Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC): should I be worried?
RAAC has become the new buzzword in the news recently, but what is it and what should you do if you have it?
What is RAAC?
Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (or RAAC) is a building material used as an alternative to traditional concrete. It is porous and is commonly described as “bubbly”.
The Standing Committee on Structural Safety issued an alert on the failure of RAAC planks in 2019. The alert explained that, because of the way it is made, RAAC is much weaker than traditional concrete. RAAC can collapse with little or no warning and is therefore no longer recommended.
RAAC usually lasts around 30 years. Since the use of RAAC was prevalent between 1950 and 1990, we are now starting to see the effects of the use of this material, which is coming to the end of its lifespan.
What can I do if RAAC is used on my premises?
Your options will depend on if you are the freeholder owner of a property or if you are in a leasehold scenario.
As a freeholder, you will almost always be responsible for repairs relating to the structure of the building. However, you may have a claim against developers or insurers depending on your individual circumstances.
In a landlord/tenant situation, the lease terms are key. The lease will set out the various obligations on each party. However, the landlord is usually responsible for repairs to the structure of the building.
What if I do nothing?
If your premises are not kept safe, this may result in another party suffering injury, and you may find yourself liable for the harm caused, even to uninvited visitors or trespassers. It may also be a requirement of your insurance to take steps to safeguard against the possible effects of RAAC.
If you have RAAC on your premises, you should seek immediate specialist legal advice on where the responsibilities lie, and what should be done about it.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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