School Buildings Safety Report

August 25, 2023
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The National Audit Office (NAO) recently published a report, highlighting key safety issues related to the condition of school buildings in England.

The report focuses on the progress made by the Department for Education (DfE) in understanding and evaluating the condition of school buildings and the further progress still required. Key findings include:

  • Just over a third of English school buildings are over their original estimated design lives. While this does not mean they are unsafe, it does mean that they are likely to be more expensive to maintain and less energy efficient.
  • Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been identified as potentially being present in 572 schools. RAAC is a lightweight material widely used between the 1950s and mid-1990s that is now reaching the end of its expected life. Failures in this material have been linked to a number of collapses.
  • Many school buildings also contain asbestos, which presents a safety risk if not managed carefully and increases the cost of maintenance and repair work. In a separate report, the HSE identified that around 7% of schools had significant failings in their asbestos management systems.

The HSE report can be found at on the HSE website.

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