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RAAC Crisis Fix: Experts View on Concrete in Schools

Photo of RAAC concrete issues in schools

Overview

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a construction material that has been used in the building industry, specifically in constructing school buildings in England. The Department for Education (DfE) has raised concerns about the potential risk of collapse in structures that use this material. As a result, various safety measures, surveys, and maintenance efforts have been put into place to mitigate the hazards associated with aerated concrete such as RAAC.

In the past, RAAC was favoured for its lighter weight compared to traditional concrete combined with steel reinforcement. However, water ingress and deterioration over time have highlighted the safety risks of using RAAC in construction, prompting investigations by the government and local authorities.

To ensure the safety of students, staff, and parents in affected schools, the Office of Government Property has been conducting inspections and investing in repair or replacement of various school buildings. This has led to a number of closures across England, impacting schools under the academy trusts and local authority control. Responding to the concrete crisis, substantial investments are being made towards improving public buildings, ensuring their structural integrity, and prolonging their design life.

In summary, reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete presents a potential risk in England’s school buildings, prompting the government and local authorities to undertake necessary safety measures, inspections, and investments to mitigate the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Common Problems with RAAC Concrete in Schools

  • Deterioration over time leading to structural issues
  • Moisture absorption causing internal damage
  • Susceptibility to freeze-thaw cycles

2. Safe Removal of RAAC from School Buildings by Engineers

  • Assessing the structure’s condition
  • Developing a detailed removal plan
  • Taking necessary precautions to protect building occupants during the process

3. Identifying RAAC Concrete in Structures: Steps Involved

  1. Visual inspection
  2. Material testing
  3. Consulting historical records

4. Training Requirements for Engineers Dealing with RAAC

  • Understanding RAAC properties and associated risks
  • Learning about appropriate removal techniques
  • Gaining knowledge of health and safety guidelines

5. RAAC Concrete Usage and Its Impact on Hospitals

  • Potential structural failures
  • Compromised safety of patients, visitors, and staff
  • Added costs for investigation and remediation

6. Measures Taken to Address RAAC Issues in UK Schools

  • Nationwide surveys
  • Development of guidelines and regulations for RAAC in construction
  • Allocation of funding for remediation projects