There has been a lot of discussion over the last week about the impact on school buildings of a type of concrete used in construction until the mid -1990s.
Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete commonly used in construction, mainly between the 1950s and 1990s. Professional advice from technical experts on RAAC has evolved over time and the issue of managing its risks to ensure the safe delivery of services across all sectors has spanned successive governments since 1994.
This issue does not just relate to schools, for example Devon and Cornwall Police replaced Barnstaple Police Station, after a survey of its buildings in 2019 ordered by our Police & Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, warned there was a danger of the previous building collapsing due to the use of RAAC.
Over the last 8 years Kevin has worked with local schools to secure funding for improvements and necessary maintenance works. Kevin therefore immediately contacted Ministers to get clarity about whether schools here in our bay were affected.
A letter was quickly sent from the Secretary of State stating there are no confirmed cases in my constituency, which covers Torquay and most of Paignton, but one school, St Cuthbert Mayne School, is having a survey to see if this type of concrete is present in some of its buildings. Although it should be noted the team at the school have confirmed a survey of the school by structural engineers was completed in 2020, as part of extensive building works undertaken there and no RAAC was found. This is not unusual as in Parliament, it was indicted approximately two thirds of schools who have such surveys do not result in RAAC being found, yet Kevin has been in touch with the school to offer any support he can.
During the statement in Parliament Kevin raised the need for better engagement and communication about this issue, especially as results of ongoing surveys are received.