Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC): Cross Sector Working Group minutes - 21 September 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 21 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government 
  • Scottish Courts
  • Scottish Property Federation 
  • Moray Council 
  • Scottish Heads of Property Services 
  • Historic Environment Scotland 
  • Homes for Scotland
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Falkirk Council
  • Bield Housing and Care
  • Fife Council
  • NHS Scotland Assure
  • Police Scotland
  • Built Environment Forum Scotland
  • Chartered Institute of Housing 
  • Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
  • North Ayrshire Council/LABSS
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Fire Scotland

Items and actions

Feedback from meeting with UK Government (UKG) Cross Government Working Group

  • officials provided feedback from the UK Government Cross Government Working Group. This is an officials-only meeting across UK Government Departments, as well as representatives from Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments and local government. The main topic was the Institution of Structural Engineers Guidance on RAAC. It was noted that the current version of IStructE guidance (Apil 2023) followed on from previous work including a BRE Report into RAAC from 2002, the CROSS Alert in 2019 and the IStructE guidance from 2022. The 2022 version covered investigation and assessment whereas the April 2023 version has further information on end bearing and risk rating
  • IStructE was informed of further RAAC concerns from April – June 2023 due to end bearing failures included a school in Hatfield and the Queen Victoria school. IStructE received DfE reports on the RAAC in these schools on 7 September. The IStructE RAAC panel have concluded that the April 2023 guidance is still valid and the findings vindicate the IStructE guidance. They will write to UKG’s Group to set out this opinion formally 
  • IStructE are in discussion with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on how to raise awareness of RAAC, how to identify it and how to deal with it. It was noted that research at Loughborough University is due to be completed imminently. Concerns were raised about a potential gap between end of that research and new research starting. The group expressed interest in discussion on any further research. IStructE were looking at innovation in surveying techniques and ways of making buildings safe. IStructE noted the need for further training of engineers and surveyors
  • led by the Cabinet Office, cross UKG co-ordination work with different departments and bodies aims to ensure information and best practice is being shared to support putting mitigations in place in as quick and efficient a manner as possible

  • next meeting of the UKG Group will be attended by the Construction Leadership Council
  • a comment was made that it would be useful to get more information on the minimally invasive techniques which was looked at originally especially when considering Asbestos. It was noted that IStructE are already making plans and that there is the potential to look beyond the construction industry for non-destructive options
  • HSE met with SG and the Welsh government. HSE have updated the RAAC information on their website on RAAC, removing reference to “liable to collapse with little or no notice” and to the lifetime of RAAC

Feedback from Ministerial meeting on RAAC 

  • the meeting noted that ministers are generally happy with the work that has been carried out across sectors. They are aware that there is further work to do especially in local authorities outside of schools and housing 
  • the meeting noted that ministers have asked about assurance around data and survey terminology as different sectors are using different language to reference the same processes. Some advice to ministers is being worked on

RAAC – quality and survey terminology

  • presentation on RAAC guidance and stages of action (shared alongside minutes)
  • it was noted that the risk rating can move from amber to red very quickly when you start visual inspection. There was discussion about how schools were assessing risk and they advised that any area where RAAC is present is immediately assessed as medium risk until it is reviewed 
  • the importance of getting the right professionals for the right stage was noted  
  • it was also noted that while there seems to be some variations to approach across sectors the outcomes at each stage seem to be broadly the same 
  • feedback on the presentation was requested

RAAC competence and capacity building

  • the chair invited comments on competence and capacity issues particularly the availability of surveyors, engineers and contractors to take on short term work and medium-term remediation
  • it was noted that the issue around capacity seems to be less pressing than initially thought. Messaging from consulting is that capacity isn’t yet the issue and that there is more of an issue in getting access to properties and obtaining asbestos information
  • there was a comment that, further to agenda item 5, it is not until the presence of RAAC is confirmed that an engineer with specific knowledge is needed and that at the initial stages it is qualified surveyors which are easier to account for. With specific reference to schools, of two and a half thousand schools only 41 have issues therefore the resourcing is less challenging and this approach has been helpful in managing resource 
  • a further comment was made that there are a number of organisations now marketing themselves as RAAC specialists. Even on the IStructE website the RAAC experts are self-declared so there is a level of risk and it is important to vet the experts being entrusted to carry out work
  • it was noted that it would be useful to get feedback on what else we need to do in this area and hoping to ask IStructE to attend a meeting quite soon to talk about plans around training etc

Sector updates

Higher education

Officials noted there were 16 universities and colleges where RAAC has been identified or it is a high likelihood. They are still awaiting some returns so this may change. Currently this equates to around 40 buildings,17 of which are closed or partly closed. There was a request from colleges about SFC using convening power to ensure consistency of approach.


  • officials and NHS Assure advised that they have published an official list on NHS Assure website. An NHS Scotland RAAC Steering Group has been set up with the first meeting set for Wednesday
  • of the 400 visual surveys required around 100 have been completed as of 20 September; 254 are high or medium risk. Progressing into central belt up and looking at options on how to increase the pace. Officials noted that they did an information event last week which was overwhelmingly positive and well received. The lead consultant was reassuring on RAAC risks. They plan on running another one in a week
  • there is currently some thought going into things over and above assessing such as guidance. Also considering the need to take action on properties that are leased by boards or that are used but not owned by NHS

Police Scotland

RAAC in the police estate was mentioned in the criminal justice committee last week.


  • officials reported that the primary focus has been on completing a picture of the scale of RAAC and the number of buildings with RAAC identified is unchanged at 41. 39 buildings still need an assessment. Officials noted they are working with Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to understand timescales which largely look to be in the next week or so with potential for some spilling over into October
  • also discussed Forres Academy closure. There were several days of school closures but Forres Academy partly reopened on the date of the meeting an planned to fully reopen the following day. As a result officials are encouraging schools to consider how to best contingency plan and keep continuity in the result of a school closure
  • officials have also engaged with 91 independent school – seven of which have identified RAAC

Early learning and childcare

  • there are eight ELC funded buildings existing within school estate that have identified RAAC
  • officials noted that there are 945 private voluntary funded childcare providers and liability sits with them but officials will provide them the guidance given to the public sector. No central information gathering but the information will be made available and discussions are ongoing around how much support and information can be shared

SFRS estate

Officials advised that they are midway through the programme of refreshed surveys. Refreshing graphics of the roofs was noted as being particularly helpful. On track to complete by  the end of October.  


Officials noted that there are 10 buildings with high risk, in 2 of which work has been complete to a level that the courts are content with. There is further invasive work being undertaken in Airdrie and the others are being progressed this week.  


Officials noted meeting with the housing regulator on the proposed data collection exercise.

Private homebuilding sector 

The private homebuilding sector they advised that they had received feedback from some members that suggests there’s not an issue with RAAC.  

Public bodies

The SG Chief Surveyor has written to public bodies for data gathering purposes and this work is in progress. 

Any other business

There was no other business.

Date of next meeting 

27 September 2023 10am – 10:50am

Actions arising from meeting

  • feedback from members on the presentation by the next meeting
  • IStructE to be invited to future meetings   
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