It may be the first day ‘back to school’ across England today, but a number of schools and academies across the region have been forced to close parts of buildings due to the presence of potentially dangerous RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete). This type of concrete has been identified as being prone to collapse, resulting in the alarm being raised and schools being closed as a precaution.

Several schools in the North West have had the start of term affected by RAAC, including schools in Cumbria, Preston and Bolton. In total, over 100 educational sites across the country have been asked to close or partially close due to RAAC risks; just as many children are starting new schools or lessons.

The potential problem with RAAC was highlighted some time ago following the collapse of two school buildings. RAAC – which was widely used during construction of public buildings during the late 1950s to 1990s – is weaker than traditional concrete. It therefore poses a potential risk to the structural integrity of buildings.

In order to assess for concrete failure, schools and academies were asked to report whether they have RAAC on their premises. Lea Hough have been assisting schools across the North West throughout the year to date after the alert was issued by the Department for Education (DfE).

We have been working with several North West schools and academies to inspect their buildings and report on whether or not they have RAAC. As part of the RAAC inspection, our Surveyors would identify any areas containing RAAC, and provide a report on the locations and the condition of the concrete. Our Surveyors then provide further advice on potential next steps and whether or not urgent action was needed based on their findings.

This is clearly an unwelcome and disruptive start to the school year for those schools, pupils and families affected. It is a priority that and schools affected take the necessary steps to address the issue as soon as possible – and with minimal ongoing disruption to pupils and staff. In order for this to be achieved, schools should consider hiring experienced School Building Consultants that are used to project managing building works in schools.

For further assistance from our team of specialist School Building Consultants, please contact us. Our team are happy to have an initial chat to offer advice and guidance on a free of charge basis.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Manchester Office
Telephone: 0161 265 0070
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: Oakshaw House, 2 Capricorn Park, Blakewater Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5QR