A pair of cranes on a construction site

How to protect your site from the crumbling RAAC concrete

Jamie Spoor
Authored by Jamie Spoor
Posted: Monday, October 2, 2023 - 10:43

The nation often takes the safety and security of its buildings for granted, but the recent revelation about deteriorating RAAC concrete has brought concerns about unsafe structures into the national spotlight.

The Problem: Nearly 150 schools have been identified as having potentially hazardous RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) used in their construction, leading to disruptions, closures, and chaos just as the new school term begins. RAAC, popular for its lightweight properties and cost-effectiveness in older construction projects since the 1960s, has now been phased out in favor of more conventional concrete types like Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), High-Strength Concrete (HSC), and Ready-mix concrete.

Essex and Kent have been most affected, with 40% of the problematic schools located in these counties. Addressing the issue requires not only safeguarding the structural integrity but also securing the exterior to protect students and the public.

How SafeSite Facilities Can Help: SafeSite Facilities offers a range of products tailored for such scenarios.

  1. Acrow Props: Acrow props, also known as adjustable steel props or post shores, serve as temporary support structures essential in construction and building maintenance. They provide vertical support to ceilings, walls, beams, and other structural elements, ensuring site safety and stability. Our acrow props are fully compliant with European BS4074 regulations and feature telescopic designs for height adjustments, making them suitable for various applications, such as:
  • Supporting beams and concrete during falsework
  • Lateral bracing for walls, columns, ceilings, and stairs
  • Temporary support for repairs, lintels, and canopies
  1. Fencing and Hoarding: It's not just the interior of the building that poses risks; concerned parents and family members may inadvertently put themselves in danger by approaching damaged areas. SafeSite Facilities offers anti-climb temporary fencing to direct pedestrians away from hazards. Vehicle and pedestrian gates can be integrated into the fence line for access control. Steel hoarding can also be quickly deployed to shield a damaged building during repairs.
  2. Water-Filled Barriers: In busy areas like schools and public spaces with high vehicular and pedestrian traffic, deploying water-filled barriers is an effective option for site security. These barriers, including the RB22, our most popular choice for this type of product, can be quickly assembled and feature optional mesh panels for added security. The GB2 heavy-duty barrier and Bison series provide robust solutions, with wind resistance and impact resilience capabilities.
  3. The GB2 heavy duty barrier is the most cost-effective water filled barrier on the market. It can be used for quickly marking out extended areas on a construction site. Similarly, SafeSite’s Bison series of products can be used to provide a heavy duty and impenetrable presence on a site. This large barrier weighs 350kg when full and is also wind tested up to 75mph. As ever with our entire water filled range, added extras can be attached in the form of hoarding panels and both a vehicle gate and a pedestrian gate.

The Solution: 

The concrete has also been discovered at two of the capital’s major airports with buildings at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports reporting traces of the substance.

Heathrow said it was taking “remedial steps” to mitigate any safety risk, while Gatwick said it was constantly monitoring affected areas. Both airports said passenger safety and flight operations would not be affected by the building materials.

In summary, when facing hazardous situations like deteriorating RAAC concrete, companies like SafeSite Facilities offer a wide range of solutions to enhance construction site safety. Contact our sales team today to explore these options and make your construction projects safer.