UK: GOVERNMENT URGED TO ADDRESS PUBLIC BUILDING RISKS

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is warning that the crisis related to ‘reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete’ (RAAC) in schools is just the beginning of a larger problem, and are calling on the government to be more transparent about the risks in public buildings like hospitals, libraries, and community centres.

More than one hundred schools in England have been fully or partly closed just days before the start of the new academic year, due to concerns over the safety of concrete roof panels. Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete is commonly used in roofing and wall construction

Problems with what the construction industry terms RAAC were brought to a head in August 2023, when an RAAC ceiling panel, that had been deemed safe by inspectors, collapsed at a school in England.

In response, the Department for Education issued an urgent alert. More than 156 schools were identified as being at risk.

The TUC is urging the UK government to publish a national risk register for all public buildings. They believe that not only schools but also other public structures may have issues with RAAC, asbestos, and structural integrity.

The TUC, which brings together the 5.5 million working people from 48 member unions, is pushing for capital investment to fix these issues and ensure public buildings are safe, fit for purpose, and prepared for environmental sustainability.

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