PAS9980, a new code of practice for assessing the fire risk of exterior wall construction and cladding on existing apartment towers, was released by the BSI in January 2022.
The new PAS partially replaces the 2020 Consolidated Advice Note (CAN) on building safety issued by the UK government. The CAN was rescinded following widespread criticism that its consideration of risk in safe structures was inappropriate.
PAS 9980 adopts a more balanced approach to building safety.
Guidance On Identifying Risk
PAS 9980’s risk-based approach is based on the principle underlying the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. The FRAEW was created in response to the Fire Safety Act of 2021 and is intended to complement a structure’s overall fire risk assessment. It accomplishes this by evaluating the risk caused by exterior wall construction and suggesting preventative actions that will assist meet the criteria of the order.
As a code of practice, the PAS addresses the danger of the fire spreading along the external walls of all multi-story apartment buildings, not simply those taller than 18 metres. It incorporates the lessons from prior fires in which unforeseen and considerable exterior fire spread.
FR Consulting offers building owners an optional approach for performing and documenting FRAEWs. This will aid in determining the aspects that define a building’s overall risk rating and any potential improvement methods. The PAS identifies balanced and realistic approaches to enhance resident safety and prevent unnecessary remedial expenses.
Considering Mitigation Holistically
The text admits that the standard method for minimising risk is addressing the danger by addressing the inadequacies. However, this is frequently difficult, disruptive, and expensive. Therefore, the PAS emphasises that it may be able to alleviate inadequacies by investigating other possibilities.
PAS 9980 provides a method for evaluating the probable fire resistance of outside walls. It also evaluates the hazards associated with exterior fire spread in the context of the building’s usage, occupancy, and fire protection measures, allowing for a holistic assessment of the building.
Due to the risk-based methodology, any FRAEW will undoubtedly be subjective, requiring competent individuals to apply their professional judgement. The Key is proportionality.
An Emphasis On Assessors’ Competence
In addition, PAS 9980 comments on the qualifications of exterior wall assessors. It focuses on behaving professionally and morally in the face of severe economic, financial, or legal pressure from clients.
The PAS requires that evaluators be objective and fair. In addition to determining the materials, components, and systems employed in the outside walls, they must evaluate this information and provide a judgement on their fire risk.
It is also essential for those who commission FRAEWs to check that assessors have the relevant expertise for the required level of evaluation. The PAS usefully outlines the abilities commonly needed of exterior wall assessors for various activities or levels of evaluation. Facade Consultants are professionals who are always ready to solve your queries.
In the future, the government of the United Kingdom wants construction professionals to adhere to the code of practice in all FRAEWs and publish a report indicating that the PAS approach was utilised.