Estates

RAAC at the University of Edinburgh

The University has restricted access to some areas of its buildings as a precautionary measure owing to safety concerns around the presence of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).

In line with guidance, significant progress has been made on structural assessments and remedial works where required.

We have, where possible, arranged appropriate alternative spaces for activities scheduled to take place in affected teaching, laboratory and office spaces. None of the affected buildings includes residential accommodation.

We will continue to follow advice from the Institution of Structural Engineers (iStructE).

We are very sorry for the disruption this is causing. However, our priority is to ensure that our buildings remain safe for everyone in our community.

The affected spaces are:

 

Building Campus Area Affected Status (updated 17 January)
Appleton Tower George Square Lecture Theatres 4 and 5 Remedial works underway.  These lecture theatres will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year 2023/24.
The Hunter Building Edinburgh College of Art Level R (all areas) Remedial works to be undertaken.
Dan Rutherford Building King’s Buildings Level 1 (all areas) Remedial works to be undertaken.
James Clerk Maxwell Building King’s Buildings Lecture Theatres Remedial works complete. Spaces re-opened.
James Clerk Maxwell Building King’s Buildings Ancillary Spaces beside Lecture Theatres Remedial works underway.
James Clerk Maxwell Building King’s Buildings 2nd Floor – Partial Areas Remedial works to be undertaken.
James Clerk Maxwell Building King’s Buildings 7th and 8th Floor Remedial works underway.
Joseph Black Building King’s Buildings Small Decant Block extension at rear of building – Office Areas Remedial works complete. Spaces re-opened.
Joseph Black Building King’s Buildings Small Decant Block extension at rear of building – Lab Areas Remedial works to be undertaken.
The Grant Institute King’s Buildings Level 1 – Partial Areas Remedial works to be undertaken.
The Ashworth Building Extension King’s Buildings Rooftop plant areas Remedial works to be undertaken.
Institute of Genetics and Cancer – Centre Building Western General Hospital Rooftop plant areas Remedial works to be undertaken.

What is Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete?

RAAC is a building material that was used in some buildings constructed between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s. It was used in the construction of roofs, wall panels, and sometimes floors.

When properly designed, manufactured and maintained in good condition RAAC installations are considered safe. However, the panels may deteriorate over time, and this can be exacerbated by water penetration. 

When was the issue with RAAC first identified?

RAAC came to public and media attention when the Department for Education (DfE) decided to close affected schools before the start of term in late August 2023 in a change of policy guidance.

What has the University done about RAAC so far?

In 2018/19 the Estates Department carried out surveys of all of our buildings to identify and record the locations of RAAC panels. Estates engaged structural engineers to assess the condition of any RAAC panel in line with guidance from the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). In order to determine a local understanding of the specific issues on our Estate, a programme of assessment and inspection for our buildings was implemented from then until 2023.

Following the policy guidance change in 2023, detailed assessments have been undertaken by structural engineers, comprising a visual, non-disruptive survey, along with targeted investigations. These present an aggregated risk profile for the affected areas of any building, which has informed mitigation and repair measures and a management strategy. 

This investigative work was carried out in accordance with the IStructE guidance originally published in April 2023 and reviewed in October 2023.

How long will the buildings impacted be restricted for?

As of January 2024, significant progress has been made throughout the University estate on structural assessments. We have re-opened access to areas where all necessary assessments and remedial work is complete. As work is continuing in some buildings, it is not possible to say exactly how long each area will remain closed. We will provide regular updates for everyone affected by this issue, and will update the table above with the latest information.

Is it possible to get access to the affected areas?

Yes, managed and controlled access for essential reasons can be facilitated. Please contact your building manager or Estates contact who will be able to help.