have a negative effect on your selling price. Even if your buyer does not need a mortgage, they may still want to satisfy themselves about the safety of the building as well as their ability to resell the property in the future.
The EWS1 Form
Building owners who want to demonstrate the safety of their buildings can engage the services of fire safety engineers to investigate the combustibility of these materials. The experts then report their findings in an EWS1 form.
The results are either:
- the external wall system is compliant (A1, A2 or B1), or
- remedial work is required to make the external wall system compliant (A3, B2)
How Do I Know if My Property Needs an EWS1 Form?
We can advise you as to whether or not your property requires an EWS1 Form through a combination of our own experience of having sold similar properties in your block as well as having an extensive network of chartered surveyors across Scotland whom we can ask for advice.
Should I Get an EWS1 Form Before I Market My Property for Sale?
There are thankfully more EWS1 providers than in the early days of the EWS1 regime. This has made costs significantly more competitive.
We would recommend that sellers obtain an EWS1 form before marketing their property for sale. This allows us to market the property on the basis that it has a satisfactory EWS1 form in place.
We Are Here to Help
If you are thinking of buying or selling a property that may contain flammable cladding or attachments, our expert New Client Team will be able to help you. Just complete the form on this page or give us a call on 0345 646 0208 (Option 1).
Alternatively, you can book a call back at a time that suits you.