Student union closes floor after crumbling concrete discovered

The university is due to welcome freshers for the new academic from Thursday.

A student union has had to close a floor just as it was due to welcome freshers after potentially dangerous crumble-prone concrete was found.

Stirling University Student Union issued a statement on Wednesday night saying its facilities were partially shut ahead of the new academic year.

It comes after reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete (RAAC) was identified in the fabric of the building during a structural safety inspection before Welcome Week that kicks off on Thursday.

“Given the heightened safety concerns over the use of RAAC, which was an extremely common building material from the 1950s through to the 1990s, the Students’ Union and University have taken the joint decision based on expert advice to introduce a temporary partial closure of Students’ Union spaces,” a statement read.

The union said it had received assurances from contracted structural engineers that only the upstairs portion of the building had to close.

This affects the studio, staff offices and the media office until further notice alongside the chaplaincy.

It comes after freedom of information requests show a number of universities and colleges have been impacted by the collapse-prone concrete – with both Aberdeen University and Edinburgh University reporting that eight of their buildings have been impacted.

A ministerial statement addressing RAAC is expected in Holyrood on Thursday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the University of Stirling said it had temporarily restricted access to “localised areas of campus” following the updated guidance on RAAC.

“The safety of our community is paramount, and we have taken this action as a precautionary measure while we work with specialists, including on-site structural engineers, to carry out further investigations where necessary,” the spokesperson said.

Other areas downstairs of the Stirling University Student Union will be open and safe, the union said.

“This means that we are aiming to re-open Starbucks (Underground) albeit with a limited menu from Thursday, September 7,” the union said.

“We are also able to put on a range of evening activity as advertised in our Welcome Week.

“It may however mean that some events may not go ahead as planned due to logistical issues of having the Venue open as a daily social space and bar. We will continue to keep you updated via our website and social media channels regarding any changes to the programme.

“The Welcome UV party will go ahead as planned on Thursday, September 7.

“We are aware than many societies will have materials they need in our Union spaces and may be concerned about getting hold of them ahead of the start of term. We are working closely with the University to arrange a relocation of all necessary materials from Union spaces and will communicate directly with societies once we have a clearer picture.

“This news has obviously come as a shock to us and we thank you all for your patience – we are gutted as it isn’t the start to the term we’ve been hoping for but rest assured we’ll do all we can to still make it a welcome to remember.”

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