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Published 28 July 2022

© Crown copyright 2022
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-fund-guidance-for-new-applications-2022/annex-a-technical-guidance-for-applicants-of-building-safety-funding-applying-for-funding-via-pas-99802022
PAS 9980:2022 is a code of practice which sets out a method for competent professionals to conduct Fire Risk Appraisals of External Wall construction (FRAEW) for existing multi-storey, multi-occupied residential buildings. As part of your application to the Building Safety Fund (BSF) we will require you to submit an FRAEW following the methodology set out in PAS 9980:2022 to determine the building’s eligibility.
Many buildings will not require an FRAEW. All multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises now require the Fire Risk Assessment required under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order) to include an assessment of their external walls. In many cases, this is will not require a detailed review of their external walls. It should be obvious to a competent fire risk assessor that the risk of fire spread, particularly in buildings with brick or masonry walls, is sufficiently low that an FRAEW is not required. In these cases, the fire risk assessor will normally address compliance of external wall construction with the Fire Safety Order as part of the routine Fire Risk Assessment process.
An FRAEW is applicable where the risk is known, or suspected, to arise from the form of construction used for the external wall build‑up, such as the presence of combustible materials.
The Fund will be open to applications from responsible entities of private or social sector buildings that meet the following criteria:
For buildings eligible for BSF, any unsafe[footnote 3] ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) cladding found will need to be removed and replaced, the costs of which will be eligible for Government funding. Competent persons carrying out an FRAEW following the methodology set out in PAS 9980:2022, should take this into account when undertaking the FRAEW. Further information can be found here.
The BSF will review your FRAEW to ensure that the advice offered is produced by a competent assessor and the recommendations are conclusive about the level of risk present in external wall systems and how that risk can be mitigated. This guidance sets out how we will review your FRAEW and what we will require to be included in your FRAEW to determine eligibility.
It is important that your FRAEW follows the guidance and methodology set out in PAS 9980:2022 so that the application can be considered fairly, consistently and in a timely manner. PAS 9980:2022 recommends that when adopting a risk-based approach to determining whether an existing multistorey, multi-occupied residential building is safe, in terms of external fire spread, external wall assessors should recognize and take account of all the following:
The review carried out by BSF will be looking for evidence that these criteria have been considered in the appraisal of risk posed by the cladding system(s).
For the FRAEW to be acceptable to BSF it must cover all the following:
The first stage will be a simple ‘non-expert’ quality check to triage FRAEWs before expending time on further technical diligence. Further details on what will be checked at this stage are provided below.
FRAEWs that pass this stage will then proceed to a more specialist check where they will be reviewed against the guidance and methodology described in PAS 9980:2022.
If you are a Responsible Entity submitting an FRAEW to the BSF, please check the accompanying Guidance on who can provide you with an FRAEW, what you should expect from the FRAEW process, and what FRAEW recommendations do and do not mean. Responsible Entities should ensure they are content with their FRAEW and satisfy themselves that their FRAEW meets the requirements detailed below prior to submitting them to the BSF.
The guidance in PAS 9980:2022 is extensive and sets out what should be considered, a methodology and benchmark criteria for identifying and categorising risk, as well as how the FRAEW should be formatted. The BSF’s review will check that your FRAEW follows PAS 9980:2022 and meets the requirements set out in this technical guidance.
The triage check. Section 4 of PAS 9980:2022 contains guidance on issues to consider prior to undertaking an FRAEW, such as whether the building in question is within scope of PAS 9980:2022. Section 15 provides guidance on the scope, contents and format of FRAEW reports. In this stage the review will check the structure and general content of your report, based on Sections 4 and 15 of PAS 9980:2022, to ensure that it has been carried out on a relevant building and contains sufficient information to be subjected to further technical diligence by BSF.
The FRAEW must contain the following information:
The name, address and postcode of the building.
