This section is for customers whose home may need cladding remediation work.
We understand that you are keen for cladding work to be completed on your building. We appreciate your frustrations that this is a lengthy process and will finish this complex work as quickly as we can. Ensuring you are safe in your home is a priority.
Swan is now part of Sanctuary
Sanctuary acquired Swan as a subsidiary on 8 February 2023. Sanctuary will now oversee the cladding works to your building. Sanctuary will work closely with the team at Swan to ensure that the works can be done quickly and to the highest quality. You can find out more about Sanctuary here.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have produced the below set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to give you a general update to provide answers to the questions that we are being asked regularly by customers. We hope that you find this information helpful.
Why does the external wall system (cladding) of my building need to be inspected?
The government’s report into the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017 found that the fire spread quickly due to unsafe cladding. It recommended that all buildings over 18 metres (or more than six storeys high) needed to be inspected to check if the cladding is safe. The Government has since expanded the criteria for assessment to include all multi-occupied residential buildings regardless of height.
What do you mean by an external wall system?
You most often hear the term cladding used in relation to fire safety. However, it is the whole external wall system that must be checked. The external wall system includes wood, brick, metal, tiles and other types of cladding that you can see. As well as insulation, firebreak systems and cavity barriers out of sight. Each of these elements, and how they work together, is being reviewed as part of our building safety programme.
How do I confirm the height of my building?
If your building is over more than six storeys, it will usually be more than 18 metres in height. If your building is between five to six storeys it will usually be between 11 and18 metres in height. We can confirm the height of your building for you. Email email@example.com and a member of our team will help you.
What action has been taken so far for buildings over 18m (seven storeys) in height?
Swan has completed inspections of all blocks over 18m (seven storeys) in height with an external wall system and/or balcony and attained a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) External Wall System Fire Review certificate (EWS1).
Where the EWS1 inspection has identified defects in the external wall system, Swan ordered a more detailed fire risk appraisal and intrusive inspection. This report will confirm what work is needed to address the defects.
Sanctuary is currently reviewing these reports and what works are needed. Plans will then be put in place to remediate the wall system.
We are working with the original developers and designers of the buildings to ensure that these works are completed as quickly as possible.
What about buildings below 18m (seven storeys) in height?
We have prioritised the completion of inspections of our taller building in line with government guidance.
We are instructing fire risk appraisals for buildings between 11 and 18 metres in height that have an external wall system and / or balcony.
We will attain an EWS1 form on buildings below 18m (seven storeys in height) where this is in-line with current guidance from the RICS. You can read this guidance here.
Due to the number of blocks we manage and the ongoing high demand for this service nationally, we expect this work to take more than 12 months to complete.
We will be prioritising blocks that we know have high fire risk materials such as ACM, MCM or HPL.
What is the process for these required building safety (cladding) works?
The process for remediation can be lengthy and we have a dedicated project team to oversee this process that includes:
- procurement of forensic investigation of the building
- production of a scope of remedial works
- procurement of a professional design team
- formal approach to the original contractors/sub-contractors/designers
- development of a design for the remedial solution
- production of a cost estimate and programme of works
- review of cost to ensure value for money
- tender exercise
- award of contract – only at this point will costs be confirmed
- delivery of works.
How long will it take Swan to remediate wall systems?
The remediation process can be complex and take a long time. We appreciate that this is frustrating for you. We anticipate that remedial works are likely to take several years.
We continue to offer various types of support to customers who may find themselves unable to staircase, re-mortgage or sell their homes (as above).
Will Swan be providing customers with copies of all documents relating to the wall system remediation?
We will provide documents to customers where possible. However, where we are trying to recover costs from third parties, we will be unable to share documents, such as intrusive survey reports, expert witness statements, remediation and cost plans, until we have concluded the legal process.
Information for leaseholders
What if I want to sell my home or staircase my lending or re-mortgage?
If your mortgage valuer requests a copy of an EWS1 form for your building, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will confirm if this form is available for your block.
If an EWS1 form has not yet been completed for your building, we will be able to tell you when we expect the form to be available. Unfortunately, we are unable to prioritise the completion of forms for individual properties or leaseholders.
Some valuers are still requesting EWS1 forms for buildings that do not fulfil the criteria above. In these circumstances, we will confirm that an EWS1 form is not needed. We recommend that you refer the valuer to the RICS guidance, available here.
