RAAC in schools: Fife Council assurance as questions tabled over concerns

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There is no imminent risk of crumbing Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) within Fife Council’s school, building or housing estate, the minority Labour administration has emphasised.

The re-assurance came a full council meeting on Thursday after SNP Councillor John Beare (Glenrothes North, Leslie & Markinch) tabled a number of questions about the lightweight form of precast concrete in the council’s building estate.

RAAC was a building material frequently used in public sector buildings in the UK from the mid-1960s to the 1990s. The ageing material is now said to be at risk of crumbling, leading to the potential collapse of buildings.

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Earlier this year, the UK Government ordered the closure of more than 100 schools south of the border over RAAC safety concerns at. It has since been at the centre of national attention. Fife Council previously said its schools are not at risk over crumbling concrete concerns.

A photo issued by the Local Government Association showing damage to a school built with RAAC. Credit: LGAA photo issued by the Local Government Association showing damage to a school built with RAAC. Credit: LGA
A photo issued by the Local Government Association showing damage to a school built with RAAC. Credit: LGA

Cllr Beare put the administration under intense scrutiny regarding the use and prevalence of RAAC throughout the Kingdom on Thursday.

His questions revolved around whether or not any of the buildings or structures that the council owns, manages, or leases contains RAAC.

He also questioned when buildings and structures were last inspected and when they will next be inspected. He also asked about remedial action plans for any of the council’s buildings that are found to contain RAAC.

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“In February 2020 the school estate was specifically reviewed for RAAC and it was not identified. It has not been identified in the wider estate either,” Labour Councillor Altany Craik answered. “In light of recent media interest we have initiated further precautionary reviews across all our buildings. This includes double checking our school estate as well as the remainder of the council’s public buildings.

"These checks extend to all buildings the council owns, manages, leases or leases to third parties . A precautionary review of council houses has also been initiated. Although it is at an early stage, it is not anticipated that the review will identify any significant challenges with RAAC within the council’s housing stock.”

The administration couldn’t give a specific timeline for when the current inspection reports will be completed, but councillors were told they would have the opportunity to see the reports when they are finished.