The statement of competence. (See Competence of the assessor below)
Evidence of building height – Whilst all multi-storey blocks of flats are within scope of PAS 9980:2022, for a building to be eligible to apply to the fund, the building should measure 18 metres, or just below, when measured as shown in diagram D6 of Approved Document B. This diagram is included below:
Diagram D6: Height of top storey in building
The measurement should be taken from the lowest external ground level to the finished floor level of the top occupied storey.[footnote 4] For the purposes of the fund, we are allowing a tolerance of 30cm to this measurement so any building with appropriate evidence that their building measures 17.7m or above will be eligible to proceed with the application. This is to allow for measurement error, the potential for ground levels to have varied from the original design and the settlement of the building over time.
Building in this context is defined as a collection of residential dwellings, such as apartments or flats, served by a shared common circulation. The ground levels used to measure the building height must be immediately adjacent to the application building and not at another part of the block or a remote part of the development. For buildings combined or joined to create larger blocks, where these are separated from any adjacent buildings by compartmentation and / or where there are limits to circulation, we will apply Diagram D6 separately to each building.
Basic document control information – The name of the author, the date of issue and the document reference number and what version. The FRAEW must evidence it has been peer reviewed prior to submission. This must be evidenced in the FRAEW by providing the name and company of the peer reviewer. The peer reviewer can be from the same company as the author of the FRAEW or from another. Both internal and external peer reviews are acceptable. If the assessor does not have the appropriate resources within their organisation to complete a peer review of the FRAEW, it is expected that they will engage a suitable qualified person from another organisation to complete the peer review.
Scope – There should be an explanation of why it has been necessary to undertake an FRAEW and confirmation that the building being subjected to the FRAEW falls within the scope of PAS 9980:2022 guidance. For example, the FRAEW should identify whether it is a basic assessment or a detailed technical assessment using fire engineering analysis.
Conclusions and recommendations – As well as proposed remediation or mitigations, any caveats or limitations to the conclusions on risks and remedial measures should be identified and explained.
If the FRAEW does not meet these criteria, it will not be accepted for assessment and the registrant will be notified of the reasons for that decision.
The technical check. Once the FRAEW has passed the triage check, technical specialists will consider whether the FRAEW fulfils the specific guidance under various sections of PAS 9980:2022. This assessment will consider whether the information in the FRAEW is satisfactory or unsatisfactory against the recommendations set out in PAS 9980:2022. If it is deemed unsatisfactory then the FRAEW will be rejected.
Key areas that will be assessed are:
Competence of the assessor (Section 8 of PAS 9980:2022)
PAS 9980:2022 requires that persons conducting the FRAEW are competent to do so and sets out in Annex H the expected skill sets of competent external wall assessors. We expect this to be evidenced in the statement of competence to be included at the beginning of the FRAEW. The statement must be headed “Statement of Competence to carry out a Fire Risk Appraisal of External Wall construction” and should include the full name of the author and explicitly confirm that they have:
The statement should also include:
The statement of competence should be signed by the author of the report. The skills and experience that the assessor sets out in the statement of competence will be judged against the skill sets described in Annex H of PAS 9980:2022.
Whilst PAS 9980:2022 is not restrictive about who can produce an FRAEW, the BSF will consider whether the author is a member of a relevant building industry profession, such as a Chartered Surveyor, Architect, Façade Engineer, or Fire Engineer. FRAEWs authored by consultants outside of these relevant professions will be subjected to increased scrutiny to determine whether the author demonstrates a sufficient level of competence.
FRAEWs that include detailed technical assessments incorporating fire engineering analysis will need to be authored by Fire Engineers with the appropriate level of experience and qualifications.
The BSF will require that the fire risk assessor who conducted the FRAEW holds Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) of not less than £1 million with no policy exclusions relating to fire safety and cladding. The evidence provided for this should be in the form of:
This evidence should be included within the FRAEW report.
Reports that are not authored by competent relevant professionals or are otherwise unable to evidence how the authors are competent to have carried out an FRAEW to PAS 9980:2022 will be rejected.
