Crumbling concrete found in almost 70 council homes amid ongoing works

Surveys have also confirmed its discovery in 15 blocks of flats.

Crumbling concrete found in almost 70 council homes in West Lothian amid ongoing works STV News

Crumbling concrete has been found in 69 council homes in West Lothian, it has been confirmed.

Surveys have also confirmed its discovery in 15 blocks of flats.

The crumbling concrete, first found in 2002 in the Deans South homes built by Livingston Development Corporation has now been found in council houses and common blocks in Broxburn, Bathgate, Linlithgow and a small a number in Craigshill.

The council has told all affected residents they will have to be temporarily rehoused while remedial work is carried out.

Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) is a type of construction material that was commonly used in social housing in West Lothian between the 1950s and 1980s. RAAC has been associated with various issues, including structural defects.

West Lothian Council has already spent £52m trying to tackle RAAC found in schools, community halls and other public buildings.

It was one of the first councils to address the issue following the discovery in public buildings.

However, the council has long faced criticism from former home-owners including Kerry Mackintosh who campaigned for almost 20 years for compensation having bought a former LDC home in Deans South.

While the bulk of the Deans South estate was cleared of tenants when the RAAC was discovered, nine families who had bought their homes were left with a lengthy battle for meaningful compensation.

That was only achieved last year when a deal for a home for a home was achieved after negotiations with Springfield Homes.

Kerry is now advising tenants in Livingston flats who fear the material was used in their homes.

A report to the Housing Services Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel which meets next Friday confirms that there are 14,243 council homes in West Lothian, and that RAAC is present in 69 homes (less than 0.5% of the council housing stock). Surveys have also confirmed the presence of RAAC in 15 common blocks.

Intrusive surveys will need to take place and independent consultants have provided an indicative estimate cost of £4.3million to carry out removal and reinstatement works across all properties.

The council said intrusive surveys, and follow on work, will be carried out in a planned and structured way. Initially, properties will be prioritised for repairs and the intrusive surveys will provide detailed information on the condition of RAAC panels. Survey data will then be analysed to inform what work is necessary.

It was confirmed that as part of the removal works ‘it will be necessary for tenants to be temporarily moved to a property close to where they are currently located’ for a short period of time in order to facilitate the works.

This will also be undertaken on a planned basis over the course of the project and tenants will be fully supported during this process. Tenants affected by RAAC in common blocks are less likely to be required to move homes on a temporary basis.

It is understood private homes may also be affected, as the estates identified are a mix of council and privately owned homes.

Private home-owners are responsible for any maintenance or repair work. The council will now write to the affected private owners and advise them of the issues found in council properties of the same type and recommend they instruct their own structural survey.

Julie Whitelaw, Head of Housing, Customer and Building Services said: “There are a very small percentage of council homes affected overall and the tenants affected have been informed.

“Obviously for the 69 council homes affected the work to carry out intrusive surveys and any subsequent repairs could be significant, which is why we are adopting a planned approach to the survey work.

“We can assure our tenants that we will support them and ensure that they are provided with information and assistance throughout.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in