The BSI published PAS 9980 in January 2022. This new code of practice was developed to assess the fire risk from external wall construction.
Part of the new PAS replaces the 2020 Consolidated Advice Notice (CAN), which the UK issued. After being widely criticised for its excessive treatment of safety risks in buildings, the CAN was withdrawn.
PAS9980 is a proportionate approach to building security. It was specifically designed for fire engineers and other building professionals who performed a fire risk assessment of external walls (FRAEW) and came into effect on 31 January.
Guidance To Identify Risk
PAS 9980’s risk-based approach is based on the Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Fire Safety Act 2021 introduced the FRAEW. It is intended to assist in assessing a building’s fire risk. It quantifies the fire risk from external wall construction and recommends preventative measures to meet the order’s requirements.
The PAS is a code for practice that addresses fire spreading over external walls of multi-storey flat blocks of all heights. It addresses those above 18m. It draws upon the lessons from past fires that caused significant and unexpected fire spread.
PAS 9980 offers a voluntary method for building owners to use when recording and conducting FRAEWs, allowing you to identify the factors that affect the building’s overall risk rating and the possible improvements. The PAS helps to identify practical and proportionate ways to improve the safety of residents as well as decrease high remediation costs. You can take help from FR Consulting to understand the guidelines.
Considering Holistic Mitigation
This document recognizes that correcting deficiencies is the best way to reduce risk. This is often costly, disruptive, and difficult. According to the PAS, it is possible to reduce deficiencies by exploring other options.
The PAS 9980 allows you to assess the fire resistance of external walls, assessing external fire spread risks in building use, occupancy, and fire safety arrangements. The building is, therefore, holistically considered.
Risk-based approaches mean that any FRAEW will be subjective. This requires competent persons to use their professional judgement. Proper proportionality is crucial.
An Emphasis On Assessors’ Competence
PAS 9980 provides additional commentary on the competence and competency of external wall assessors. It focuses on professional and ethical behaviour when clients might place significant financial, legal, or commercial pressure to do otherwise.
PAS requires that assessors be impartial and fair. They must also be able to interpret the information and give an opinion about the fire risk they pose by going beyond just determining the materials, components and systems used in external walls.
Those commissioning FRAEWs must verify that the assessors are competent to perform the required level of assessment. The PAS provides valuable information about the skills that external wall assessors should have for different levels or tasks. For more information or consultation, contact Facade Consultants.
A report prepared according to the PAS should not be considered an alternative to the form. This is only for valuation purposes. It can be used to support the choice of a particular EWS1 form.
The UK government expects that construction professionals will follow the code in all FRAEWs and produce a report indicating the PAS method was used.