Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a building material which was most commonly used in buildings from the 1950s through to the 1990s. But there may still be some later buildings that contain it.
It’s formed of aerated concrete with a steel reinforced core, and it was popular choice because it’s lightweight and arrived on site as pre-fabricated planks.
The material also has good thermal insulative properties, making it a popular choice within public sector buildings. But due to the way it’s composed, there are some potential hazards.
Because of the way it’s made, it has an estimated service life of around thirty years, and many buildings with it in are now beyond that.
Additionally, where RAAC has been exposed to pooling water or has suffered physical damage, the panels could be prone to early failure without warning, as the concrete itself might not be well bonded to the reinforcement steel within.
Although some of these panels can fail without warning, there are some things that you can look out for:
If you suspect that your building may contain RAAC, speak to a professional surveyor to work out what steps you need to take next.
RAAC and asbestos products were often used in conjunction, so you’ll need to provide your surveyor with the asbestos survey for your premises to prevent any potential exposure.
For education settings within England, there’s more information and guidance on what to do from the UK Government:
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