RAAC and the Government Estate

8 September 2023

In light of the recent news about reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), Prospect is in touch with the government about the use of RAAC in the government estate.  

The health and safety of our members is paramount, and it is important that a proactive and risk-based approach is taken to ensure the safety of members and their working environment. 

What we know 

The Cabinet Office have told us that the Office of Government Property is leading on this issue across government and have written to government departments. We understand a similar approach is being taken in the devolved nations. 

A central register is being compiled of buildings with RAAC.  

Given the age of some of the estate, organisations have been instructed that structural surveys should be commissioned where existing documentation does not provide the sufficient assurances or clarity needed. 

Prospect is pressing for central meetings with the Office of Government Property to ensure that a speedy and robust approach is taken both in terms of assessment but also remediation and management of risk to ensure the safety of workplaces. 

What branches need to do 

In a number of areas, local engagement with unions and safety representatives has already been taking place with regards to RAAC.  

Where this is not happening, branches and safety representatives should be raising the issue with employers and pressing for a comprehensive review of their estate and the compilation of a risk register. 

A number of areas are using “red, amber and green” classifications to assess the risk across their estate, with any areas of the estate classed as “red” closed to access to staff whilst remedial action is taken. 

Where documentation is incomplete and there is a suspicion that RAAC is located in an area that could lead to injury, a precautionary approach should be invoked and such areas should be  indicated as red until confirmation can be achieved. 

Centrally, Prospect will be pressing for clear guidance to be issued to employers and stressing the need for local engagement with Prospect representatives and transparency to address the concerns of staff. 

We will also be pressing for the need for central funding to be provided to address the need for inspections, urgent repairs and any remedial action needed to ensure the safety of the government estate. 

We will also be pressing for the any repairs to be carried out using Building Research Establishment (BRE) standard materials. 

We will be issuing further guidance to branches and health and safety representatives. 

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