New RICS process to deal with high rise cladding?

by Readers Question

10:16 AM, 11th February 2020
About 2 months ago

New RICS process to deal with high rise cladding?

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New RICS process to deal with high rise cladding?

I am at an advanced stage of selling a flat in a building with 6 storeys, but at this late stage my buyer has come forward to tell me their lender will not progress the sale unless my managing agent can produce a certificate confirming the building does not have high risk cladding.

This would seem reasonable if the building was clad but it’s actually brick with part rendering. I tried to get the requirement dropped, but have subsequently been told the new RICS policy implies that all buildings over 18metres should be tested regardless of their construction type.

It looks like this requirement has overloaded the market for surveying the buildings and it could therefore be months before we get the certificate. My managing agents have a quote for the testing which will cost £5000+VAT

Has anyone else encountered this problem? If anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated

https://www.rics.org/uk/news-insight/latest-news/press-releases/new-industry-wide-process-agreed-for-valuation-of-high-rise-buildings/

Chris



Comments

Rob Crawford

11:21 AM, 12th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Hi Chris, as the building is of brick construction the fee should be significantly less. You need to confirm what it is that they are asking for as I believe it is not relevant in your case. The £5k cost is associated with testing an already clad property to determine if that cladding is safe. You don't have cladding so nothing to test! You just need some form of testimony that states brick construction and not cladding. £200 from a structural surveyor max!

John Daley

12:52 PM, 12th February 2020
About 2 months ago

If this is RICS policy ask them for a copy of the document. The press release is a bit vague.
If the property is part rendered there might be a concern as to what is under the render.

Zoya Green

14:34 PM, 12th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 12/02/2020 - 11:21
Hi Rob

I have a similar situation.
I have a mixture on the outside of the wall.
There are bricks , some cladding and rendering. The building has 7 floors.
What company would you advise to contact to get the survey done ?
I can’t remortgage my property.
There is a danger than I may lose it.
Thank you.
Zoya.

Peter Sproston

18:21 PM, 12th February 2020
About 2 months ago

This problem is the biggest one facing any flat owners in high rise buildings in the UK currently. It was highlighted in a BBC News article earlier this week: https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-51412328.

What the article failed to highlight was the sheer number of affected properties. There are believed to be over 10,000 high rise buildings requiring investigation which potentially could affect between 500k - 1m people. This is in addition to the ACM clad buildings, as at Grenfell, which must remove all of the cladding and barely half have done this yet after 3 years.

Surprisingly, 118 has hardly mentioned this issue other than when recently someone posted about the RICS/Association of Building Societies/UK Finance roadmap, Form EWS 1 that was issued late last year to help hi rise building owners tackle the issue.

In response to an earlier poster, just because a building has a brick finish means little when these could be brick slips as part of an EWI (external wall insulation) cladding system and which is very common. EWI can be plain render finish as well as curtain walling, all with potentially combustible insulation behind it and all needs professionally investigating.

The capacity of the industry to deal with this will be seriously tested as there are currently not enough qualified professionals to investigate the problem added to which if a high proportion do need this cladding removed, and which I sincerely hope will not in the end be necessary, there will be a shortage of contractors and even scaffolding to be able to deal with the problem and which simply will take years.

I own properties in two buildings that are currently under investigation and we are only just starting to make progress.

Eventually, I believe, the banks and building societies are going to have to pressure the government to get involved and provide some sort of underwriting safety net and possibly become insurer of last resort, as they have previously done for both flood and terrorism insurance. This would then enable the insurers to provide buildings cover, which is getting very hard to get currently too, and which would then hopefully give some confidence to lenders so that people could buy and sell their properties again. Don't forget that the current lenders providing mortgages on these properties are effectively having their assets seriously down valued with surveyor valuations coming in at or around zero, and which has to affect their balance sheets.

Hopefully this may provoke some more responses on this issue on 118. If you want some confirmation on this talk to any estate agent about trying to sell properties in high rise buildings at the moment and they will likely tell you that unless it is a cash sale they are currently unmortgageable, and even then a cash buyer will likely be advised by their solicitor not to proceed.

Sorry to be so gloomy for the original poster but we have sellers in exactly the same boat as you in our buildings and they are beginning to realise that this issue won't be solved overnight.

Wyn Burgess

7:39 AM, 15th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Are you sure your building qualifies under the 18m threshold? It is not the overall height but the height of the top floor above the lowest external ground level. A 6 storey building is probably less than 18m, I had to go through this exercise at a 6 storey block I help manage in Hornsey and the height of the floor to the penthouse flats was 16.2m so significatly under the threshold. Ask the managing agents for help, someone may already have the information as local authorities are proactive in writing to all the owners of medium rise blocks.


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