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The Big Problem with PAS 79 Fire Risk Assessments

Paul King
July 13, 2020

In the fire safety industry, most fire risk assessors follow the PAS 79 specification.

With revisions to the PAS 79 specification on the horizon, following fire safety failings at Grenfell Tower, we ask ourselves: are fire safety experts conducting fire risk assessments in the best possible way?

The new PAS 79 revisions will include new recommendations for the housing sector, including flats and means of escape. But should fire safety inspections be more process-driven, rather than a checkbox exercise?

What’s Wrong with the PAS 79 Specification?

The PAS 79 specification itself is pretty solid!

But at the end, they’ve included an example Pro-forma - which has taken on a life of its own. This Pro-forma has become the “de-facto standard” for fire risk assessments.

However, we don’t think the pro-forma is the best interpretation of the PAS 79. It doesn’t include things like no-access areas or take into account the size of the problem.

How can Fire Risk Assessments be Improved?

There are several software products on the market, which offer different methods of logging fire risk assessments.

Most fire risk assessment apps produce some version of the PAS 79 Pro-forma. That's a good start, but the pro-forma doesn't let you capture some of the nuances which occur in real life.

For example, a single PAS 79 hazard may have compliant and non-compliant occurrences, in different areas of the building. So ideally, fire risk assessors should be able to log occurrences of hazards as they walk around the building.


Based on our observations about PAS 79 and the drawbacks of the Proforma in the specification, we'll be giving our fire risk assessment template a significant overhaul in coming months. We hope to allow a more process-driven approach to fire risk assessments.

Want to see how our Fire Risk Assessment app can help you create better reports?

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