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RACC - Every day’s a school day

Just when you thought you were on top of all the acronyms another one comes along. And here we are with RACC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, in case you haven’t heard the news lately).

The media is full of the issues for schools, hospitals and, most recently, theatres. I’m sure there’ll be more to come.

But what about housing? Always the poor relation and hardly getting any press time without an awful event to prompt the reporters, we’ve heard very little (nothing) in the general furore about people’s homes. And a quick Google search doesn’t shed much light on things.

Did you know that a government inquiry into the use of RAAC concrete in schools was launched last year and in June this year it was decided that the inquiry is to include the whole public estate, including residential buildings? Thanks, Inside Housing.

Philip Morris is a Chartered Architect with 31 years’ experience working within the construction industry and extensive experience in the residential sector. So when he says the use of RAAC was favoured during the 1950s-1990s and that it was used in the construction of both low-rise local authority and private sector housing, I’m not going to doubt him. But is there a problem and how extensive is it?

RACC is a relatively lightweight material, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to find it in external cladding or roof construction. I’ve seen a suggestion that 10% of council housing might have some RACC, but I’ve not seen that attributed or verified. I suspect that social housing landlords who are groaning under the weight of a raft of other safety issues are now wondering how they can begin to assess their homes, but I don’t expect the wider media to focus on us any time soon.

Lynda Hance

6 September 2023

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