RAAC not found in Westmorland and Furness Council maintained schools

RAAC update

Inspections carried out by Westmorland and Furness Council have found no presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in any of the 70 schools where the council has responsibility for maintenance.

A programme of inspections for RAAC was launched across the 70 schools as a priority last year when concerns were first raised.

All schools for which the council has responsibility for maintenance were included in this programme and to date no presence of RAAC has been found as a result of the surveys. Based on the outcome of these surveys, the council is satisfied that where the council has responsibility for maintenance schools are not impacted.

The Department for Education (DfE) is leading on the national investigation and is liaising directly with schools where a Diocese or an Academy is the responsible body. Whilst the council is not the responsible body for these schools, should RAAC be identified in these settings, the council will work with school leaders to provide the support they may require.

As a precautionary measure, at the same time as concerns for RAAC were first being raised within the education sector, the council also began work to assess all its other buildings.

The council has well-established technical teams that have an in-depth knowledge of their buildings and as a result all 410 have been screened according to age, construction type and materials used in construction.

The council considers it unlikely that any of their buildings have RAAC present, but approximately 50 buildings, around 12% of the council’s asset portfolio, will be inspected as a precautionary measure.

Councillor Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Assets, said:

“We are aware that there has been a lot of coverage in the news regarding the potential presence of RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) in schools and public buildings, and that this is understandably a concern for lots of people.

“Thankfully, we were aware of this issue almost a year ago and we have done all we can to ensure all 70 of our council-maintained schools are safe.

“After a programme of inspections, we can confirm that RAAC has not been found in any of the 70 schools that the council is responsible for.

"We have also screened our corporate assets and will be instigating a programme of inspections for those we have identified as benefitting from precautionary surveys. This work will take some time to complete but we want to stress and reassure the public that this is simply precautionary and measures the council is taking to ensure its buildings are safe and maintained.”

Any local authority-maintained schools or members of the public with concerns can contact the council by emailing building.compliance@westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk.

Any parents with children at Diocese or Academy schools should contact those schools directly for advice.