Those planning on purchasing a residence in a taller building will likely be paying a lot more for the opportunity.
That’s because a new law implemented last August that will increase fire safety will also increase construction and insurance costs.
Legislation aimed at improving fire safety in tall buildings requires new types of cladding to replace cheaper versions long associated with fire spreading across the U.K.
New rules require that cladding have the A1 and A2 fire classification and also mandate three “gateway” inspections or reviews before the building receives a final certification.
Who the Law Affects?
The new law, affecting residential and educational buildings taller than 18 m in England and 11m in Scotland, also mandates that architects have enough professional indemnity insurance to cover a fire claim in one of their buildings. Insurance to cover fire claims could be three times the cost of insurance not covering fire.
While many tout the legislation as a step forward in safety, it poses new problems for those seeking to buy an apartment.
The primary problem for both buyers and sellers is owners of residences in taller buildings must provide an External Wall Review Form (EWS1) to sell their apartment. Those purchasing an apartment must have the form to obtain a loan to buy it.
The form ensures the unit meets all fire safety codes and that cladding is from an approved list where the materials meet A1 and A2 fire-rated standards. Six materials are on the list including:
- Foam glass insulation
- Fibre Cement Cladding
- Brick Slips Systems
- Porcelain Cladding
- GRC Cladding
- Aluminum Cladding
While the previous type of cladding used plastic, which is now prohibited, these new groups of materials use things like glass, ceramic, cement weatherboard, brick, and metals. They all have different prices and looks.
However, all will amount to an increase in construction or renovation cost.