RAAC landscape

RAAC report estimates nearly 600 schools at risk of collapse

28/06/2023

News

Schools and Trusts are on high alert today as a government report shows that approximately 38% of all schools in England are at risk of collapse due to inefficient building materials.

The National Audit Office and Department for Education (DfE) have concluded that hundreds of schools across the country are running on borrowed time as reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete has been identified as a major component in the construction of these properties.

What is Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete?

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, or RAAC, was a popular material for construction from the 1950s until the mid-1990s, due to its cheap manufacture and abundant accessibility. However, this is now proving to have been a costly mistake as schools are being shut down due to their lifespan diminishing quickly and the increasing risk of building collapse or failure causing death or serious injury.

The DfE is estimating that over a third of school buildings are past their lifespan, with the NAO calculating that 700,000 children are being taught in schools that require major rebuilding or refurbishment, due to RAAC or other construction failures like asbestos use and ACM.

As we read more of the report, it is evident that changes must be made soon – both in the short-term and strategically. With a cross-party agreement that we should all act now, but how do we do so in such an economically challenging time?

More needs to be done

Gary Benn, director of our Cambridge office, believes that there needs to be more action for all constructions issues - not just RAAC.

"Condition Improvement Funding is useful but isn't enough, and the PSDS isn't targeted at the right buildings in our school stock."

"Different mechanisms need to be designed, with DESNZ and the DfE collaborating more to create a more cohesive strategy with Trusts."

What should we do

Before anything, estates managers should contact a professional as soon as possible if they believe their estate to be affected. Our RICS-qualified surveyors can assure you on whether your buildings are at risk of a large range of building or construction defect.

All public buildings are to be checked, as part of a separate government enquiry. The estate itself is worth £158 billion and includes schools and Academies. Find out whether you are part of that estate, and make sure to look into how the Government can help to support you both financially and logistically during this scheme.

Eddisons has supported hundreds of clients in issues similar to this, and currently works with dozens of Academies and Trusts to improve their properties and estates strategies with established knowledge and innovative methodologies.

For more information on how you can protect your buildings and the people who work and learn there, read our previous blog, or get in touch now.

Get in touch with the Eddisons team

Please contact us for more details and information

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