Insights 5th September 2023 Building Consultancy

Commercial real estate investors and RAAC – what are the considerations? 

The risks associated with RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) have been in the news recently as the UK Government takes steps to address concerns around its use in schools and other public buildings.

What is RAAC?

RAAC is a type of concrete construction which was primarily used for flat roof construction during the 1950s up to the mid-1990s. This concrete material was most commonly associated with public sector buildings, although it was used in some commercial buildings, so investors should consider their exposure.

RAAC was cheap to manufacture and fast to install, this fuelled a boom in major public sector construction in the UK from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Manufacture of this material in the UK stopped due to concerns over long-term performance, as reported by RICS, although it was still used until the mid-1990s.

Material and construction deficiencies identified with RAAC have raised concerns regarding performance in structural applications when compared to traditional concrete. With a working lifespan of approximately 30 years, there is a growing need to identify and remediate properties which have these panels installed.

While many public sector examples remain, those commercial buildings with this type of concrete are less common due to the typical redevelopment cycle of such assets. Buildings pre-dating the 1950s and post-dating the 1990s are unlikely to be affected.

Next steps for investors 

We are working with commercial property investors to determine any RAAC risk using our four-step process:

  • Step One – Age Assessment: Identification of properties constructed using concrete between 1950 to mid-1990s (desktop).
  • Step Two – Record Review: Properties flagged by the age assessment are subject to review of record information to assess if RAAC is a risk (desktop).
  • Step Three – Site Verification: Undertake targeted inspections of in-scope assets to determine RAAC presence.
  • Step FourRisk Assessment & Remediation: Testing, risk assessments and remedial work (if required).

Workman’s Technical Due Diligence team can assist as required.

For more information, contact:

Steven Rodd, Partner: [email protected]

Mark Fazal, Technical Due Diligence Director: [email protected]