New guidelines recently published by BSI, entitled ‘PAS 9980:2022, a methodology for the fire risk appraisal of external wall construction and cladding of existing multistorey and multi occupied residential buildings’, will become the benchmark for the existing building Fire Risk Appraisal of External Walls (FRAEW).

This PAS came into effect on 31 January 2022 and has great potential for evaluating and categorising the fire risk of existing building façade systems based on a specified methodology. Additionally, the Consolidated Advice Note published by MHCLG (now DLUHC) in January 2020 was withdrawn on 10 January 2022 as it was no longer considered the appropriate way to determine the safety of existing buildings.

It is hoped that PAS 9980 will provide an effective approach to minimising the impact of the existing building facade crisis in the UK, as a thorough fire risk-based approach makes it possible to analyse façade systems in existing buildings on a case-by-case basis, taking account of factors such as size, location, surroundings, and impact on evacuation and fire rescue service intervention.

However, highly competent fire engineers with substantial background knowledge of the UK regulations and guidance and of façade testing and research are needed for the necessary evaluations. The Efectis team in London is one of the best candidates to perform FRAEWs based on PAS 9980 thanks to its highly competent fire engineers and its profound knowledge and experience, especially in facade testing according to BS 8414 (full scale façade test) and ISO 13785 (intermediate façade test). Its involvement in many façade-related projects, such as intrusive surveys and inspections, research studies and scientific publications, has enabled Efectis to gain a good understanding of numerous completed façade systems and to draw reasonable fire risk conclusions. At the same time, the understanding and experience of UK regulations and guidance on façades allows Efectis to identify the legislative provisions that require compliance at the time of construction of the building. This will enable the owner and stakeholders to proceed on the basis of any FRAEW reports made and to understand what fire risks might apply if combustible materials are present in the facade system.

If your building requires a FRAEW according to PAS 9980 or you need an expert opinion on any façade systems in your building, Efectis will be pleased to advise you on the best solution.

For more information, please e-mail Efectis at uk@efectis.com.