A Loughborough University expert has identified the primary cause of failure – and suggests RAAC has the potential to be safe if properly managed
Judging from the news headlines and warnings from experts, knowingly entering a building constructed from reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete is akin to an act of suicide.
John Roberts, a former president of the Institution of Structural Engineers recently said he never trusted RAAC, describing it as an inherently risky material that was mis-sold by manufacturers. Last September the Office for Government Property issued a statement warning that RAAC is life-expired and liable to collapse. And in 2019 the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS), with the HSE, IStructE and ICE, issued an alert warning that pre-1980’s RAAC planks had an expected service life of 30 years and should be replaced.
Chris Gorse, the professor of construction management and engineering at Loughborough University, is surprised by the idea that RAAC is inherently dangerous with a limited life. “We have found RAAC that is 40 to 50 years old and has suffered carbonation so the reinforcement is corroded and delaminating in some places, and it is variously cracked and in such a state of disrepair that you would think it is a real risk. But it can still stay in place and sustain loads which is quite surprising.”
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