Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC): Cross Sector Working Group minutes - 27 September 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 27 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government 
  • Scottish Courts
  • IstructE
  • Loughborough University 
  • Homes for Scotland
  • NHS Scotland Assure
  • Fife Council
  • BE-ST 
  • Falkirk Council
  • City of Edinburgh Council 
  • Bield Housing and Care
  • West Dunbartonshire Council / ALACHO
  • Built Environment Forum Scotland
  • Scottish Property Federation
  • Police Scotland
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • NHS
  • Scottish Funding Council 
  • North Ayrshire Council/LABSS
  • Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
  • Scottish Futures Trust 

Items and actions

Use of temporary buildings during RAAC mitigation works

  • the meeting noted that at a recent four nations meeting a question was raised around the use of temporary buildings when building are closed off due to the presence of RAAC and what planning permission would be needed. There was particular concern around longer term use of temporary buildings such as portacabins on playing field land
  • officials advised that they are confident that the siting of temporary accommodating relating to work carried out to make RAAC safe is appropriate and that it can be on surrounding land without a full application. It was noted that this has been followed in practice within schools where they have a short life building warrant for a year. A question was raised about the timeframe - how long does this apply before full planning permission is required? Officials advised there is no set timescale and that the only requirement is that the building is deconstructed ‘as soon as is practical’
  • it was noted that this does not seem to be as big a risk as suggested within the four nations meeting but would take away as an action

QA and survey terminology – feedback from members

Meeting restated key points of last week’s presentation and invited feedback. There was none at this time but members have been invited to give their thoughts on terminology and consistency.

IStructE on guidance and investigation of RAAC and capacity issues

  • IStructE discussed guidance, research and capacity
  • IStructE confirmed that the April 2023 guidance was still valid as they had recently reviewed following details of three failures being shared by Department for Education (DfE). The three failures were covered in the scope of the guidance and this will be confirmed to Cabinet office 
  • Loughborough university’s research is concluding and from the initial findings it is unlikely to have significant impact on the guidance available. It was noted that this research means that not only is more known now about RAAC and they are also able to appreciate what is still unknown. It was noted that the university are getting enquiries from other countries wondering why we have a problem in the UK. RAAC is still being manufactured in many countries and it is possible that there will be issues with their old RAAC in the future
  • discussion was held around the 30-year lifetime that is quoted in a number of publications. IStructE described the 30-year lifetime is an urban myth with no real evidence to support it. It was noted that many building materials are held to have a 30-year design life standard and this may be where that number has come from but it doesn’t mean that RAAC will start failing in year 31. There has been RAAC investigated which is significantly older than the 30 years which has been well maintained and could last many years more


BE:ST are working to identify expertise within universities. They have put out a  ‘call to action’ for Scottish universities to see where expertise lies. University of the West of Scotland and Dundee university were named as likely to have expertise. Responses from this exercise are expected within next seven to ten days.

Sector updates

  • there was no sector update due to timings – time was given to raise any specific issues or concern but none were raised 
  • officials noted that there is a desk study being done by IStructE to come through study group which is intended to be published and should be a helpful resource in identifying RAAC  

Any other business

There was no other business to be discussed.

Date of next meeting

The meeting is scheduled for 11 October 11:00 – 12:30.

Actions arising from meeting

To gather further details relating to requirements for temporary buildings, their location and the duration of their use.

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