Public sector spent £34m on RAAC remediation before school closures

The public sector spent at least £34m on investigating and remediating RAAC before late August, according to a public contracts analyst.

Research from Tussell shows that 13 clients from the NHS and local and central government issued 48 contracts related to RAAC from March 2021 to 29 August 2023.

More than 100 schools were told by the Department for Education to close buildings on 31 August, bringing RAAC into the spotlight.

Several government departments have been investigating the material, which is structurally weaker than traditional concrete, since the roof of a school collapsed in Kent in 2018.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, which is held together by thousands of props and girders, issued 24 contracts worth nearly £17m within the period assessed by Tussell. The hospital is due to be replaced by 2030 as part of the New Hospitals Programme.

Many councils commissioned consultancy work after the Local Government Association started contacting its members about RAAC in schools last year.

Heron Bros has been awarded around £9m by West Lothian Council for replacing roofs at three primary schools. The largest contract was worth £5.8m and was issued over the summer.

All Whitehall departments were told to survey the estate for RAAC in June, in an effort led by the Office of Government Property.

The Department for Education contracted Mott MacDonald, WSP and Arup in spring 2023 to provide technical advice on the RAAC assessment programme.

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