We aware of the challenges represented by the potential presence of Reinforced Aerated Autoclaved Concrete (RAAC) in buildings and have been liaising with other local authorities and the Scottish Government on this matter.

Comprehensive investigations and assessments are being carried out across our properties to identify buildings where RAAC may be present.


Does the council have any public buildings with RAAC?

We are currently undertaking a survey across our entire property estate to identify the presence of Reinforced Aerated Autoclaved Concrete (RAAC). To date from initial investigations, no buildings within the Councils estate have been identified as containing RAAC. Detailed surveys are ongoing and once complete, should any buildings be identified as containing RAAC, will be confirmed together with appropriate actions being taken by the Council.

What is RAAC and why is it used in buildings?

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a lightweight construction material that was used in the construction of some public buildings like schools and hospitals between the 1950s and 1990s. It was used mostly in flat roofing, but also in some pitched roofs, floors and walls.

It was quicker to produce, easier to install, and cheaper than standard concrete. Despite its name, it is very different to traditional concrete although it looks similar. It is aerated, or 'bubbly', and is therefore less durable than traditional concrete.

Why is there a risk?

RAAC can be susceptible to failure when exposed to moisture. The 'bubbles' can allow water to enter the material. This moisture can also cause decay in any reinforcement steel ('rebar') present in the material.

In February 2022, a report was published by Institute of Structural Engineers RAAC Group following an incident in England in 2018 and an initial safety alert in 2019. Guidance was published by the group in April 2023, and it is this guidance the Scottish Government has adopted and is being followed by all public organisations in Scotland.

What steps has the council taken?

We have adopted a comprehensive, staged review to identify if RAAC is present in any of our buildings.

Where there is any uncertainty on the presence of RAAC, Structural Engineering Consultants will undertake a detailed assessment. Whilst detailed assessments are awaited, regular inspection regimes will be implemented for all properties concerned.

All checks on Falkirk Council's school estate properties have been completed and no RAAC has been found.

What happens next?

Work is now ongoing across all other buildings within the council estate following the published guidelines, between the council's own staff and suitable external professionals where required.

While all professional guidance has been followed to date, we will continue to ensure we comply with any further guidance coming from government or relevant professional bodies.

Is Council housing affected?

In light of recent developments, we have asked for further visual and technical assessments on a small number of properties as a precautionary measure. We will continue to follow and comply with current and any future guidance from the Scottish Government and relevant professional organisations.

Are private and commercial buildings affected?

The Institution of Structural Engineering advises that any private owner with properties constructed between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s should conduct a survey of the building to identify or eliminate the possibility of RAAC within the fabric where necessary and assess whether remedial work is required.