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Press release

10 FEB 2021

RICS response to Secretary of State announcement on EWS and PII

Gary-Strong

Gary Strong FRICS

Global Building Standards Director

London, UK

RICS

The announcement of guaranteed funding for the removal of dangerous cladding in all properties over 18m will also provide welcome relief to leaseholders, provide greater clarity and confidence to the housing market. Upfront funding is something RICS have long called for, and we welcome this announcement. Government intervention in the costs of remediation of dangerous cladding to sub-18m blocks is to be welcomed. We recognise the complexity of the funding mechanisms, however, it is critical that any loan scheme should be affordable and viable.

The lack of affordable professional indemnity insurance (PII) is a very serious problem affecting many professions at this time, creating real world difficulties for consumers. It is especially acute for professionals, such as chartered surveyors, who work in the built environment and are potentially exposed to fire safety related insurance claims.

RICS has been working intensively with the Government and the insurance industry to highlight the problem and press for a solution. The Government's firm commitment to intervene in the insurance market, through a Government backed PII product is to be welcomed and will, no doubt, increase the number of professionals able to complete external wall assessments, relieving the bottlenecks that currently exist . 

It will mean that the chartered surveying professionals we are upskilling to complete EWS1 forms, creating additional capacity in the market through the EWS assessment training programme, have surety that they will be able to gain PII. This will be welcome news to leaseholders and homebuyers. We will continue to work with all parties to ensure the commitment is delivered on, urgently. 

Alongside today's announcements, our planned guidance note on the valuation of properties in multi storey residential apartment buildings, is currently in the final stage of development, following the recent consultation. The guidance should help further, as it will support greater consistency among valuers and their lender clients for when an EWS1 form is required, reducing the number of unnecessary delays. We call on lenders, insurers and fire safety bodies to support the guidance when it is issued. 

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Gary-Strong

Gary Strong FRICS

Global Building Standards Director

London, UK

RICS

Gary leads the Global Building Standards department of Professional Groups. As a Chartered Building Surveyor, Arbitrator, Chartered Loss Adjuster and Chartered Building Engineer, he has over 38 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial property matters.

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