New Code of Practice to Drive a More Risk-Based & Proportional Approach to Remediation from the Sector

The new PAS 9980:2022 code of practice has been published and the Government has now withdrawn the Consolidated Advice Note (CAN).

PAS 9980:2022 is a new code of practice for the fire risk appraisal of external wall construction and cladding of existing multistorey and multi-occupied residential buildings. The code has been developed by a steering group of experts in the fields of construction, fire, housing and safety. It is for use by competent fire engineers and other competent building professionals when undertaking a fire risk appraisal of external walls (FRAEW).

The withdrawn CAN had caused a disproportionate reaction to the level of risk in medium and lower-rise buildings. It drove a cautious approach to building safety in buildings that are safe, which went beyond what the Government considered necessary.

Download PAS 9980:2022 from the BSI website and access further information on the new code of practice here.


Consolidated Advice Note (CAN) & PAS 9980 - Further Background

The Government’s Consolidated Advice Note (CAN) on building safety, published in January 2020, required building owners of all multi-storey and multi occupied residential buildings to undertake investigations into external wall systems in order to determine if they present a risk to the health and safety of the residents. It went on to say that where the external wall systems give rise to risk, then advice should be taken on remediation or mitigation measures.  

In July 2021, an independent group of experts led by Dame Judith Hackitt, commissioned by the Government, concluded that there has been a disproportionate reaction to the level of risk in medium and lower-rise buildings as a result of the CAN. They stated that some surveyors have been asking for excessive amount of additional information on risks and safety to offer mortgage valuations; some insurers have been raising buildings insurance premiums and withdrawing or placing punitive exclusions on professional indemnity insurance; and some fire risk assessors have been taking an unnecessarily risk averse approach in identifying risks and recommending remedial works which may not be necessary, and impose unjustified costs.

The purpose of the PAS 9980 is to provide a standard methodology which can be used consistently to assess the risk of fire spread across all external wall assessments and to enable those receiving the assessments to better understand the findings and related risks. The standard introduces a fire risk appraisal and assessment of external walls (the FRAA) which will feed into the fire risk assessment required by the Fire Safety Order. The overall intention of withdrawing the CAN and replacing it with the PAS 9980 is to drive a more risk-based, proportional approach from fire professionals, lenders and insurers and ultimately reduce the amount of remediation needed.

For further information, please contact [email protected]