The most current guidance issued by the British Standards Institute is PAS (publicly-available specification) 9980/2022. This code guides fire risk assessments and the assessment of external wall building and cladding. It was created to clarify the confusion from the Consolidated Advice Note stating that multi-occupancy buildings, regardless of height, would require an EWS1 review.
What Goals Does PAS 9980 Have?
The following are the objectives outlined in the PAS9980.
- Provides fire engineers with a method to evaluate and assess the possibility of fire spreading through external wall construction;
- So that recipients of FRAA can understand the process used and how the findings were interpreted;
- For non-fire specialists to review and FRAA. To understand the risk from external fire spread in the context of the building’s fire strategy;
- It aims to increase understanding of fire risk associated with the external wall construction and to limit what can be achieved in any FRAA. This will also ensure conformity for new construction to the standards of new buildings;
- To allow standard terms to be used for those involved with frames.
- For consistency in frames;
- To create a basis for documentation of FRAS;
- FRAA training to ensure consistency and increase the number of FRAA-certified professionals;
- To satisfy professional indemnity/pi insurers, a national standard underpins consistency for carrying out FRAS.
For Whom Is the Guidance in PAS 9980 Intended?
Fire engineers can use this guidance and other competent building professionals qualified for performing fire risk assessments and appraisals. The code of ethics also provides recommendations for ensuring that the professional conducting the FRAEW, Fire Risk Assessments of External Walls, is qualified to do such assessments. FR Consulting provides clear guidance for the qualified professional’s Facade Consultants conducting the assessments and encourages industry consistency.
How Does the PAS 9990 Guide Balconies?
The PAS 9980 separates balconies into the following main categories:
- Those built entirely within the curtilage structure of the building;
- These that extend beyond the main building structure but take advantage of an extension on the floor slab;
- These are those that extend beyond its primary structure and are fixed to an exterior wall of the building.
It says that regardless of the material category, each material used in the construction of the balcony must be examined. During the FRAEW, it is necessary to consider their role in spreading fire. A balcony made of high-combustible materials will impact the building’s rating.
It also instructs that any non-combustible material will be used to replace any combustible material, such as wood in decking systems or composite decking.
What Approach Recommends the PAS for the FRAA?
The PAS 9980 introduces the five-step risk-based approach. It guides qualified personnel to identify, rate, and assess the various fire risks in buildings. It also offers guidance for improving the risk rating. The fire risk classification of a building is determined by its fire danger.
What Does the PAS9980 Mean for Building Safety?
The PAS 9980 was established to reduce the EWS1-exempt buildings to guide the industry. Although it says multi-storey, multi-occupancy buildings are covered by the EWS1 definition; it doesn’t specify the minimum height. This can mean that professional indemnity insurance providers and mortgage lenders may continue to use the same practices they used before, trapping landlords and building owners in a vicious cycle.