Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC): Cross Sector Working Group minutes - 5 September 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 5 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government 
  • Scottish Property Federation
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • East Ayrshire Council/Heads of Planning Scotland
  • NHS
  • Police Scotland
  • Chartered Institute Housing 
  • Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
  • Falkirk Council
  • Built Environment Forum Scotland
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • West Dunbartonshire Council/ALACHO
  • University of Dundee and SAUDE
  • North Ayrshire Council/LABSS
  • Scottish Futures Trust 
  • NHS Scotland Assure 

Items and actions

UK Government: announcement by the Department for Education (DfE)

The meeting purpose is to discuss the recent announcement on RAAC by the UK Government (UKG) and implications for our work in Scotland.

The chair gave an overview of the recent announcement from DfE on Thursday of a change in approach to RAAC management. This was based on investigation of two further RAAC failures following those in 2018-2020. One was in a Ministry of Defence (MoD) school and the other a commercial setting.  

The chair attended the recent meeting of the UKG’s group on Friday, feedback given by DfE representatives, included:

  • confirmed that the DfE approach was to close any space with confirmed RAAC until physical mitigation measures can be put into place
  • confirmed that the DfE were not now adopting monitoring as a mitigation measure, which is more precautionary than current guidance
  • indicated that this decision had been made due to the education estate being vast, concerns in guidance around 1 in 10 (or 10%) testing and quality of manufacture, along with cases of unexpected and undetected failure (1 in a commercial building, and 1 at a DIO setting). The details of these have not yet been released
  • confirmed that the supply chain had been engaged, and there was to be an increase in surveying activity. Surveyors are being briefed to be more proactive in gaining access to enclosed elements
  • indicated that education settings were different in design and use to health, hence the different position
  • the group were seeking clarification on the definition of ‘physical measures’ and whether propping and other mitigations would be sufficient to comply with the guidance in place
  • confirmation to the group that Scottish Government (SG) has written to Gillian Keegan, Department of Education to request further evidence e.g. technical reports which support the decisions and announcement made by UK Government. Scottish Ministers will seek to make decisions for Scotland using an evidence based and pragmatic approach. Local authorities continue to have autonomy to take their own measures locally       

Action AP2.1

SG to seek clarification on definition of what physical measures are deemed appropriate within the guidance.  

Recent activity on RAAC: Scottish Government, partners and sector feedback

As you will know from the first meeting of the CSWG we are seeking to centralise data collection across sectors to understand the extent of the issue. This is now more urgent. 

The following updates were provided by the relevant sector representatives:


Health Infrastructure colleagues have been working on this for several months and have appointed a Structural Engineer to undertake surveys with the current programme due to complete in approximately eight months.    


The recent announcement has intensified activity around the ongoing work in Education in partnership with COSLA to provide a comprehensive dataset across all school estates. Work is underway with initial responses from all 32 local authorities and further detail on individual schools being collated.  

Higher and further education

Higher and further education institutions have been responding to a survey on their estates and currently 12 have identified RAAC within their properties, however the total number of buildings has still to be determined.  

SFRS estate

No further update, however property condition monitoring, inspections and appropriate mitigations are ongoing. 

Police estate

No further update.

Local authorities

Local authority Heads of Property are meeting this Friday. All local authorities are dealing with high volumes of enquiries and FOI requests on the subject of RAAC but also other concerns relating to building fabric and condition.   

Action AP2.2

SG to attend SHOPS meeting, to discuss wider LA estate and schools.

Public bodies

Public bodies unit have written to the Chief Executives of over 100 organisations to request information on their properties and signpost them to the Institute of Structural Engineer’s guidance. Further information has been sent to offer specialist advice on writing specifications for inspections and where properties are leased, legal checks on responsibilities.  

Care homes

Chair requested that a follow up meeting be arranged to hold discussions with care sector representatives.

Action AP2.3

Meeting between SG officials to discuss care home sector (BSD and Care Divisions).


Chair requested that a follow up meeting be arranged to hold discussions with housing sector representatives.

Action AP2.4

Meeting of SG officials and housing organisations to be set up.


Scottish Prison Service conducted a desktop survey earlier in the year and currently have found no evidence of RAAC. Further intrusive testing will be required.   


Scottish Courts and Tribunals will seek to provide reassurances and the Public Audit Committee may ask whether any building inspections or closures will impact on the current court backlogs.   

Government Estate

Data being collected across the estate to support ongoing work to assess risk and prioritise as necessary.  

Guidance on the investigation, assessment and remediation of RAAC 

In the absence of detailed technical information on the recent failures we consider that the guidance from IStructE still stands. The version of April 2023 is the most up to date and includes the risk matrix, where action is clear on Red rated risks. The condition of the RAAC is one aspect of assessing risk, but the guidance sets out the range of factors that the engineer should include. It is recognised that there can be different stages in the discovery of RAAC through to assessing risk and this can take time.

Work next steps in coordination and data collection

The Chair noted that it was imperative that all sectors work together in collecting data to a high quality to ensure next steps can be agreed and decisions made on a clear evidence base. A webpage will be setup for the working group and minutes published to ensure transparency and support requests for information.  

Any other business 

Group members asked if there were standard lines which could be shared with the group for handling enquiries. 

Action AP2.5

SG to confirm standard lines or provide a link to Scottish Government response updates.

Action AP2.6

All members to make sure that Nicola Paterson has your details if you want to be included in the calls:

Date of next meeting

An interim meeting may be set up. It has a temporary date of 13 September 2023. This has to be confirmed. 

Back to top