WhenFresh launches cladding dataset on UK’s £50bn tall buildings – Mortgage Finance Gazette
The financial data firm says its software has data on each of the 485,234 properties in multi-unit dwellings, of 18 metres or more in height, throughout the country.
The service, available in either flat file format or through an application programming interface in real-time, is aimed at mortgage lenders, insurers, local authorities, central government, housing associations and asset managers.
The dangers of fire-risk insulation cladding was revealed after the Grenfell fire tragedy, which killed 72 people in 2017.
The firm’s data classifies properties into three categories:
- Green – Building has no cladding. EWS1 form recorded in the cladding database with classification A1, A2 or B1, or considered to be out of scope, in line with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors cladding guidance note
- Amber – Building potentially has cladding, merits EWS1 inspection. Identified as potentially in scope, in line with Rics cladding guidance note, no EWS1 form held currently
- Red – Building has cladding. EWS1 form recorded in the cladding database with classification A3 or B2, or other known adverse factors from alternative sources
The firm says the software, which has been through six months of market testing, was drawn from a range of sources — such as satellite imagery, drone footage, building and planning records – and was overseen by over 600 Rics-qualified surveyors.
WhenFresh co-founder and chief executive Mark Cunningham says: “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.
“It is obviously a big deal for insurers too, as they can now better understand property risk across their existing policy portfolios and can access this cladding dataset, along with all the other data we make available via an application programming interface, to drive more accurately priced, instant quotes for new insurance applications.”
Last month, building firms were set a six-week deadline to sign legally binding contracts worth £2bn that will commit them to pay to repair unsafe buildings, by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.