Monday 15 July 2024
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Nottingham

Council responds to growing concerns over RAAC in Nottinghamshire schools

Nottinghamshire County Council has addressed growing concerns over the use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in schools and other Council buildings.

The concerns began in late 2018 when the Local Government Association and the Department of Education (DfE) highlighted a failure involving a flat roof constructed using RAAC planks.

By May 2019, the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) of the Institute of Structural Engineers issued a warning about the potential risks of RAAC in buildings built between 1960 and 1980.

In response, the Council took proactive measures by commissioning the Arc Partnership to assess all its buildings constructed within that period.

The assessment was later expanded to include buildings constructed between 1930 and 1980. To date, no RAAC has been identified in any of the Council’s buildings.

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However, on August 31, 2023, the DfE updated its advice to schools based on new evidence, leading to the closure of several schools across the country where RAAC had been detected.

The Council has since outlined its approach and future plans to manage this issue.

In 2019, the government had issued an alert about RAAC planks, prompting the Council to review all its maintained properties and schools built between 1960 and 1980. Most of these buildings were cleared of RAAC presence, with only a few requiring physical inspections.

The DfE also initiated surveys of four maintained schools, three of which have been completed with no RAAC detected. The Council has made declarations for all schools regarding the presence of RAAC based on these investigations.

However, the Council’s efforts have been limited to maintained schools. The DfE has been collaborating with Academies and Voluntary aided schools. Nine schools are set to be surveyed, with RAAC identified at Holy Trinity Catholic Voluntary Academy in Newark. The academy is working closely with the DfE and has received support from the Council.

The Council has emphasised that it will continue to monitor the results of any outstanding surveys and provide support to both maintained and Academy schools as needed.

Given the current findings, the Council does not plan to commission an extended program of specific survey work. Instead, it will rely on its existing knowledge of the estate and regular inspections to monitor for any evidence of RAAC.

The Council also plans to contact owners of buildings managed by third parties to ensure the safety of its staff and service users.

The report assures that no RAAC has been identified within the estate to date and that measures are in place to manage the issue in the future.

At Carnarvon Primary in Bingham an initial visit has been undertaken with no RAAC found, however some areas were not accessible to the surveyors at the time of the survey, and they are due back to complete the survey.

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