Questions and Answers

Does the council have any public buildings with RAAC?

No. A desktop assessment and site visits were undertaken in January 2023 by the council’s compliance and consultancy services team and no public buildings constructed with RAAC were identified. Our partners BAM have also confirmed that this is the case with their portfolio.

What steps has the council taken to verify this?

In January 2023, the council proactively carried out a desktop survey as well as undertook site visits to survey over 140 properties including schools, community facilities and corporate buildings. This identified no buildings constructed using RAAC.

In addition, the Council has been able to refer to recent structural reports undertaken for unrelated alterations completed over the past few years within our buildings (for example as part of 1140 hour childcare expansion).

As is normal practice, our weekly inspections of all buildings in the council’s learning estate will continue, alongside regular survey works across its wider assets.

All professional guidance has been followed to date and we will continue to ensure we comply with any further guidance coming from government or relevant professional bodies.

What is RAAC and why is it used in buildings?

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a lightweight construction material that was used in the construction of some public buildings like schools and hospitals between the 1950s and 1990s. It was used mostly in flat roofing, but also in some pitched roofs, floors and walls.

It was quicker to produce, easier to install, and cheaper than standard concrete. Despite its name, it is very different to traditional concrete although it looks similar. It is aerated, or ‘bubbly’, and is therefore less durable than traditional concrete.

Why is there a risk?

RAAC can be susceptible to failure when exposed to moisture. The ‘bubbles’ can allow water to enter the material. This moisture can also cause decay in any reinforcement steel (‘rebar’) present in the material.

In February 2022, a report was published by Institute of Structural Engineers RAAC Group following an incident in England in 2018 and an initial safety alert in 2019. Guidance was published by the group in April 2023.

Is council housing affected?

An initial assessment of our housing stock has not identified the presence of RAAC in our homes. We will continue to work to ensure all homes meet the new guidelines.

Are private and commercial buildings affected?

The Institution of Structural Engineering advises that any private owner with properties constructed between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s should conduct a survey of the building to identify or eliminate the possibility of RAAC within the fabric where necessary and assess whether remedial work is required.