RAAC concrete, under going structural shear tests in a collaboration between Loughborough University and Lucideon (NHS projects)

'The world needs to learn how to live with RAAC’

‘The world needs to learn how to live with Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), and we are providing the research-based answers on how to do this’.

This is the key message from academics based in Loughborough University’s world-leading Construction Management and Structures and Materials research groups, in the wake of the RAAC crisis.

Loughborough’s experts have been studying RAAC for several years, undertaking projects funded by the NHS on RAAC in hospitals, and advising the Department for Education and other top-level Governmental bodies on the risks associated with the material and how best to manage these. Their work has been instrumental to identify the main issues with RAAC, develop recommendations and define the way forward.

RAAC is an aerated lightweight cementitious material with no coarse aggregate; the material properties and structural behaviour therefore differs significantly from ‘traditional’ reinforced concrete.

Widely used in construction during the 1960s and 70s, hundreds of 1000s of RAAC structural panels exist across a broad cross-section of buildings. The vast majority form the roof of the structure, usually flat, and hence are difficult to access, survey, maintain and replace.

Whilst the current discussions are focussed on RAAC in schools, the research team argue the scale of the problem is much wider, affecting many public and private buildings. These include everything from police stations and law courts, to libraries and office blocks.

The next phase of research for the groups is to look at the best ways to assess and grade the risk of RAAC failure, and on the most effective course of action to take to ensure RAAC in buildings is safe. The group is currently working with different Government departments, Central Government, professional bodies and engineering firms to ensure the research continues to deliver swift and positive practical impact.

Speaking about their work, Professor Chris Goodier said: “It is important that the concerns around RAAC are not overstated. There is nothing from our research to indicate that RAAC fails immediately after 30 years, or that it is a dangerous material. What our research does show is that RAAC that has been poorly manufactured, installed or maintained is at greater risk of failing.

"The task we now face is to find out where RAAC is in buildings and assess the state it is in. Only then can we fully understand the scale of the problem and look at the best course of action to take. Ultimately, the world needs to learn how to live with RAAC, and here at Loughborough we are providing the research-based answers on how to do this.”

In recent days Loughborough’s research on RAAC has received unprecedented media attention, with expert comments and insight from the lead academics featuring in multiple national and international newspapers, radio and television broadcasts.

The members of the Loughborough University groups leading research on RAAC in the UK are:

Professor Chriss Goodier
Professor Sergio Cavalaro
Professor Chris Gorse
Dr Karen Blay
Dr Ana Blanco

Want to speak to one of our RAAC experts? Contact the Public Relations team for further information: publicrelations@lboro.ac.uk

Industry partners the groups are currently working with include:

Concrete Preservation Technologies


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 23/132

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.