The British Standards Institute has responded to warnings from the fire industry about premises owners failing to take responsibility for fire risks by updating the Publicly Available Specification (PAS 79).

Although fire risk assessments for non-domestic premises are required by law, unsuitable fire risk assessments are still common place and any of these have led to serious or multiple fatalities and criminal prosecutions.

PAS 79 - Fire risk assessment, is a well-respected document which has already made a positive contribution to enhancing fire safety and protecting and minimising risk to the occupants of buildings.

The standard provides a structured approach to fire risk assessment and is an essential document for fire professionals including fire risk assessors, fire safety consultants, health & safety consultants, building and property managers, facilities managers and consultancies providing fire risk assessments as a service.

Alan Kurnatowski MIFSM GIFireE from Peakland Fire Safety Ltd said: "The latest update to PAS 79 document is particularly important as it provides a benchmark standard for fire risk assessments as required by UK legislation.

"We fully support the comprehensive guidance given and the nine-step structured approach to conducting a fire risk assessment. The updated document complements and supports the work of the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council and the drive towards third party accreditation for fire risk assessors. We welcome the publication of this update to PAS 79 and the contribution the document makes in setting out a holistic approach to fire safety risk assessment and achieving best practice across the fire industry."

The revised edition launched by BSI earlier this week [19 Sep] includes:
o New guidance on the role of codes of practice and guidance documents as a basis for determining appropriate fire precautions
o New guidance on the approach that should be adopted in determining the appropriate fire precautions for existing buildings that do confirm to current codes of practice applicable to new buildings (e.g. under current building regulations)
o A new annex that contains a competence standard for fire risk assessors, developed and agreed by stakeholders in the fire safety profession.
o Editable PDFs of the model pro-formas for documentation of a fire risk assessment and review of an existing fire risk assessment

The revised specification, PAS 79 has been drafted by CS Todd & Associates Ltd, who have been involved in and written the standard since its conception, in conjunction with BSI and a group of representatives from prominent UK fire safety organizations. Integral to the steering group are the Fire Industry Association, the Fire Protection Association and the Institution of Fire Engineers.
Jonathan Herrick, Fire Safety Policy and Partnerships Manager, Technical and Operational Support Directorate at West Midlands Fire Service said, "The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is pleased to have been involved with and to influence the review of the PAS 79 standard.

"Although statute in England and Wales does not detail a right or wrong way to approach fire safety risk assessment, this guidance provides a structured and considered approach to the subject and, if properly completed, should satisfy the requirements of the law and enforcing authorities. The methodology provides for the mitigation of fires as well as for control measures if a fire should occur. It will also provide a common and consistent approach to risk assessment across an organisations building stock. CFOA encourages consistency in both enforcing authorities and those that have to comply with fire safety requirements."
For further information on any of these standards or to buy a copy, visit  

Posted 05/09/2012 by