More than a dozen Liverpool schools investigated for RAAC last year

More than a dozen Liverpool schools were identified as being constructed with potentially crumbling concrete more than a year ago.

After it was confirmed earlier this week how four schools across the city were being looked at by the Department for Education regarding the possible presence of autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), a written question submitted to Liverpool Council in 2022 revealed 17 schools were assessed for the presence of the concrete.

The city’s education director, Jonathan Jones, told a committee on Tuesday how government officials were planning to look again at Liverpool sites.

It emerged last week that around 100 schools throughout the UK would be ordered to close their doors on the eve of the new school term after concerns arose regarding aerated concrete used in construction that is liable to sudden collapse.

A question was submitted by former councillor Alan Tormey last year asking the then cabinet member for strategic development and housing – Cllr Sarah Doyle – if the local authority had sent back a government issued survey on RAAC in school roofs.

In a written response, Cllr Doyle, who now holds the housing brief in cabinet – said 17 schools which the council had responsibility for were identified as being built between 1950 and 1980 “that have the potential to have RAAC in their construction.”

It was confirmed no positive identifications were made, but two schools required “further intrusive investigation” over potential aerated concrete in the construction. The structural surveys were carried out by Kier Workplace Services in April 2022.

Earlier this week, director of education Mr Jones confirmed the four unnamed schools in the city were now being investigated for the presence of RAAC but said this did not guarantee any would be found. A site run by a multi-academy trust (MAT) operating in Liverpool had also had to close off an area to the public owing to concerns over its building work.

Liverpool Council is responsible for 61 of the city’s 172 educational settings, with archdioceses and MATs in charge of faith and independent schools. It is expected assessments will be undertaken in the next two weeks.

Mr Jones said should any remedial works be required at the sites in Liverpool, costs would be covered by the government. Any contingencies would then fall under the city council’s jurisdiction.

Department for Education data indicated 52 locations across the UK currently have mitigations in place following the identification of RAAC, with 104 requiring urgent works. The information did not include academies or private nurseries and out-of-school settings. 

An additional 34 public buildings are thought to contain the concrete nationally.

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