RAAC - the crumbling concrete crisis affecting schools

September 19, 2023

As schools are now aware, RAAC or 'reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete' is a low-cost building material used in schools up until the early 1990s. As it is less durable than other materials and only has a lifespan of about 30 years, there are significant concerns about the safety of school buildings where RAAC is present, and in extreme cases schools have not been able to open to pupils.

All schools have been asked to complete and return questionnaires, and the DfE has said that hundreds of surveys are being carried out every week to confirm which schools contain RAAC and are therefore at risk. However even if surveys are carried out at your school, in most scenarios they will generally not be a guarantee that RAAC is not present, simply that it has not been found or is unlikely. That being said schools should collate all information they have access to, whether from current or previous surveys, to fully inform their position.

We have drafted a more extensive advice note on RAAC, including a number of the most common questions we have been asked, and we would recommend schools review this - Cast in Concrete (vwv.co.uk)

Two other points to note:

  1. All schools should have plans in place if school premises cannot be used as normal. As a result of Covid remote-learning should be familiar to staff and pupils, and it should be something that schools are ready to reactivate on short notice.

  2. RAAC should of course now be part of the due diligence process when it comes to schools converting to academies or moving between academy trusts.

For more information, please contact Matthew Wolton at mwolton@vwv.co.uk. To receive our free law briefs with regular updates on legal issues and our series of blogs in this area, please sign up here. Alternatively, please visit vwv.co.uk.