Most of us hadn’t heard of RAAC a few months ago. RAAC is a type of cheap, lightweight concrete which was widely used in the construction of public buildings like schools, hospitals, or student accommodation. Over time, the concrete degrades and in serious cases, can cause buildings to collapse. The Department for Education (DfE) is currently conducting hundreds of structural surveys each week to identify schools with potentially unsafe concrete structures in England, with similar action being taken in other parts of the UK.
Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was widely used in school construction between the 1950s and mid-1990s, and surveys are being carried out on all buildings of this period to identify whether RAAC is present, and to assess its condition.
Surveys for RAAC
Given the widespread use of RAAC in public buildings across the UK, the only way to establish the presence of RAAC, is by a visual inspection. This is a specialist job, and one which cannot be carried out by teachers or other staff employed in the school. The surveyor first has to check to see if there is RAAC used in the building, and then secondly assess the condition of the RAAC. Until this process is complete, areas of buildings may be out of bounds, or if the RAAC is widespread, an entire school or university halls of residence may be closed. Surveys will continue for several months due to the scale of the problem and the number of buildings which may be found to contain the product.
DBS Checks for Surveyors
Qualified building surveyors who are experienced in detecting RAAC have never been so busy. Surveying buildings for RAAC and monitoring the state of any RAAC detected is an ongoing project and there is likely to be demand for surveyors in schools for some considerable time. In general terms, a surveyor who goes into a school as a one-off and spends the rest of their time doing other types of survey work does not need a DBS check, although the school’s management may require that they are chaperoned on site at all times. However, this situation is different in that building surveyors are going to be required to be in schools for an extended period.
In this situation, where surveyors and remedial workers are going to be in schools around young people for a period of months, a DBS check is essential. An enhanced DBS check will verify the worker’s criminal record and ensure that there is nothing which could call into question their suitability to work in places where there are lots of children.
Applying for your enhanced DBS Check is easy. The form just asked for your basic personal details such as name, address history over the past five years, date of birth and for you to declare any past convictions or cautions. Applicants then show some other documents to verify their identity such as driving licence or utility bills. Once submitted to the DBS for checking, certificates are usually turned around in two to three weeks.