Saturday, 2 Mar 2024

Heathrow and Gatwick airports confirm buildings contain crumbling concrete

Two busiest international airports in the UK have detected the type of concrete that recently forced hundreds of UK schools to close.

Heathrow and Gatwick airports said they were aware of the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, also known as RAAC.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The industry has been aware and acting on the remedial steps that should be taken in buildings that contain this material. We, like many others, have been assessing our estate and will continue to mitigate the risk where this material is found.”

They added: “Passenger and colleague safety will always be our first priority, and we will continue to update stakeholders across the sector as our plans for permanent solutions progress.”

The concrete was discovered in Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport and mitigations are already in place.

READ MORE: RAAC scandal deepens with scores of NHS hospitals declared ‘ticking time bombs’

The porous concrete was first found in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 last year, prompting remedies to be introduced while the airport planned a permanent solution.

A London Gatwick spokesperson told Sky News: “We have a register of locations containing RAAC on the airport campus, which are closely monitored through a regular comprehensive structural inspection regime.”

“Our most recent inspection in June 2023 did not present any concerns, and we will continue to monitor on a regular basis.”

Gatwick says it has carried out regular inspections on the concrete and is not worried about its findings.

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Building Surveyor, Joshua Weston explained RAAC is found in the form of blocks and structural planks, typically found in flat roofs and occasionally walls or floors. The porous concrete was used most commonly in public buildings from the mid-1950s to mid-1990.

Mr Weston explained: “This includes a number of schools as well as hospitals, theatres and other public buildings. There are 156 schools in England known to contain RAAC. Of those, 52 schools have already received remedial works, but 104 still require urgent work.”

RAAC is considered a “deleterious material” because it has a 30-year lifespan and is used in many structurally critical building elements.

The discovery of the concrete, which can crumble, in schools and public buildings has led to a number of closures since the start of September.

Express.co.uk has created a map where you can view if your school has been affected here.

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