The FRAEW is intended to inform the Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) of the building and the FRAEW should explain how the two documents relate to each other. It is a key requirement that a basic level of assessment or a technical assessment based on fire engineering analysis, considers all the wall systems on a building, and allocates an appropriate level of risk in the FRAEW. The report should identify the range, quality and reliability of the information that was available about the building and comment on the reliability of the source of that information. The FRAEW should identify, for all wall systems, where additional intrusive investigations were carried out to verify or expand the range of information that was used to base the FRAEW’s conclusions on levels of risk, including any testing of materials. If an intrusive survey has not been carried out, the assessor must explain the reasons for this and how the level of risk was determined in the absence of this information. This should include wall systems that are considered low risk.
If your fire risk assessor conducting the FRAEW identifies that further in-depth technical assessment is needed to determine the level of risk posed by external wall systems, then you should get this assessment before submitting your FRAEW to the Fund. The BSF will not make funding decisions based on FRAEWs which state further investigation is needed.
Section 13 of PAS 9980:2022 contains detailed guidance on the structured approach the assessor should take to determine the risks presented by the external wall construction of the building. This approach includes considering the likely performance of the external walls in a fire and how rapidly fire might spread based on the materials, components, and systems; how the fire might spread considering the configuration of the cladding; how a fire could cause harm to the occupants and impact their ability to escape in time. The FRAEW should include consideration of the possible impacts of building features and systems, risks arising from fire strategy/fire hazards and should take account of any specific limitations impacting the effectiveness of Fire and Rescue Service interventions.
The FRAEW should clearly demonstrate the methodology used including consideration of the risk factors consistent with the guidance and various annexes, with clear justification for any deviation from this. This should focus on assessing the risk posed by the external wall systems and should lead to a categorisation of risk for each system. If the methodology adopted in the FRAEW varies from that set out in PAS 9980:2022, there should be a clear justification why an alternative methodology has been used .
PAS 9980:2022 contains separate guidance for basic level assessments that can be carried out by a range of competent professionals, as well as a detailed technical assessment incorporating fire engineering analysis which requires additional competencies, such as those held by competent fire engineers. The FRAEW should be clear as to which level of assessment applies. If the FRAEW contains fire engineering analysis this work must have been provided by a Chartered Engineer with suitable experience in fire.
The FRAEW should set out the key findings and overall assessment of the risk rating, including the constraints and limitations that have applied in conducting the FRAEW. It should consider the range of possible remedial measures available, including mitigation measures, and set out clear recommendations on proposed action(s) and justification for this choice. The BSF will scrutinise whether the FRAEW has been conclusive about the level of risk posed by all the external wall systems present and that proportionate remedial measures to address these risks have been provided.
If a building meets the initial eligibility criteria set out at the beginning of this guidance, and the FRAEW has passed both triage and technical checks, the decision on whether the building is eligible for funding by BSF will be based on the FRAEW being conclusive about the risk to life posed by the building’s cladding and the proposal for remedial measures that will reduce that level of risk to tolerable . The report must set out a way forward for making the building safe by way of a defined, proportionate, and cost-effective solution.
Once the BSF has decided that a building is eligible for funding based on the FRAEW, the application will be passed on to our Delivery Partners to develop your project further.
If your FRAEW is considered unsatisfactory it will be rejected and we will inform you of the reasons for this. You will be able to resubmit a revised version of the FRAEW that addresses the issues identified. Further guidance on resubmitting an FRAEW if rejected will be provided in due course.
Please refer to BSF application guidance for new applications for a detailed definition of ‘residential building with leaseholders’. 
System of one or more components that are attached to, and might form part of the weatherproof covering of, the exterior of a building. 
‘Unsafe’ means those cladding systems that have been identified as containing combustible materials (e.g., a polyethylene core in an aluminium composite panel) and which failed the series of BS8414 tests commissioned by the government over summer 2017. 
For the purposes of determining height eligibility for the Building Safety Fund, the “top occupied storey” does not include any top storeys or roofs consisting exclusively of plant rooms or maintenance areas, non-residential facilities (such as storage or drying rooms or gyms) or external amenity (such as bars or roof gardens) or areas similar to these, even though people may regularly be present in such areas. 
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