As part of the Government’s effort to reform the building sector in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to draft a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) code of practice for assessors when examining external walls and cladding.
The draft code of practice is named “PAS 9980: Fire risk appraisal and assessment of external wall construction and cladding of existing blocks of flats”
The PAS sets out the competency expectations and provides a detailed methodology for undertaking the assessments.
Our fire engineers and professionals are qualified to the levels required to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment and Appraisal (FRAA).
What is a Fire Risk Assessment and Appraisal (FRAA)?
The purpose of Fire Risk Assessment and Appraisal (FRAA) is to assess the risk to occupants from a fire spreading externally over or within the walls of the building, and to make a decision, whether in specific circumstances of the building, remediation is considered necessary. It is applicable where the risk is known, or suspected, to arise from the presence of combustible materials within the external wall build‑up.
The FRAA considerations include the full external wall construction, spandrel panels, photovoltaic systems, any attachments including balconies, other fire hazards and risks, the surroundings to the building, the escape routes from the building and fire service access. It is a very holistic assessment, required to be undertaken by highly competent assessors.
PAS 9980 gives recommendations and guidance on undertaking a fire risk appraisal and assessment (FRAA) of the external wall construction of a multistorey, multi-occupied residential building.
An FRAA will also highlight where an EWS1 is required in accordance with RICS guidance on various types of properties.
What is PAS 9980?
PAS 9980 is a British Standard named “PAS 9980 Fire Risk Appraisal and Assessment of External Wall Construction and Cladding of Existing Blocks of Flats. Code of Practice”. It gives recommendations and guidance on undertaking a fire risk appraisal and assessment (FRAA) of the external wall construction of multistorey, multi‑occupied residential buildings.
The objectives of the PAS include providing a standard methodology that can be used consistently to assess and document the risk of fire spread across all external wall assessments and enable those receiving the assessments to understand the findings and related risks better.
The standard is intended for use by fire engineers and other building professionals tasked with advising on the fire risk of external wall construction of existing blocks of flats and other building professionals who make decisions based upon the outcome of the FRAAs.
Which Type of Buildings Does PAS 9980 Cover?
The PAS 9980 covers multistorey blocks of flats, but also includes the following types of buildings if, from the perspective of general fire strategy and means of escape design, and specifically evacuation strategy, they are similar in nature to a purpose-built block of flats:
- student accommodation
- sheltered and other specialised housing
- buildings converted into flats
Which Type of Wall build-ups Does PAS 9980 Cover?
The PAS 9980 addresses the risk from fire spread over the external walls of multistorey blocks of flats of any height.
The PAS 9980 addresses situations in which there is a single wall type or a mixture of different wall types. It also addresses buildings that are partially clad, as well as those that are fully clad, in combustible materials.
Wall build-ups within the scope of the PAS include, but are not limited to:
- external walls incorporating rainscreen cladding, with or without insulation within any associated cavity
- external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS), particularly those comprising rendered insulation
- insulated core (“sandwich”) panels
- glazed façades with infill/spandrel panels
- substrates including concrete blockwork, brick, steel framing systems (SFSs), timber framing and structural insulated panels (SIPs)
- curtain walling
Who Is the PAS 9980 Intended For?
The PAS 9980 is particularly intended for use by fire engineers and other building professionals tasked with advising on the fire risk of external wall construction of existing blocks of flats.
However, it is also intended for use by other building professionals, those for whom such appraisals are carried out and those who make decisions based upon the outcome of the FRAAs. Typically, this will include:
- building surveyors
- façade engineers
- project managers
- cladding contractors
- building owners/landlords
- managing agents or facility managers
- local housing authorities
- fire and rescue authorities
- building control bodies
- advice agencies
- valuers and mortgage lenders
The PAS 9980 is concise and covers a lot of information, including what should be included in an FRAA report, a history of fire safety regulations and standards, fire incident case studies and a glossary of definitions.
We are committed to providing clients with fire risk assessment and appraisal reports and services to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and let us know your needs.
Our FRAA reports will allow owners and/or managers of multi-occupancy residential buildings to understand if the external walls of their buildings pose a risk and if remedial work is required.