"This new dataset provides lenders with the means to fully understand how their mortgage books are affected by cladding issues, down to individual property level, so they can identify where risks lie and make better decisions moving forward."
- Mark Cunningham, WhenFresh co-founder and chief executive
Following the tragic Grenfell fire, owners, lenders, insurers, and developers of cladded multi-dwelling units in the UK have faced unforeseen financial exposure.
Although key risk factors, such as flooding and subsidence, are routinely assessed when deciding whether to offer a mortgage, prior to June 2017, cladding simply wasn’t considered a risk. Consequently, lenders, insurers, and institutional property investors have been largely ‘flying blind’ with no means of accurately assessing potential risk/exposure caused by cladding.
WhenFresh began work on its new cladding dataset in 2020, initially proposing a wide range of remote inspection tools and data sources which have since been enhanced and scrutinised by over 600 RICS surveyors.
After six months of testing, this dataset has now been launched, provides property-level cladding data for over 450k properties, eighteen metres or more in height, throughout the UK.
The surveyor team assign each property into one of the categories below:
GREEN: Building has no cladding. (Specifically: EWS1 form recorded in Cladding Database with classification A1, A2 or B1 or considered to be out of scope as per RICS’s Cladding Guidance Note).
AMBER: Building potentially has cladding, and merits EWS1 inspection. (Identified as potentially in scope, as per the RICS’s Cladding Guidance Note, no EWS1 form held currently).
RED: Building has cladding. (EWS1 form recorded in Cladding Database with classification A3 or B2, or other known adverse factors from alternative sources).
Commenting on the launch, Max Griffiths, Together Money group head of quantitative risk, has said:
“Working with the WhenFresh analytics team has enabled us to establish a clear set of actionable data points that support our prudent approach to lending, and their data enrichment has helped us in preparing data for securitisation issuances where additional reporting requirements around ESG have been required.”
Mark Cunningham, WhenFresh co-founder and chief executive, added:
“We’re delighted to be able to bring this cladding dataset to market alongside our existing property data assets, not least as it provides key risk insights into these 485,234 properties which are jointly worth in excess of £50bn. There are obvious applications for mortgage lenders and insurers of course, but we’re already seeing interest from local authorities, central government, housing associations, asset managers, and other sectors too.
“This new dataset provides lenders with the means to fully understand how their mortgage books are affected by cladding issues, down to individual property level, so they can identify where risks lie and make better decisions moving forward. New mortgage applications can also be pre-screened against this cladding dataset, and it has now become a key component of our WRAP service, where a wide range of data variables are applied to packages of mortgages being prepared for securitisation, to give surety to the buy-side."