What is an external fire risk assessment?

PAS 9980 is a fire risk assessment that was developed by a group of experts in construction, fire, housing and safety. It’s designed to be used by fire engineers and any additional building professionals who have to advise on the external wall construction of existing blocks of flats. It covers the risk of a fire spreading over these buildings, and can be scaled up or down depending on the complexity of individual buildings. It also addresses other types of housing, including student accommodations and specific specialized units.

The standard has been largely aimed at addressing PAS9980 Services London the backlog of landlords and freeholders who are struggling to sell or re-mortgage their high rise homes due to cladding concerns. However, it’s not meant to be a substitute for other fire safety checks and inspections that need to take place in accordance with legislation and standards.

DL: As you can imagine, when something like PAS9980 is published it creates more work for fire engineers and other professionals who carry out these assessments. Hopefully, third-party accreditation will come into play in the same way that RICS did with their EWS1 form – so we can stop people who aren’t qualified to do these assessments jumping on the bandwagon and damaging their reputation.

As you know, a FRAEW risk assessment is a comprehensive document that needs to be completed by trained assessors. It involves a detailed look at a block of flats’ external walls and any attached structures, such as balconies. The process also includes consideration of any other areas that could be impacted by a fire, including escape routes and the ability for the fire services to access the property in an emergency.

Once the assessment has been completed, the fire engineer will compile a report that details the findings. This will include the overall risk rating, along with a list of any remedial steps that may be required to reduce the level of risk. The report will be sent to the landlord or freeholder, and they will then be responsible for implementing any required improvements.

While PAS9980 isn’t a substitute for other fire safety checks and surveys, it does help to clarify the scope of what is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This is the legal requirement that all buildings with two or more domestic dwellings have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, which must take into account the external walls and any attachments.