EWS1 Certificate

Fire safety performance of external walls, facades, balconies and the EWS1 Certificate

What is the EWS1 Certificate?

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have issued Advice Notes 14, 18 and 21 for external wall coverings, facades and balconies for residential buildings over 18 metres which has developed into the current External Wall System (EWS) Form.

What does the EWS1 Certificate do?

The EWS1 Certificate is an assessment about the safety of different types of cladding wall systems used in residential buildings in scope located across the United Kingdom. It is not designed to assess other fire safety features or risks.

The external wall survey process and resulting form, is a set way for a building owner to confirm to valuers and lenders that an external cladding system on residential buildings in scope above 18m in height (approx. 6-storeys) has been assessed by a suitable expert. Not every building in scope above 18m will require an EWS form – only those with some form of combustible cladding or combustible material on balconies.

More details

The EWS Form is split in to two options, options A or B:

Option A is for buildings where the materials used in the external wall would be unlikely to support combustion; in this case the signatory would need only the expertise to identify the relevant materials.

Option B is for buildings where Option A does not apply, and a more detailed review and hence higher level of fire expertise is required.

Why is it needed?

The EWS1 certificate delivers assurance for lenders, valuers, residents, buyers and sellers.

Which buildings are effected?

  • Blocks of flats
  • Student accommodation
  • Dormitories
  • Care homes
  • HMOs

How often will an assessment be required?

One assessment will be needed per building, the signed form is valid for 5 years.

What do RICS say?

We do not envisage residential in scope buildings 1-3 storeys in height requiring an EWS form, unless the type of occupation of the building significantly increases risk to life in the event of a fire e.g. a care home with elderly people which could not be evacuated quickly and which will necessitate remediation works that will materially affect value.

What have Summit Environmental Found?

We have recently completed a number of EWS1 forms for our clients. A number of our clients have been requested to provide an EWS1 form even though no combustible materials are present and the building is less than 18m. We have been able to assist and now a number of our clients have now moved onward from their flats.

What happens if combustible cladding is present?

We are currently putting a proposal together for a 6 storey high rise property comprised of 4 blocks of residential properties in London and the removal of polystyrene insulation to the external.

How can Summit Environmental help you?

  • Verify if an EWS1 form is required.
  • Complete the EWS1 form
  • If cladding is present we can complete a more detailed review and advise on remedial requirements.
  • Advise on remedial actions and remove cladding if needed.


Contact Summit Environmental on [email protected]  or 0203 874 9530


Lead Containing Materials

Lead Containing Materials

Most old paintwork is likely to have some lead content and the older the paintwork the higher that lead content is likely to be. Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom was banned from sale in 1992; therefore lead may be present in historic building stock prior to 1992 under modern coverings and coatings.

Lead paints were used in a variety of product types for a range of uses such as on doors, door frames, stairs, banisters, window frames and sills, flooring, pipe-work, radiators, soffit’s, fascia’s and garage doors. These were used both internally and externally to wood, metal and other surfaces.

Lead surveys and assessments are a legal requirement for all commercial building and refurbishment projects wherever paintwork is liable to be disturbed, regardless of the type of building or structure.

Exposure to lead

Lead paint becomes an exposure risk when it is damaged or disturbed such as during refurbishment and demolition projects. The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) places a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead. Exposures to lead can occur by inhaling, ingesting or absorbing lead paint chips, lead dust or fumes.

Lead poisoning damages the nervous system (especially in young children) and can cause serious blood and brain disorders. Lead poisoning symptoms may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, irritability, memory problems, inability to have children, and tingling in the hands and feet. In severe cases anaemia, seizures, coma, or death may occur.

Lead Testing, Sampling and Assessments

Lead in paint or other materials? Summit Environmental can survey or undertake sample testing and complete lead assessments for the presence of lead in paints and other materials.

Once identified Summit Environmental is able to design and employ safe systems of work, inclusive of full risk assessments to reduce or prevent lead exposure.

For further information on cases where the HSE has prosecuted companies for exposing people to lead;

For further information in the CLAW 2002 Regulations see;

Deleterious Materials Presentation

What are Deleterious Materials?

What are Deleterious Materials?
Deleterious materials are materials or building techniques that are dangerous to health, environmentally unfriendly, tend to fail in practice or can be susceptible to change over the lifetime of the material.

Every year, thousands of workers are made unwell by hazardous substances; this includes workers contracting lung diseases such as asthma and lung cancer or skin diseases such as dermatitis.

