Principle welcomes RICS’ guidance to help unlock apartment property market

Birmingham-based Principle Estate Management has welcomed guidance from the chartered surveyor’s trade body, the RICS, on how to value apartments in buildings with cladding.


Joe Jobson a Director at Principle and a Member of the RICS described the guidance as “another helpful step along the road” rather than a total solution to the ongoing cladding controversy.


“The RICS’ guidance is intended to help valuers undertaking valuations for secured lending purposes on domestic residential flats in the UK.


“It is not intended to be a substitute for professional life safety fire risk assessment of any building, but goes some way to addressing what is a very complex situation,” he said.


The new guidance, “Valuation of properties in multi-storey, multi-occupancy residential buildings with cladding”, clarifies which types of properties will, and which will not, require additional inspections as result of concerns about fire safety following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017.


Mr Jobson added: “The guidance is welcome as it brings some clarity and assistance for our customers in what is a very tricky area to understand and come to terms with while the market is so confused on the entire cladding subject.”


He explained that there had been considerable confusion, not only among the public, but also in professional circles, about whether an EWS1 form was required for a building.


An EWS1 form provides a fire safety assessment on cladding on certain, but not all, apartment buildings, but confusion over which buildings has led to the entire market being blighted.


Mr Jobson said: “Hopefully the RICS guidance can result in a reduction in the number of EWS1 results to those that definitely require the form. This, in turn, will allow more focus on the assessments of higher risk buildings, and could speed up the overall process and therefore ensure the appropriate protection for lenders and purchasers.”


The Housing Minister Robert Jenrick MP has also welcomed the move, with his department estimating that 500,000 leaseholders will no longer need an EWS1 form.


Principle Estate Management is the UK’s fastest growing residential estate management company. Launched in 2018, Principle has since grown from what was virtually a one-man band into what is now over 30 staff looking after a portfolio of more than 7,000 units in 250-plus developments across the UK.