Editor: With the media rightly focusing on the widespread concerns surrounding the use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) across schools and housing, investors should not panic, but should still examine its potential presence in commercial buildings in their portfolios.
RAAC was used mainly between the 1950s to the 1990s as a cheaper, more efficient source of concrete, as it was made in factories and shipped to site. The practice was widespread and there are strong possibilities that it was used in the commercial sector, in addition to any public assets transferred into private ownership.
Rather than scaremongering, dealing with this practically will reassure investors and the wider market and protect investment values, performance and debt arrangements.
RAAC can be dealt with swiftly and simply with an experienced team and investors should tackle the issue quickly. We’ve seen the implications of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards on landlords and tenants that didn’t act quickly enough despite years of warnings. This should be even simpler to tackle now, before legislation inevitably comes our way.
We’ve been working as project manager for a number of local authorities dealing with RAAC, leading teams to investigate, survey and reinforce portfolios and buildings containing it as part of the mission to solve the RAAC crisis. We were an early leading voice urging local authorities to inspect schools and housing as a matter of urgency.
It’s important that other building owners and tenants don’t ignore the problem but tackle it head on. As a country, we can solve this problem quickly and protect people and assets without delay. So our message to investors is: don’t panic, stay calm, but do your due diligence nonetheless.
Paul Dunne, partner, building consultancy, Rapleys