Cross Industry Collaboration Breaks Cladding Deadlock

The Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 was a tragic event that has had lasting repercussions across many areas of society. 

One of the unresolved issues is amongst homeowners living in other high-rise blocks across the country with similar cladding to that used on Grenfell. There has been a huge amount of confusion and frustration about how this might impact the value of their property and numerous reports of zero valuations given on apartments in high-rise buildings.

In valuing a high-rise property, of 18m or more, it is the responsibility of the surveyor to establish whether there is cladding on the property and, if so, whether the cladding system is the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) that was present in Grenfell Tower and has been identified as a fire risk.

If these materials are identified, the freeholder of the building is expected to put an active management plan in place to rectify the situation, and this will most probably result in a cost to owners of properties within the building.

As surveyors, when we undertake a market valuation on behalf of a lender, we must do so on the basis that a property would be readily resaleable for owner occupation in an open market with a prudent purchaser and a prudent vendor in an arm’s length transaction. 

Few people could argue against a prudent purchaser wanting to know whether a property does have ACM cladding and, if it does, whether there is an active management plan in place. As a management plan will come at a cost to the owner of the property, anything other than confirmation that there is no ACM cladding in place, could leave the purchaser liable to a potentially unquantifiable cost.

On this basis, no prudent purchaser would buy a property that could leave them with an unquantifiable liability. Consequently, a surveyor would have no choice but to apply a nil value as most high street lenders insist that, if a property does not meet their lending criteria, the valuer must place a £0 valuation on the property. 

One of the frustrations about this approach is that it is applied to all high-rise buildings with cladding, even if there is a good chance that the cladding doesn’t pose a fire risk. This is because, in over two years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, authorities have still not agreed a process to certify that a building has been declared safe. Until now.

It was recently announced that a certificate has been developed that identifies which cladding-covered properties meet safety regulations. This certificate is not the result of a government initiative, but a cross-industry process involving lenders, fire engineers and surveyors and it has been pushed through by the fantastic Fiona Haggett, who is head of valuations at Barclays Mortgages.

On the back of working as part of cross-industry initiatives to find a solution to the issue, which has left leaseholders unable to sell or remortgage their properties, Fiona drafted a one-page document to consolidate the otherwise cumbersome process. This is now with RICS awaiting sign-off.

This is a great example of how cross-industry initiatives can deliver an effective way of delivering solutions to problems that would otherwise remain unanswered. At Arnold & Baldwin, we have been involved from the sidelines in this initiative as well as others to improve the home buying process and home survey standards, and we believe strongly that this type of collaboration is the best way of breaking deadlocks and advancing the industry in a positive direction. We strongly support the introduction of this certificate and are always happy to collaborate on new projects where we can work together with other businesses and make a difference.

Share this article

About the author

Joe Arnold avatar

Joe Arnold

Joe is the guiding force behind Arnold & Baldwin and has overall responsibility for all commercial and residential surveys and valuations. Passionate about delivering the highest quality products at the fairest prices possible, he has been consistently searching for new and innovative client-focused services since founding the company with Jobie in 2007

Read more about Joe Arnold

Recommended Articles

Dream home video

The importance of a home survey

Date:

A property valuation is not a survey. Getting a home survey, and not just a bank valuation, is essential when buying a property. Read more

Qualify for lease extension

Do I qualify for a lease extension?

Date:

If you’ve owned your property for more than two years. If the original lease was for more than 21 years and the Freeholder is not a Charitable Housing Trust, the National Trust or The Crown then yes, congratulations, you qualify for a lease extension. Read more

Oops, image not found

What is the Lease Extension Process?

Date:

Everything you need to know about lease extensions and how the process works. Arnold and Baldwins building experts divulge all. Read more

Oops, image not found

Structure movement

Date:

Many owners are unaware of a problem until their house goes through the selling process Read more

Dream Home or Worst Nightmare?

Buying your new home can quickly become your worst nightmare. A home survey will help you realise your dream and help you buy with confidence. Find out more about the importance of a home survey here

The Importance of a Home Survey

Watch the Video

4.7 Average rating on Google
Here's what our customers say

CLARE MCSHANE

Professional, efficient surveyors. Get the job done in a timely manner, had our survey back within 5 days of inspection. All team members I spoke with (Tiffany and Billy) were really lovely. Highly recommend. :)

RICARDO OLIVEIRA

I have only just started working with Stephen and he has already demonstrated the high levels of customer attention and dedication that this company has. The first impression he has caused is such that made me write this review. I have no doubt that the continuous service will be of same level. Looking forward to working further with Stephen. Well done!

Steve Kenny

Lease extension - I found Daniel Grove very professional and had an excellent understanding of all aspects relating to this transaction. Advice was invaluable, and it was nice to come across someone who did exactly what they said they were going to do. Would not hesitate in recommending the firm and Daniel to anyone who has a lease to extend.

Petros Kyrkilis

Amazing job and fully professional treatment. The surveyor went above and beyond to check for everything, when he could have easily claim lack of access. In addition he was more than happy to answer questions over the phone and be there to explain the steps.

Lynn Wilson

Within 48 hours I received my detailed report from Joe Arnold which enabled me to see the property as it was and not through rose-tinted glasses! The report highlighted areas where money might need to be spent and provided guidance on questions for my solicitor - just what I needed. Overall, the survey enabled me to re-assess my offer and in this respect was invaluable. Thank you for a friendly and professional service.

Mark Roberts

100% choose this company. As first time buyers we had a mortgage valuation which said the house was fine. The Arnold & Baldwin survey found over £30,000 of problems. Holes in the roof with daylight visible, damp, woodworm, broken sash windows and poor electrics. This company helped us renegotiate and save a fortune.

Joebun

Arnold & Baldwin came recommended and I’ve got to say they were brilliant - not just in identifying issues with the property I was looking at but in the way they kept me informed and up to date (ie picking up the phone instead of just posting / emailing communications with you). After dealing with estate agents for so long, it’s nice to have someone who is genuinely on your side.

Kamal Rahman

From my initial interaction with the firm I found them to be prompt, courteous and helpful. I received a detailed Homebuyers report within a week of instructing and was given the opportunity to talk it through with the attending surveyour. Overall excellent service all round, would certainly recommend this firm.

Sign up for monthly Property Insights

Follow Us