Exclusive:Raac Scotland: Number of Scottish universities and colleges dealing with dangerous Raac rises to 18

Strathclyde and Glasgow universities on the list of institutions impacted by Raac crisis

Potentially dangerous Raac has now been found in the buildings of 18 universities and colleges in Scotland, it can be revealed.

The number of higher and further education institutions dealing with the collapse-prone construction material has increased following inspections.

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A full list naming those impacted by the discovery of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) has been published by the Scottish Funding Council, which oversees the sector.

A photo issued by the Local Government Association showing damage to a school built with RAAC. Credit: LGAA photo issued by the Local Government Association showing damage to a school built with RAAC. Credit: LGA
A photo issued by the Local Government Association showing damage to a school built with RAAC. Credit: LGA

It features 11 universities, including Strathclyde University, Glasgow University and the West of Scotland University. Strathclyde University believed as recently as October last year there was “no presence of Raac on campus”.

Seven colleges are also on the recently-published list, including Borders College and Fife College. Raac has already been found in 40 state schools and seven private schools in Scotland.

Documents released under Freedom of Information laws had previously shown 16 universities and colleges were suspected to contain Raac in September last year, although not all of them were named at the time. A total of 40 buildings in these institutions contained Raac, 17 of which were said to be closed or partly closed.

It comes as hundreds of people in Aberdeen face being moved from their homes over the discovery of Raac, which is a bubbly and lightweight concrete material used in wall panels and roof planks between the 1950s and 1980s.

A spokesperson for Colleges Scotland said: “Seven colleges have identified Raac within their estates. The Scottish Government is not providing funding for Raac-specific repairs to colleges, and discussions are continuing to understand where funding might come from to tackle any remedial action, surveys and other costs.

“Colleges do not have the funding available to tackle repairs themselves without impacting other projects, and the recent Scottish Budget for 2024/25 only provides capital funding for ongoing repairs and maintenance – there is no distinct funding to tackle Raac.”

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The Liberal Democrats have been urging the Scottish Government to compile a register of buildings containing Raac, reiterating these calls on Tuesday after it emerged community safety minister Siobhian Brown had admitted Raac could present “additional safety implications” for firefighters.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Across Scotland more and more examples of this potentially dangerous concrete are coming to light. That is troubling news for both staff and students.

“Many of these colleges and universities have taken precautions to reduce the risk, but we know from England that sites previously deemed safe can quickly change. It's shocking that almost a year since I first raised this issue with the First Minister we still don't have a rescue plan and funding for remedial work.

"We need a national register of where this concrete is present and a fund that local authorities can tap into, allowing them to carry out the necessary works to get rid of this concrete for good."

A spokesperson for Universities Scotland said: “Raac has now been confirmed in several universities’ estates. Universities are managing the affected buildings, including partial or full closure, and universities are working hard to minimise disruption to students and staff.

“The full cost of remedial works is not yet known, as surveys are still ongoing. However, we’d expect this to run to the many tens of millions for the sector, if not significantly more. Managing this will be challenging, especially in the face of highly straightened financial times for the sector.

“Universities have made a number of suggestions to Government, as to how collaborative working across sectors might be beneficial in managing the fall-out from Raac, given so many parts of the public and third sector are affected.”

The full list published by the Scottish Funding Council shows the colleges containing Raac are Borders College, Dundee & Angus College, Edinburgh College, Fife College, Glasgow Clyde College, UHI Moray College and West College Scotland.

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The universities are Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Napier, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde and West of Scotland.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Funding Council said: “We are maintaining a close dialogue with colleges and universities about Raac.

“Since the issue first came to light, we have advised colleges and universities to follow the recommended Institution of Structural Engineers guidance and access the appropriate technical expertise needed to deal with Raac. We continue to monitor the situation.”



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