The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire has prompted major changes in building safety across the UK. A new code of practice, PAS9980 Services, was published in 2022 and aims to decrease the risk of fire spreading through external walls and cladding systems in existing blocks of flats. However, with so many new rules and regulations, it can be difficult to know exactly what PAS9980 is and who it applies to.
PAS 9980 is a code of practice that was developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI). It provides recommendations and guidance on undertaking a fire risk assessment of external walls (FRAEW) in multistorey, multi-occupied blocks of flats. The FRAEW is a requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2021 and will help to demonstrate compliance with that order.
It is important to note that PAS9980 is not a replacement for the EWS1 form that was created by RICS. The EWS1 form is a document that is used when an apartment in a high-rise block of flats with cladding is being bought or sold. It is not a legal requirement, but mortgage lenders are unwilling to lend money for high-rise buildings that do not have an EWS1 in place.
A FRAEW conducted by a qualified fire engineer will determine the level of risk posed by a block of flats’ external wall construction and cladding. The level of risk will then be categorised as low, acceptable or high. If a block is categorised as high, the fire engineer will suggest any required remedial work. This will then be documented in the FRAEW report.
Those who need to have their building assessed under PAS9980 Services should ensure that the assessor is a certified fire engineer and not a general builder or architect. The PAS9980 process looks at a number of elements in detail, so an expert with the right knowledge will be able to spot any issues and provide you with the appropriate advice.
The drafting of PAS9980 was a collaborative effort by a wide range of industry experts, including fire engineers and cladding specialists. The resulting guidance is intended to be straightforward, practical and transparent. It also encourages a proportionate and pragmatic approach to the safeguarding of residents, rather than requiring excessive costs for unnecessary remediation works.
If you need an expert to perform a PAS9980 assessment for your building, then Oakleaf is here to help. Our team is fully qualified and experienced in carrying out a full and comprehensive FRAEW, as well as providing advice on the appropriate action required for your building. For more information, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss the process in more depth with you. We can also provide you with examples of previous PAS9980 assessments we have carried out, so you can see the level of detail and quality that we can offer. The most common questions we receive are around what is included in a PAS9980 assessment, the cost of a PAS9980 and whether it can be combined with an EWS1 form.