What will you do if I can’t sell/staircase/re-mortgage my property?
We want to do what we can to support customers whose mortgage application or sales process has been disrupted because of the approach that lenders are taking.
Some homeowners paid money to us to cover administration or application fees while trying to sell, staircase or re-mortgage their home. We’ve already issued refunds for these fees to the homeowners we know have been refused a mortgage because of the new guidance.
In addition, if you began a sale or re-mortgaging process that was stopped from progressing by your or your buyer’s lender, we will waive our administration fees. Should you wish to begin this process again once a EWS1 form (if applicable) has been obtained, we will honour this fee for up to two years. (Please note that this offer does not include the resale nomination fee, which we are obliged to charge as a condition of the lease. However, it does include valuation and landlord’s enquiry pack fees.)
If you believe you’re entitled to a refund and haven’t received one, please contact the Swan leasehold team on 0300 303 2500 or Hera on 0345 683 8812.
We are advising customers who would like to re-mortgage, staircase or sell their home to seek advice directly from their lender or mortgage broker before beginning the process.
If an EWS1 form has returned an A3 or B2 rating and building safety work is needed, lenders have confirmed that they will continue to lend where the building owner can confirm the cost of the works and confirm project timescales. For projects that have reached this stage of the process we can provide you with this information. Email email@example.com.
What is an EWS1 form and why is my mortgage company requesting one?
An EWS1 firm is a mortgage valuation tool. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) designed the EWS1 form in response to updated government safety advice on the external wall systems of medium and high-rise residential buildings that came about because of the fire at Grenfell. EWS1 forms came into use in December 2019. The form helps mortgage lenders decide whether to offer a mortgage on properties in multi-storey residential buildings. An EWS1 form is valid for up to five years from the date that it is signed.
EWS1 forms can only be signed off by registered fire engineers. There is a shortage of registered fire engineers in the UK. The survey required is also complex and time-consuming as it involves in-depth research and intrusive surveys. This is why it can take some time for us to obtain a EWS1 form for your building and we thank you for your patience during this process.
Can homeowners commission an EWS1 form?
You can appoint a chartered fire engineer to undertake an EWS1 form at your own cost. However, due to the intrusive nature of the survey process, you must attain Swan’s consent before any intrusive work is carried out.
The cost associated in attaining an EWS1 form for a building over 18m in height is currently around £15-20,000, depending on the height and nature of construction of the block.
If this an option you would like to consider, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Swan using to complete their EWS1 forms?
Swan is using a chartered fire engineering consultancy that holds the relevant professional qualifications, memberships and indemnity insurance to complete EWS1 forms.
The EWS 1 form for my building has returned a B2 result. Does this mean that my building is unsafe?
A B2 rating does not mean that your building is unsafe. It means that work is needed to bring your building in line with current fire safety standards. Your safety is our priority and where needed we will put temporary fire safety measures such as waking watches until remedial work is completed.
Unfortunately, in instances where the EWS1 form confirms a B2 result, it is unlikely that a mortgage lender will provide further lending until remediation works have been completed.
Does an EWS1 form B2 outcome affect the building’s insurance?
We keep our insurance providers up-to-date on any building safety related issues. Unfortunately, it is possible that if a building receives a B2 outcome that insurance premiums may rise. This cost will be passed on via your service charge.
Does an EWS1 B2 outcome invalidate my home content insurance?
We’re unable to advise on contents policy matters. Please contact your policy provider for advice.
Will leaseholders have to pay for the remediation of external wall systems?
In line with the Government’s position that no leaseholder should have to pay for the remediation of external wall systems, Swan will not be seeking to recover costs associated with remediating external wall systems from leaseholders or shared owners.
Will Swan make a claim for government funding?
We are working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to ensure that we access any funding that is available to us.
Will Swan make a claim under the buildings NHBC warranty?
Many of our customers have an NHBC Buildmark Choice policy relating to their property. We are generally unable to make a claim on this policy after 10 years. Where policies do still apply, NHBC has been notified of issues with blocks. Historically, NHBC do not accept claims for defects in the external wall construction (cladding issues) unless they also provided Building Control services. We are currently exploring the legal situation on each block with cladding issues to see if a claim can be made against the NHBC policy.
If you have any other questions or concerns please email our building safety team at email@example.com
If you have any comments about the content on this page, including suggestions on how we can improve it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org