In 2018, a roof collapse at a school in Kent highlighted the growing risk of collapse within schools built with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) Concrete. In late 2018, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Department for Education (DfE) contacted all school building owners to draw attention to the risk, advising urgent inspection and risk assessments. In 2019, The Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) issued an alert for government departments, councils, NHS leaders and building professionals highlighting the “significant risk” of failure of RAAC.


In 2023, Hundreds of schools and public buildings are currently suspected to be at risk of collapse due to the use of RAAC in their construction. In late August, the Department of Education warned schools across the UK that they may have to evacuate and relocate pupils to alternative accommodations or other schools at short notice, disrupting their education. This came following a Department for Education survey launched in May, which identified RAAC might be present in 572 schools in England, but at this point, more than 8,000 schools had not been checked.


The Government Education Hub, part of the Department for Education, has published a list of schools in England confirmed to have RAAC, along with new guidance and an outline of the mitigation measures being implemented for the start of the term. The number of schools established to be affected was 147 as of 30 August. This figure is expected to rise as surveys continue, with updated results expected fortnightly.


The Guardian News has a timeline of the crisis of what happened and explains how this became a sudden yet slow onset national crisis, as the concrete has reached the end of its life expectancy with a critical risk to life. The RAAC Crisis and concerns have now extended to NHS Hospitals, theatres, prisons, council buildings and more. The Institution of Structural Engineers advises building owners and managers unsure if their property contains RAAC to undertake an inspection and risk assessment.


The House of Lords sought to hold the government accountable for responding to the crisis during the Lord’s Questions. The recording is available on YouTube – Tacking RAAC concrete in public buildings.


More information about the RAAC concrete crisis can be found in this article from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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