Government confirms plans to permanently remove RAAC

Government confirms plans to permanently remove RAAC from all schools and colleges in England

From our colleagues at Barbour EHS.

Measures to permanently remove Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) from all affected schools and colleges have been confirmed by the government.

A final list of schools and colleges with confirmed cases of RAAC in England has been published.

Of these, 119 schools will have one or more buildings rebuilt or refurbished through the School Rebuilding Programme where works to remove RAAC are more extensive or complex.

Additionally 110 schools and colleges will benefit from grant funding to remove RAAC from their buildings where works will typically be smaller in scale.

Five schools and colleges, with support from the Department, have alternative arrangements in place to address the removal of RAAC, for example the building will not be part of the school or college estate over the longer term.

Those responsible for affected school and college buildings are today receiving direct confirmation from the department on how the RAAC removal will be funded.
Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, said: “Nothing is more important to me than the safety of every child and member of staff in school.

“We will continue to work closely with schools and colleges as we take the next step to permanently remove RAAC from affected buildings.

“I want to thank all schools, colleges and local authorities who have worked tirelessly with the department to ensure all children remain in face-to-face education.”
The Department’s RAAC Identification programme is now complete as 100% of schools and colleges with blocks built in the target era have responded to the questionnaire.

All schools or colleges that advised the government they suspect they might have RAAC have had a survey to confirm if RAAC is present.

A small number of schools and colleges are carrying out additional checks for further assurance in some spaces. The Department is working with responsible bodies to support them to complete these additional checks as quickly as possible.

In addition to the 119 schools with confirmed RAAC included in the School Rebuilding Programme, the Department has today confirmed that a further eight schools without RAAC have also been added to the programme. The projects announced today take the total number of schools in the programme to 513. The ten-year School Rebuilding Programme is continuing to prioritise school buildings with the highest condition need across England through rebuilding or significantly refurbishing buildings.

The government has already confirmed it will fund schools and colleges for the costs of work needed to mitigate the presence of RAAC. The funding announcement provides certainty for individual schools or colleges in England on how the government will support the removal of RAAC from their buildings.

The government says its priority will always be to ensure the safety of pupils and staff, which is why we took a cautious approach for schools and colleges. Although the technical advice does not recommend removal in all cases where it is present, a precautionary approach has been taken for the education estate in England to remove RAAC.

The government points out that £1.8 billion has already been committed in capital funding this year to support schools to stay in good working order, as part of £15 billion allocated since 2015. The School Rebuilding Programme will transform over 500 schools over the next decade. A further £1.5 billion has been made available for colleges through the further education capital transformation fund.

Department for Education
February 2024

Our Comment

RAAC is a type of lightweight precast concrete that incorporates air bubbles to reduce its density and improve its insulation properties. However, it has proved to structurally fail for example, when it has been exposed to moisture over a long period. Whilst it is generally appreciated that before deciding to replace RAAC, it is essential to assess the specific conditions and to   consult with structural engineers, it is reassuring to learn that the Government has adopted the position to remove it from all schools and colleges.

RAAC Schools

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This content has been produced in association with our sister company, Barbour.

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