Checking for the presence of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC)

A lightweight, aerated form of concrete used commonly between the 1950s and 1990s, reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is weaker than more traditional forms of concrete having an operating life of around 30 years. Removed from UK production in the early ’80s (but imported from elsewhere for some time after), RAAC planks or panels are commonly found in the walls and roofs of public buildings, offices and shopping centres, having been chosen for their lightweight, cost-saving and thermally efficient properties.

RAAC: Weaker than more traditional forms of concrete

Proving much more prone to corrosion than conventional concrete – not to mention having a lower compressive strength and a significantly higher elastic modulus – RAAC was extremely popular in the construction of public buildings such as schools, colleges, courts, universities, and hospitals etc.

Whilst regular RAAC visual assessments should have been carried out on all potentially affected structures, this has not always been the case, with key warning signs (such as cracks, reinforcement corrosion, ponding or leaks etc.) being missed in a number of buildings throughout the UK. Unfortunately, the effects of an RAAC plank failure cannot be overstated, with sudden catastrophic collapse being a very real possibility.

In-depth RAAC investigations to BRE IP 7/02.

Working in accordance with BRE IP 7/02, as well as new guidance from the British Government, our expert structural investigation team is on hand to carry out a detailed RAAC survey of your building, combining visual assessments, non-destructive and intrusive sampling, and laboratory testing to determine the presence of this potentially hazardous material.

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    • Whilst by no means a definitive guide, a brief assessment of the structure should check the width of the concrete panels (RAAC panels are typically - but not always - 600mm wide), look for distinctive v-shaped, regularly spaced grooves, check for light-grey or white coloured walls, floors, or ceilings (where unpainted), and examine any structural drawings for the presence of RAAC or the mention of suppliers such as Celcon, Hebel, Ytong, Siporex or Durox. When there is any doubt, a detailed survey should be carried out by a team of structural investigation specialists such as Perry Testing.

    • With an intended lifespan of roughly 30 years, and due to its bubbly, lightweight composition, any RAAC (or reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) present in UK buildings is now well past its prime. If showing key signs of deterioration, it could pose a significant risk to life, affecting both building users and the wider public. What's more, this extremely popular material was commonly used in the construction of schools, universities, office buildings and shopping centres (amongst others) between the 1950s and 1990s. A comprehensive, BRE IP 7/02 compliant RAAC survey carried out by Perry Testing will determine whether RAAC really is present within your building.

    • Yes, absolutely. Due to the age of most RAAC planks or panels, there is a very real possibility that asbestos may be present being ceilings or finishes. Asbestos poses a significant health risk and should NEVER be disturbed, other than by a licensed professional in accordance with Government guidelines.

    • We're based in Watford in Hertfordshire, not far from London, but we regularly travel throughout the UK including Bedfordshire, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire and Surrey to support our clients.

    • Whilst every project is different, we charge based on a competitive day rate. Simply get in touch for a tailored quotation.

    • Many of our clients are initially unsure as to exactly what type of testing is needed to capture the information their projects require. If that sounds like you, just get in touch and a member of our team will advise on the most appropriate and cost-effective approach to take.

    • Absolutely. Whilst the majority of our works are carried out during normal working hours between Monday and Friday, we understand that this won't be possible for every client. That's why we offer an out of hours and weekend working service available upon request.

    • On the whole, our lead time for site work is between 1-2 weeks from receipt of an instruction. That said, we completely understand that some projects require a more immediate response and will always do our best to accommodate urgent requests.

    • Yes. All of our engineers are trained to work at height with PASMA and IPAF certification. We can also bring any necessary access equipment with us - such as a tower or MEWP - as necessary.

    • Yes. We have a number of highly experienced engineers who have confined space training.

    • Whilst this can vary due to nature of each individual project, we typically aim to deliver our reports within 10 working days of the site work having been completed. If a case is particularly urgent, however, we'll do our best to turn reports around sooner.

    Why choose Perry Testing?

    Time served professionals

    Every one of our engineers and technicians has at least 10 years' experience in structural investigation, scanning and materials testing.

    Easy-to-read, concise reports

    Our beautifully formatted reports are delivered promptly whilst getting straight to the point, providing the data you need direct to your inbox.

    Professional, friendly staff

    We take pride in the professionalism and attitude of our staff. From first contact to reporting, we'll treat you as we'd like to be treated ourselves.

    Proven track record

    Every year, we complete hundreds of projects for a truly loyal client base, firms that return time after time, confident in the service they'll receive.

    Nationwide service

    Our teams travel the length and breadth of the UK, delivering structural investigation and testing services on a truly diverse range of sites.

    Reduced risk and costs

    Using the very latest technology and techniques, we help reduce unexpected costs, keeping your team, project and organisation safe in the process.

    "Perry Testing are more than just another surveying company, they provide modern solutions to real problems. Always a pleasure to work with them."

    — Ben Joshua, Senior Engineer, Keltbray

    "We have engaged Perry Testing on a range and number of projects to provide scanning, sampling, and testing and always found them responsive and their reports to be high quality and informative. I would highly recommend them."

    — Malcolm Brady, Director, MBP

    "I have worked with Perry Testing Limited on several projects over the past 3 or 4 years, and they have always responded to our requests at very short notice, providing a professional, expert service every time."

    — Ben White, Managing Quantity Surveyor, United Living

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