Aerated autoclaved concrete (RAAC)

Risky RAAC concrete now found in 1150 Scottish homes

1,150 affordable homes in Scotland have now been confirmed to have been built with unreliable concrete dubbed RAAC, we can reveal.

Data provided by the Scottish Housing Regulator through a freedom of information request shows that 12 out of 165 Scottish landlords have so far confirmed that reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found in their properties. 

A further 30,000 other homes owned by 62 landlords including councils and social landlords are still under investigation. Some households have already been moved into temporary accommodation while the risks are assessed. 

Aberdeen City Council has confirmed the largest number of homes with RAAC concrete. It has found 505 homes with the material and has nearly 2000 more to check. 

Rosehill Housing Cooperative have confirmed 197 homes have been built with RAAC, and South Lanarkshire Council have identified 148.  

RAAC concrete was used as building material between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. It was subsequently found to be less durable than traditional concrete, and in some cases thought to be at risk of sudden and catastrophic failure. 

As well as domestic homes, hundreds of schools, hospitals, sports centres, theatres and even airports have been found to have been built with the material throughout the UK. 

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance now requires all building owners to “identify, assess, and manage,” risks associated with the material. If RAAC is found they are required to seek the guidance of qualified structural engineers.    

Risky RAAC concrete now found in 1150 Scottish homes 6

Officials from South Lanarkshire told the regulator that there was “no immediate cause for concern” following an investigation by engineers. 

But Clackmannanshire Council has been forced to evacuate 30 flats across three blocks after they were found to contain RAAC in an “unsatisfactory” condition. 

Clackmannanshire officials say all council tenants have been placed into temporary housing, “until such times as further decisions are able to be made.”

Some large landlords such as Aberdeen and North Lanarkshire Council suspect that thousands more of their homes could contain the risky building material and still need to conduct physical checks. 

The growing costs of dealing with the building material comes as councils are also having to manage the costs of dealing with RAAC in other types of publicly-owned buildings. 

West Lothian council has warned that services will have to be cut if it is to balance the book after having to foot an estimated £69m bill to repair or rebuild five schools in the area. The council has now reported that it also has 14 homes identified as containing RAAC, with nearly a hundred more still to be checked. 

East Lothian council told the regulator that they had already moved one tenant from a home known to contain RAAC, but that it also had a further 257 homes over 22 sites that required further investigation. It is also having to deal with RAAC in two schools, a sports centre and the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh.

So far the Scottish Government has not provided landlords with any additional cash to support them with the costs of investigating and fixing issues that are found. 

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said building owners are responsible for managing the safety of RAAC and all the associated costs.

He said: “It is disappointing that the UK Government has not provided new capital money to the Scottish Government in order to ensure buildings that contain RAAC can be made safe."

HSE guidance allows landlords to manage RAAC “in place” if it is in good condition, he noted. 

“We are raising awareness of this risk topic across all sectors though our Cross-Sector Working Group on RAAC. We are working with the Scottish Housing Regulator to coordinate a data gathering exercise across all social housing providers to understand the types and tenures of properties with RAAC, its current state and the action required.”

Download the RAAC data

Only Ferret members can download the complete data, including the feedback provided by all registered social landlords to the regulator, by clicking the button below.

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