RAAC 'rulebook' in development

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) has secured £3m in government funding towards research into reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), including developing a 'rulebook' on how to deal with the material.

The research will look at various forms of of non-destructive testing (NDT), such as ground-penetrating radar, backscatter X-ray and ultrasonic testing, to accurately identify and assess RAAC.

MTC said that current methods of evaluating RAAC rely on a combination of visual surveys, which are subjective, and testing samples, which are invasive, time-consuming and increase risk. MTC will also develop an automated way to collect and analyse data about RAAC across a range of public buildings so that cases can be assessed rapidly and more cost-effectively. This should lead to the development of a UK mass-produced solution for a replacement programme. 

£1.5m of the funding will come from Innovate UK, the government agency providing money towards business-led innovation. The remaining £1.5m will be channelled via the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, part of the Catapult centres initiative.

Steve Nesbitt, built environment chief technologist at MTC, said that this funding will enable vital research into RAAC, including developing solutions for replacing and monitoring the material and the creation of a training programme.

He added: "By gaining a better understanding of its integrity, buildings which are in the most urgent need of repair can be identified, ensuring the safety of occupants.

"This project builds on our capabilities in NDT and metrology, data analytics and informatics, as well as our previous work completed as part of Innovative UK's Construction Innovation Hub – a programme which we led in partnership with the Building Research Establishment.

"With this wealth of experience and knowledge, we are ideally placed to equip building owners and industry with vital and verifiable intelligence about RAAC on their premises, and the solutions needed to tackle the problem."

This article first appeared on Construction Manager

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