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An Insight Into External Wall System (EWS)

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

What exactly is an External Wall Survey, and which buildings do they apply to?

Following some more vital External Wall Survey (EWS) works we have undertaken recently for our clients we thought we would share an overview of what an EWS inspection actually is and how it works. Then, how R2R assists in this process.

The External Wall consists of the outside wall of a residential building, including any cladding, insulation, and fire break systems. This is what is what is assessed during an EWS inspection.

Following the Grenfell fire disaster and the issue of the Hackitt Report (Building a Safer Future) the safety of high rise buildings, particularly residential, has come under increasing scrutiny. Amid a drive to confirm their safety or to remediate those buildings. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) developed the External Wall Fire Review form (EWS1). The new EWS1 Survey provides an industry standard approach to assess fire cladding safety.

These assessments must be conducted by a qualified and competent professional, such as a Chartered Construction Professional as defined on the RICS guidance.

A single assessment is needed per building, and once the EWS1 form has been completed it will be valid for five years. However, a new EWS assessment may be required within the five-year period. This would be if substantial works have been completed to a property, affecting the original conclusions.

The EWS1 form applies to all residential buildings over 18 metres tall, this means all are required to have an EWS inspection. Updated government advice in the future may see this height restriction change.

While the EWS form does not apply for properties below 18 metres, lenders and investors are increasingly requesting the same level of comfort across their entire portfolio.

How Do R2R Assist In External Wall Surveys?

Our clients, the owners or management companies of the buildings, need to arrange for External Wall Surveys to take place. It is vital to ascertain the safety of the external wall construction to commercial and residential blocks. This is where R2R come in to assist in the technical side of gaining samples of cladding and external wall compartmentation for the full surveys. Helping the professionals gain access to assess the type of materials included in the construction of the external walls, which will need to be reviewed.

For more information, please contact us 01462 423 264 or email


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