The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has updated its Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Approved Minimum Wording. This is to address the issue that surveyors are facing in obtaining PII for fire safety issues.

The previous wording allowed PII providers to exclude all fire safety issues. The updated wording prevents insurers from excluding claims for issues relating to fire safety where a building is four storeys or less – unless there exists a specific dispensation. The wording retains, however, exclusions relating to the EWS1 form as per below:

  • Clause 19.1, which excludes services relating to Form EWS1 unless specifically agreed by the insurer.
  • Clause 5.3, which excludes cover where the insured has relied on Form EWS1 when producing a valuation report (to the extent that the valuation report fails to exclude liability for losses arising from reliance on Form EWS1).

The issue with the above being that surveyors continue to have difficulty obtaining PII in relation to signatory on EWS1 forms. Not only that, but anyone also who seeks to rely on an EWS1 could face a significant limit on recovery in the event of a claim based on a negligent signature.

This change does represent a positive change for low rise properties, but there continues to be limited cover for high rise buildings. The Government announced at the end of last year that it was trying to explore ways to address the issues with fire safety and PII, with a further commitment in February this year to work towards a targeted, state-backed indemnity scheme for qualified professionals unable to obtain professional indemnity insurance for the completion of EWS1 forms“. Further details are awaited on that.

If you have any queries relating to EWS1 forms, please contact a member of our building safety team: Ian Seeley, Joe Brightman, Molly Frankham, James King or email [email protected]