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Mounting costs of RAAC-affected buildings

Published: 26/10/2023

The estimated cost for dealing with the extensive issue of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in public buildings has climbed again as the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed more cases in hospital and school buildings. 

The DHSC has now named 42 hospitals with evidence of RAAC, while the DfE has said 214 schools and colleges are affected, with a handful of sites still to report back. 

To give an idea of the resources required, BCIS has estimated the cost of removing a RAAC-affected roof from a 10,000m2 four-storey hospital and replacing it with a new metal roof, as well as refurbishment of the rooms below. 

Source: BCIS

Dr David Crosthwaite, Chief Economist at BCIS, said: ‘It was inevitable that, as estate managers undertook reviews of the building stock, more cases of RAAC would be found. 

‘Looking at the list of affected NHS sites, they range from large hospitals through to small community hospitals, and within those, we don’t know whether we’re looking at small sections of roofs, or replacement roofs for entire sites being necessary, so the potential range in costs will vary massively. We know that, for example, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, which was already included in the government’s New Hospital Building Programme, the majority of buildings on the site are affected.  

‘Where remedial work is possible, rather than starting again with a new building, the challenges, and inevitably costs, increase when the setting is more difficult to access, when there’s specialist equipment on site, and of course when it’s not as easy to move the occupants out, as it is perhaps to temporarily pause face-to-face education. 

‘The latest NHS Estate Returns Information Collection (ERIC) data for 2021/2022 estimated that the total cost to eradicate its backlog maintenance was £10.2 billion, an increase of 11% since 2020/2021. The next dataset, due to be published in December, should give us a figure that takes into account what has been discovered in recent months. 

‘Clearly ongoing maintenance budgets in the public sector are going to be under pressure for some time, but the whole RAAC situation has proved exactly why investment in ongoing maintenance work – to keep buildings operational and their users safe – is so crucial.’

BCIS previously estimated the cost of replacing a school roof and constructing a new school building. 

Source: BCIS

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