Last reviewed 17 January 2022

With the Government showing renewed interest in fire safety in high-rise buildings (see Government tells developers to fix cladding crisis), it is interesting to note that The Status of PAS 79-2 & LGA Fire Safety in Purpose-built Blocks of Flats has just been published by the Fire Industry Association (FIA).

This guide, available here, explains that PAS 79-2 was originally published in December 2020.

It was produced at the request of the housing sector, who considered that there was a need for dedicated guidance on fire risk assessments for housing premises, and for a bespoke template on which to record the significant findings of these fire risk assessments.

According to the FIA, the British Standards Institution (BSI) has now permanently withdrawn PAS 79-2, pending conversion of the PAS (Publicly Available Specification) into a full British Standard.

“This unprecedented situation has caused significant confusion within the fire safety and housing sectors,” the FIA said. “A BSI publication is normally withdrawn when it is obsolete or incorrect.”

The guide has therefore been produced by the Association to assist members who may be confused by the current position.

Although PAS 79-2 is still available from the BSI, all references to disabled people have been redacted from the document, including advice regarding the need to provide disabled people with a facility to discuss their evacuation in the event of fire.

The guide states: “Redacting this advice is, in the opinion of the FIA, to the detriment of the fire safety of disabled people in multi-occupied residential premises, such as blocks of flats.”

It notes that, for the moment, it will be for fire risk assessors to use their own judgment in respect of disabled evacuation.