PAS 9980:2022 Code of Practice and Your Organisation
Tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, and even more recently the Whitechapel tower block blaze in East London, have highlighted the need for comprehensive reviews of existing building safety standards. This includes evaluations of whether regulations are adequate to protect the people living inside high-risk buildings such as high-rise flats.
The full analysis into the causes of the fires and the measures that should have been taken to prevent them highlighted how cladding and external wall construction had a huge role in their severity. Consequently, a new code of practice, commissioned by the Government and developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI) has been established. PAS 9980:2022 has been introduced to raise safety standards and help to prevent a repeat of these devastating events.
What is PAS 9980:2022?
PAS 9980:2022 is a comprehensive assessment methodology for competent fire engineers and other competent building professionals when undertaking a Fire Risk Appraisal of External Walls (FRAEW), focusing on the construction and cladding in existing multi-storey and multi-occupied residential buildings.
The code of practice uses a five-step risk assessment process that helps to identify risk factors and mitigation steps to improve risk ratings. Organisations are recommended to adapt their existing fire risk assessments to align with the comprehensive PAS 9980:2022 assessment method, which outside of the legally required fire risk assessment also includes the following considerations:
- Fire systems
- Fire development
- Spread of smoke
- Structural integrity
- Evacuation plans
- Fire services
PAS9980:2022 provides a methodology to assess and record risk to life. It is not a legal requirement for building regulations. It can, however, be used to document compliance within the law and form part of a fire risk assessment, which IS a legal requirement for buildings containing two or more sets of domestic premises.
External Wall Fire Review (EWS1) vs PAS 9980:2022
EWS1 is an assessment that was developed to determine the suitability / combustibility of external walls of residential blocks 18 metres or taller. When it was put into practice in 2019, it unearthed a number of sites which had external wall systems where combustible materials had been identified / installed resulting in B1/B2 ratings. These EWS1 ratings alone invalidated mortgage applications of perspective buyers in that they did not assure banks of the compliance of a cladding system.
PAS9980:2022, whilst not being an alternative to EWS1, is designed to be an additional provider of more detailed information and will look at all aspects of a site, providing a collective data set referred to as the ‘Golden Thread’ of information. Oakleaf’s approach to PAS 9980:2022 is to provide a holistic approach to the fire safety measures in place. This easily accessible, reliable and up to date accurate information acts as a tool to allow clients to take effective and proportionate steps to improve their fire safety measures. It will also identify if additional fire safety precautions are in place, which MAY in turn, improve an original B2 rating.
PAS9980:2022 will not replace EWS1 at this time. The EWS1 is concerned solely with risk to property. However, PAS9980:2022 can evidence and produce an EWS1 from its information.
How Oakleaf can Support Your Organisation
We are constantly striving to increase safety standards across all industries and the introduction of PAS 9980:2022 is a welcome intervention that we are looking forward to helping organisations implement.
Oakleaf provides a service specifically for PAS 9980:2022 fire risk appraisals, helping organisations to meet legal requirements and improve fire safety measures. This will enable property and building owners to take proportionate and effective steps to improve fire safety within their buildings, which we can further assist with through project management moving forward.
Our PAS 9980:2022 review includes assessments of:
- Fire Strategy and Fire Risk Assessment, including Compartmentation and Fire Door Surveys
- Cladding Configuration
- Fire Performance
Reports are scalable in size and can be complex for large scale projects, or a simple evaluation on a building. They are adaptable to scope and can be tailored to an organisation’s specific requirements, providing comprehensive information and data that clearly highlights the key priorities that require urgent attention. The report is formatted in a way so that it is easy to find the most important information and equally easy to share specific areas with other stakeholders.
If you are concerned about how you will implement PAS 9980:2022 methodology for your organisation, let us provide you with our fire risk assessment expertise. Oakleaf’s fire risk assessment services are accredited by UKAS and NSI under the BAFE SP:205 life safety fire risk assessment scheme. Our expert fire risk consultants and assessors hold a range of professional accreditations including membership of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and the Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM).
Contact us to discuss how we can help you with your PAS 9980:2022 compliance.