Significant developments in the law have occurred since 2017, when Grenfell Tower was tragically set on fire.
In April 2021, the Fire Safety Act 2021 passed. Additionally, revised assessments like PSD 79:2020 aim at improving clarity and guidance for professionals in fire safety regarding fire risks.
There has been a new code for practice since January 2022 – PAS9980. This code assesses fire risk via external walls and cladding on flat blocks.
Compliance with fire safety measures is largely a matter of understanding the standards (and their motivations). This detailed guide from FR Consulting explains precisely what PAS 9980 entails, who it applies and why it is so important.
What Is The Purpose Of PAS 9980?
The British Standards Institution published PAS9980 in January 2022. This guide aims to reduce fire spreading via external walls or cladding systems. This applies to existing blocks, which can be multi-story and multi-occupancy residential structures. It also covers student and sheltered accommodation and specialised housing or buildings converted into flats.
PAS 9980 provides a 5-step process to evaluate fire risk to occupants. This process not only helps to determine the building’s risk factors but also gives mitigation steps that can be used to improve the rating. Facade Consultants is here to guide you with all these steps. These are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Confirm the fire risk assessment (FRAEW) of all external walls is required.
Step 2: Gather all the necessary information to complete FRAEW.
Step 3: Identify and group the crucial factors in determining the risk rating.
Step 4: Consider each group to determine their potential impact on the overall risk.
Step 5: Compare the risk factor analysis to the benchmark success criteria and determine an outcome.
What Are The Risk Factors?
Primarily, this Code of Practice was designed to support upcoming amendments to the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. It will confirm combustible substances cause fire risk in exterior cladding—as we saw with Grenfell Tower. Material considerations include the risk of fire spreading quickly over the exterior walls of a building, the likelihood of secondary fires on other floors, the likely consequences when evacuation is required before extreme conditions erupt, and the chance of fire and rescue service intervention before this happens. Higher blocks of flats carry a higher risk.
To Whom Does PAS9980 Relate?
Based on expert advice from the fire and building controls industries, PAS9980 lists fire risk reduction steps for competent professionals (not just lay people) who make decisions that result in appraisal results. These include fire engineers and building professionals working in various aspects, including contractors, facility managers, façade engineers, and architects.
Will All Buildings Be Required To Have A PAS9980 Appraisal?
However, all buildings will not need to be subject to statutory fire safety assessments under the new code. A competent fire risk assessment may then be required to determine if there is any risk to life from the spread of fire. This is provided that no combustible materials or other substances have been added to walls. These fire risk assessors will typically check that the external walls comply with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 as part of the routine fire risk assessment process. Not all buildings require an appraisal.