Concerns raised over safety of two council buildings
Elgan Hearn – Local Democracy Reporter
Two buildings in Blaenau Gwent might contain concrete that can cause building to collapse.
But senior council staff are hopeful that upon investigation, these buildings will be found to be RAAC-free.
On August 31 it was revealed that more than 100 schools in England have been told that they need to shut classrooms or put safety measures in place because they contain concrete that could collapse suddenly.
The UK Government has said that some of the schools will need to find alternative accommodation while safety measures are put in place.
The issues come from the use of Reinforce Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) as a building material from the 1950s up to the mid-1990s.
According to the UK Government the advice has been given after a concrete beam collapsed over the summer.
Last Friday, September 1, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said they were waiting for advice from the Welsh Government on how to deal with the problem.
At a meeting of the council’s Place Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, September 5, councillors were given an update on RAAC investigations by staff.
Head of community services Clive Rogers said: “I’m pleased to report that officers of the council have been going through a schedule of all our properties, ruling in potential candidates and ruling out buildings that may have RAAC as a result of when they were built, type and form.
“At this moment in time we’re down to two potential candidates that may have RAAC and inspections are being carried out on site as we speak.
“We’ve always been optimistically cautious that we didn’t have any RAAC however that needs to be evidenced and we’re well on the route to proving that.”
It is not currently clear whether or not the buildings in question are schools.
Infrastructure is a devolved power, and the Welsh Government has said that it has commissioned a condition survey of all state funded schools and colleges to identify any buildings suspected of containing RAAC.
So far in Wales, two schools on the Isle of Anglesey in north Wales and St David’s concert hall in Cardiff have been identified as containing RAAC.
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