Types of Deleterious Materials found in historic buildings include;
• Asbestos – Asbestos is the most written about deleterious material; Please see our other blogs for information on asbestos hazards and management.

• Vermiculite – Vermiculite itself has not been shown to be a health problem. However, some vermiculite insulation contained asbestos fibres, which can cause problems if inhaled.

• Silica Dust – Silica dust is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos, Natural substance found in most rocks, sand and clay and in used in products such as bricks and concrete. These are widely distributed across the construction industry. Silica dust is released into the air follow drilling, grinding and cutting.

• Greenhouse Gases (CFC’s, HCFC’s and HCFC’s) – Primarily used in refrigeration and produced by industrial processes. Greenhouse Gases are also used in spray/blown foams used for insulation such as pipe insulation’s and linings to air conditioning units. Also widely used as propellants in aerosols and solvents.

• Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) – Volatile Organic Compounds are widely used as ingredients in household products such as paints, varnishes and waxes, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic and de-greasing products. VOC’s add to issues such as tropospheric ozone and smog in the environment.

• Refractory Ceramic fibres (RCF’s) and Man Made Mineral Fibres (MMMF’s) – MMMF Man Made Mineral Fibres main uses are as thermal insulation, mineral wools are widely used within the building trade. Refractory Ceramic Fibres main application is as lining material for kilns and furnaces.

• Lead – Visual inspection of most solid lead installations is possible, for example lead pipes and lead flashing. Materials such as paints need samples to be taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

• Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s) – PCBs were used widely in electrical equipment; capacitors, transformers, fluorescent lights and switchgear because they don’t burn easily and are good insulators.

• Mercury – If mercury vapour is inhaled, it is easily absorbed by the body, where it first gets into the lungs and from there into the blood and the brain.

• Hair plaster – Historic plaster reinforced with animal hair was sometimes contaminated with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis which is the causative agent of the disease Anthrax.

• Polyurethane Foam – main use is as rigid foam boards used for insulation and linings within construction. These can be used as insulation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Prefabricated PIR sandwich panels are manufactured with corrosion-protected, corrugated steel facings bonded to a core of PIR foam and used extensively as roofing insulation and vertical walls

• Urea Formaldehyde used in adhesives, finishes, particle board, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), and moulded objects such as electrical plugs and sockets. Urea Formaldehyde has physical properties of high hardness and high toughness. Widely used as Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) dates to the 1930s and widely made into a synthetic insulation for wall cavities.

How to deal with Deleterious Materials?

Proactive management of health and safety in the workplace helps organisations prevent injuries and ill-health at work.

Early identification and sampling is required to minimise the likelihood of potential exposure to a deleterious or hazardous material

Risk assessments, control measures and safe systems of work and required by law to reduce risks to health and safety and the environment

Contact Summit Environmental for further support and to ensure you are complying with regulations

Asbestos survey

What is asbestos surveying?

What is asbestos surveying?
The purpose of an asbestos survey is to help manage asbestos in the duty holder’s premises. The survey has to provide sufficient information for an asbestos register and plan to be prepared, a suitable risk assessment to be carried out and a written plan to manage the risks to be produced.

What is an asbestos survey?
An asbestos survey is a visual inspection of a property or premises for asbestos, samples may need to be taken to identify is materials contain asbestos.

What are the types of asbestos survey?
There are two main types of asbestos survey to identify asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) within properties;

Management Survey
The purpose of an asbestos management survey is to manage ACM’s during the normal occupation and use of premises.
A Management Survey aims to ensure that:
• Nobody is harmed by the continuing presence of ACM in the premises or equipment
• That the ACM’s remain in good condition
• That nobody disturbs it accidentally
The Survey must locate ACM’s that could be damaged or disturbed by normal activities, by foreseeable maintenance, or by installing new equipment. It involves minor intrusion and minor asbestos disturbance to make a Materials Assessment.

Refurbishment / Demolition Survey
The Refurbishment / Demolition Surveys are required where the premises, or part of it, need upgrading, refurbishment or demolition.
A Refurbishment / demolition Survey aims to ensure that:
• Nobody will be harmed by work on ACM’s in the premises or equipment
• Such work will be done by the right contractor in the right way
The asbestos survey must locate and identify all ACM’s before any structural work begins at a stated location or on stated equipment at the premises. It involves destructive inspection and asbestos disturbance.

Do you know if you have asbestos in your premises? Contact Summit Environmental to find out.