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EWS1 B2 Rating in Nottingham

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Hi Hubbers,  We had an offer accepted on a city centre apartment in Nottingham a couple of months ago.  We were aware that in 2019 the previous managing agents had had a fire risk assessment carried out which had some recommendations that the agents subsequently actioned.  In May 2022 a surveyor was organised and issued an EWS1 with a B2 rating.  The building is an old mill that was converted into apartments a number of years ago and as such, has no external cladding so we assume that it is cavity insulation that the report refers to but await confirmation on the specifics.  In the meantime, we have spoken to our mortgage company and shared the details of the EWS1 and they're happy to still provide a mortgage.  However, through our solicitors we have asked for a remedial plan, schedule of works and proof of funding going forward but until then we thought we'd reach out to the community and see if anyone else has been in this situation before that could give us some things to look out for when we get those details back from the solicitors to help focus our decision on whether or not to proceed.  Its not the first time we've had EWS1 issues, but so far we have only purchased off plan so this is new to us as we look to purchase second hand.  Appreciate any thoughts and pointers!!

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Hi Stuart,

Long time no speak! I hope you're well.

An EWS1 B2 rating means that combustible materials are present in the external walls and fire risk is deemed significantly high that remedial works are required. If the surveyor only issued this report in May this year, it's likely that the recommendations from the earlier assessment in 2019 were not completed, which would raise alarm bells for me.

In my experience, most mortgage lenders won't lend on a B2 rating and any that do will require a remedial plan to be in place, so what you've requested from your solicitor is something that they would almost certainly need to obtain for the lender anyway.

Since lending is going to be restricted, that also restricts buyers, and so can limit growth. Therefore, it's vital to have confidence that rectification works are scheduled (and already costed) so that the EWS1 can be upgraded to an A rating in the near future. If the works hit any snags or additional costs are incurred, that would have a negative impact, so it's important to be aware and comfortable with the risks. There's potential to get a good deal now while there are finance challenges, but it's only a good deal if you have confidence the rectification work will be completed soon.

Feel free to reach out if I can help further.

Chris (www.fintentional.co.uk)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Chris!!  Very well thanks.  Indeed, its been a while!

Thanks for your insight, its really helpful and very much appreciated.  There are new managing agents in the block who took over after the recent EWS1 and gathering information about this is proving challenging.  At this stage, they are unable to provide any insight into costs, projected timescales or reasoning as to why they can't!  Our mortgage offer has now expired too so have that to consider as well. 

Going forward, we have set a deadline by which point we will pull out of the deal and move on.  Whilst its a shame given that the property in every other aspect works very well, we could commit to other projects that we have on our list that are different but equally just as good.  Our one big lesson so far for anyone out there is that whilst we've had an offer accepted on this property, it hasn't stopped us from looking around at other properties that fit within our goals.  Its just that we haven't been able to action any of the others in a timely manner given the challenges we have here!  Keep your options open!!

All the best,

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It's always important to consider the EWS1 when offering on a property because it doesn't matter how good a deal looks on paper, if you can't get it over the line, it's actually a bad deal due to opportunity cost. Unless the EWS1 is an A1 or A2 rating, there is going to be remedial works required before completion can take place, so unless there is a plan for this and confirmation that works have been scheduled, there's a high chance of the deal falling through.

In many cases, a property will be priced attractively, making it look like a very good deal, but the reason is because of mortgage challenges. In reality, they are often only suitable for cash buyers.

Chris (www.fintentional.co.uk)

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Thanks Chris, that is the conclusion that is beginning to dawn on us now!  Without the schedule of works and proof of funding, the deal doesn't justify itself.  Until we can get sight of those details then our deadline will be reached and we will be pulling out.  And to be honest, even if we do get those details that doesn't automatically mean that we'll like what we see!!!

Absolutely Julia, I agree.  As I say, its our first second hand purchase so we're persevering through the process as its new to us in the hope of trying to understand the requirements of the reports but we have to be sensible and draw a line at some point and looking at the emails between the solicitors, I think we'll probably get to our deadline before we get any firm answers. 

Thanks for your thoughts though!

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