PAS 79-2:2020 Fire risk assessment in housing

PAS 79-2:2020

Fire risk assessment. Housing. Code of practice

Status : Current   Published : December 2020



What is PAS 79-2:2020 about?

PAS 79, which was last revised in 2012, provided generic fire risk assessment guidance. However, the housing sector wanted more housing-specific recommendations to be developed. It was therefore decided to revise PAS 79,  updating the existing PAS and renaming it as Part 1, and introducing a new, housing-specific, Part 2.

Consequently, PAS 79-2:2020 covers how to carry out fire

- risk assessments in housing premises and parts of housing premises for which fire risk assessments are required by legislation.

Who is PAS 79-2:2020 for?

Fire safety professionals with knowledge of the principles of fire safety, who are either responsible for one particular organization’s fire safety assessment or work for consultancies providing fire risk assessments as a service.

Why should you use PAS 79-2:2020?

This part of PAS 79 gives recommendations and corresponding examples of documentation for undertaking, and recording the significant findings of, fire risk assessments in housing premises and parts of housing premises for which fire risk assessments are required by legislation.

It also gives recommendations for fire risk assessments that are outside the scope of fire safety legislation, but are designed to protect residents of blocks of flats, sheltered housing and extra care housing in the event of a fire in their own flat.

The objectives of PAS 79-2:2020 are to:

  • Present to housing providers and their advisers a methodology that can help them meet their legislative responsibilities to undertake fire risk assessments
  • Provide a framework for the assessment of fire risk
  • Promote better understanding of fire risks and fire safety in housing by housing providers and non-fire specialists
  • Enable common relevant terminology to be adopted by those who carry out fire risk assessments
  • Provide an understanding of the principles and scope of fire risk assessments
  • Establish a pragmatic, holistic and risk-proportionate approach to assessment of fire prevention measures, fire protection measures and management of fire safety, for the purpose of conducting fire risk assessments in housing, based on a fundamental understanding of fire safety principles
  • Establish a satisfactory basis for documentation of housing fire risk assessments
  • Provide a benchmark for a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • Promote a consistent approach to carrying out and documenting a fire risk assessment that is likely to be satisfactory to enforcing authorities
  • Dispel misconceptions as to the nature and scope of a fire risk assessment

 PAS 79-2:2020 contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 on promoting well-being; Goal 9 on building resilient infrastructure, and Goal 11 on making cities and human settlements safer. 

 What’s new about PAS 79-2:2020?

This new Part 2 of PAS 79 is based on PAS 79:2012, but introduces the following principal changes:

a)       PAS 79-2 is a code of practice, whereas PAS 79:2012 was a guide. PAS 79:2012 was already written in the form of a code of practice, and the change in status is simply to recognize this, noting that guides are not usually of such a nature as to sustain a reliable claim of compliance

b)      The scope of this new Part 2 of PAS 79 comprises blocks of flats, sheltered housing, extra care housing, supported housing and certain houses in multiple occupation (i.e. those falling within the scope of the relevant fire safety legislation). Fire risk assessment for other, non-housing premises is now addressed in a new Part 1 of PAS 79

c)       Guidance, published in England by the Local Government Association, on fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats has been taken into account, along with equivalent guidance for high-rise blocks of flats published in Scotland by the Scottish Government

d)      Guidance produced by the National Fire Chiefs Council on fire safety in specialized housing has been taken into account, along with equivalent guidance published in Scotland by the Scottish Government

e)      For blocks of flats, sheltered housing and extra care housing, recommendations are provided for Types 2, 3 and 4 fire risk assessments, as defined in the Local Government Association guidance and the National Fire Chiefs Council guidance. However, for these housing premises, this PAS is primarily concerned with the Type 1 fire risk assessment required for compliance with the relevant fire safety legislation in England and Wales

f)        The technical content has been subject to amendment in the light of experience in the use of PAS 79:2012

g)       There is new guidance on the consideration to be given to external wall construction and cladding

h)      There is recognition of pre-occupation fire safety assessments, a term now defined in this PAS, and a clarification to avoid confusion between these assessments and the fire risk assessment to which this PAS refers

i)        There is even greater emphasis on competence of fire risk assessors and reference to future competence standards. It’s also noted that fire safety specialists with experience only in the design of new buildings might not possess an appreciation of standards against which older buildings were designed and the possible continued acceptability of such standards

j)        There is new, more detailed discussion of the stay put strategy normally adopted in blocks of flats and maisonettes, and this term, as well as the converse strategy of simultaneous evacuation, is now defined in this PAS

k)       A warning is included in respect of the potential risk to residents if a stay put strategy is inappropriately abandoned

l)        Reference is made to evacuation alert systems for use by the fire and rescue service in blocks of flats and maisonettes, which are the subject of BS 8629

m)    Reference is made to person-centred fire risk assessments in specialized housing, though specific recommendations in relation to these fire risk assessments are outside the scope of this PAS

n)      Changes to, and publication of various other new, British Standards have been taken into account

Standard NumberPAS 79-2:2020
TitleFire risk assessment. Housing. Code of practice
Publication Date31 December 2020
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)BS EN ISO 13943, BS 5839-6:2019, BS 4422
Informative References(Provided for Information)BS 5306-3, BS 8629, BS 5655 (all parts), BS 5266-1, BS 8414-1, BS 5499-4, BS 7671, BS 9997, BS EN 1838, BS 8414-2, BS ISO 23601, PAS 9980, BS EN 50172 (BS 5266-8), BS 7273-4, BS 2655 (all parts), PAS 79-1, BS 9251, BS EN 54, BS 5588-5, BS EN ISO 7010, BS 5839-1, BS 5499-10, BS 8899:2016, BS EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009, BS 7974:2019, BS 9991:2015, BS EN 81-72:2020
ReplacesPAS 79:2012
DescriptorsFire safety in buildings, Fire protection, Fire protection (buildings), Hazard prevention in buildings, Structural fire protection
ISBN978 0 539 06260 1
File Size8.082 MB

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