Building safety inspections
New building safety guidelines
Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, the Government has changed its building safety guidelines.
The new guidelines have been developed to ensure your safety in the unlikely event of a fire in your building.
Your safety is our top priority, so to make sure that your building meets with these guidelines we are currently undertaking one of the UK’s largest building safety inspection programmes. These inspections will tell us whether we need to carry out works to your building to make sure that the new guidelines are met.
If you are a leaseholder, we hope that these inspections will also enable us to provide you with an EWS1 form, which your or your buyer’s mortgage lender may ask for if you wish to sell, staircase or remortgage your property.
We are undertaking our inspections in two phases.
Phase 1: Buildings over 18m in height (six storeys or above)
Our first phase of inspections, taking place between September 2020 and September 2021, are focusing on buildings 18m or higher.
This is in line with government guidance, as well as guidance from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), who are working with the government to provide guidance for mortgage lenders.
To ensure resident safety in buildings where work is required, and where requested by a Fire Engineer, L&Q will install a Waking Watch or temporary fire detection system.
L&Q residents are not charged for these measures and to date we have protected residents from over £20 million in Waking Watch/alarm installation costs.
Phase 2: Buildings under 18m in height (five storeys or below)
We will begin the inspection of more than 2,000 apartment blocks under 18 metres in height from September 2021.
For this group of homes, different types of buildings require different types of inspection, dependent on their height and how they were built, as well as other factors.
This is because the government’s new guidance applies mainly to buildings over 18m in height, with buildings lower than 18m (six storeys) only requiring an inspection if certain combustible materials (materials that are able to catch fire) are present in their external wall system (including balconies). Similarly, updated guidance from RICS only requires certain buildings in this category to secure an EWS1 form.
Where buildings are considered higher risk due to the presence of combustible materials, L&Q will be carrying out a full intrusive inspection like those for our tall buildings.
Where blocks have been found to be of a lower risk, in line with the guidance, L&Q will not be carrying out an intrusive inspection, and we will instead inspect these buildings through our regular programme of Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs). More than 900 L&Q apartment blocks will be inspected in this way.
This amounts to more than 7,400 homes, where lenders should no longer request EWS1 forms. If you would like advice on what to do if your home will be inspected through an FRA, but your lender is still asking for an EWS1, visit our help and advice pages for more information.
We will be writing to residents in blocks under 18 metres tall with information regarding their inspection type, and where applicable their inspection window, from April 2021.