NEWS / Blog / Living with RAAC


26 FEB 2024


ACE’s North West February committee meeting comprised of a topical presentation about how best to make public sector properties built with Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) safe for the future.  

While RAAC weaknesses have been known about for over a decade, the introduction of related duties under the Building Safety Act, along with recent media coverage of incidences of collapses of RAAC structures in schools and hospitals, has pushed the issue into the spotlight.  

As ACE members have an important independent technical assessment and advisory role to play in the phasing out of RAAC in public buildings, the North West meeting was an ideal setting for sharing best practice. Sean Keyes, CEO of Suttcliffe and Andrew Macfarlane, Board Director of Curtins Consulting, provided a great overview of what needs to be considered when advising on RAAC. For example, although RAAC panels are often noticeable, it can sometimes be difficult to access RAAC, especially in settings like hospitals which tend to have false roofs covering overhead equipment. Their presentation conveyed how a thorough visual check by a trained engineering professional is crucial to accurately identify the presence and extent of use of RAAC in a building. They explained the importance for skilled technical evaluation to determine the state and best plan of action for each building.  

Depending on the use case and state of the RAAC, different courses and timeframes of action will be needed. If the RAAC is in a relatively good state and there is no immediate risk to safety, it may be best to leave it in situ and monitor it until remedial action is needed. In some cases, mitigative action like adding isolated reinforcements can delay the need for rebuilding but when RAAC integrity is failing considerably, it may be necessary to close the building down and prepare it for RAAC replacement or in the worst case scenario, a complete rebuild. 

Closing public buildings like schools and hospitals to remove RAAC can be hugely problematical and expensive. ACE members are ideally positioned to help identify the priority of works for each RAAC building so that it can be managed efficiently and with the least impact on the public both in terms of safety and upheaval. 

Ultimately, all buildings with RAAC will need to be replaced and so our members will be dealing with RAAC for decades to come. Attendees at the committee meeting found the opportunity to share practical advice and best practice of great value. ACE will continue to seek ways to share professional excellence among our members as well as our advocacy work on this important issue.  

If you want to be involved in the work of the North West Committee, or find out more about our advocacy work with the Government, please email us at 

Andrew Gladstone-Heighton

Andrew Gladstone-Heighton

Policy Manager