Public buildings in Scotland containing reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) pose “no immediate risk to safety” to school pupils and hospital patients, a Scottish Government minister has said.
Wellbeing economy secretary Neil Gray said investigations are under way to assess the scale of buildings in Scotland containing the collapse-risk concrete.
The Scottish Government has said the lightweight concrete is present in 35 schools in Scotland, with local authorities checking which other buildings it was used on, including hospitals and social housing.
Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show programme, he said: “At the moment, there is no immediate risk to people using these buildings and that is why we continue to support our local authority partners, NHS boards and others, that have Raac in their buildings to ensure that remains the case, and if there are issues to be resolved, that mitigations are taken to ensure people’s safety.”
The issue came to the fore after the UK Government confirmed 104 schools in England will close due to the presence of the material, which was linked to the collapse of a primary school roof in Kent in 2018.
The concrete was used from the 1950s until the mid-1990s, with the Institute of Structural Engineers saying it will only need to be replaced if it is considered to be of poor condition and at high-risk of collapse.
Gray said: “There is no reason to believe that the safety concern has changed in the previous weeks. Obviously there are checks ongoing, including intrusive checks, because obviously some of this material is going to be deep into the structure of buildings. Some of that takes time to carry out.”
First Minister Humza Yousaf said on Saturday that Scottish ministers have no plans to close affected schools “at this stage”.
Local authorities will be expected to prioritise remedial work where the concrete is found in public buildings, including room or building closures and the use of temporary modular provision for school pupils.