A SWATHE of County Hall has been forced to temporarily close due to the roof containing RAAC ‘crumbling concrete.’
Concern was sparked when the Government published revised guidance stating the material was potentially dangerous and could lead to a partial or full collapse, with schools particularly impacted.
County Council chief executive Paul Robinson said he has been made aware of the RAAC – reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete – in the roof and staff have been relocated to other areas of County Hall.
The closed areas include areas around the council chamber and meeting rooms. As a result the full council meeting yesterday (Thursday) was moved to Wyre Forest District Council offices in Kidderminster.
In an e-mail to councillors seen by the Observer, Mr Robinson added: “The safety of our staff and public is our number one priority.
“County Hall remains open and unaffected areas are safe to use.
“These changes to where staff work from within County Hall will not impact service delivery for our residents and businesses in any way.”
Signs have also been put in place to ensure councillors, staff and visitors keep away from the potentially affected areas.
Mr Robinson added it was a precautionary measure until further information was known at which point, further briefings would be provided.
RAAC is a lightweight material used in roofs, floors and walls between the 1950s and 1990s.
The Department for Education (DfE) said 156 school buildings were identified as having this type of concrete, with 52 at risk of sudden collapse and action was taken immediately to make them safe.
On September 6, the Department for Education said four schools across the country had to move to remote learning, although most had already taken measures to put mitigations in place and open for the start of term.
The county council said it has reviewed and undertaken inspections in all its maintained schools and no RAAC had been found.
It added academies in Worcestershire were required to report any confirmed or suspected RAAC directly to the Department for Education.
It comes after a ‘loss of confidence in buildings containing the material’ already led to 56 schools being repaired.