High rise building

No more zero-valuations for high-rises as new process agreed by RICS

Around a million residential blocks of six or more storeys will see their valuation processes change thanks to new regulations – and it’s going to be a massive boost for buyers.

Homes in high-rise buildings that had become unsellable and unmortgageable are expected to have the issue lifted thanks to new valuation processes that have now been agreed. The new rules have been approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and UK Finance.

Since the Grenfell Tower disaster, homes in high-rises that are above six storeys high had been coming back with £0 valuations from valuers where the external wall cladding material was unknown or untested. This had resulted in major difficulties for buyers and owners as it was impossible to get a mortgage.

Extensive testing to ensure buildings are safe

Under the new External Wall Fire Review process, all buildings will be checked by fire safety experts, who will then be able to advise lenders and valuers, as well as residents, buyers and sellers. Once the testing is carried out and approved by the professional fire safety check, valuers will be able to provide an accurate valuation of the property.

If an investigation into the building’s cladding reveals that remediation is needed, this must be carried out before an accurate valuation can take place.

The assessment will then be valid for five years under the new rules, providing peace of mind to anyone involved in the building.

According to BSA policy manager Charlie Blagbrough, the updated process has come about after substantial consultation by the government in conjunction with the housing industry, taking into account a wide range of materials in use on external walls.

“Ensuring the safety and security of those selling, purchasing and living in high-rise homes remains paramount,” he said.

“However, we expect that this new process will instil confidence to enable surveyors to value, lenders to lend, and ultimately keep the high-rise property market flowing.”

High rises are back in business

The new standardised approach between valuers and lenders is expected to alleviate the issues that have been experienced across high rise buildings in recent years, according to John Baguley of RICS.

“To unclog areas of the market, a qualified and experienced fire safety expert will be appointed by the building owner to provide a report on the buildings cladding, and associated wall system, as an additional part of the valuation process.”

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