Social housing could be at risk of crumbling aerated concrete

Social housing could be at risk of crumbling aerated concrete

0:01 AM, 4th September 2023, About 10 months ago 7

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Housing associations are being urged to check building specifications for reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC)

The call comes after some schools in England have been forced to close because they contain the dangerous concrete.

One social housing law firm warns that RAAC poses a serious risk to social housing tenants.

Act on RAAC for tenant safety

Greg Carter, a legal director and construction and insurance law specialist at Winckworth Sherwood, said housing associations need to act on RAAC for tenant safety.

He said: “RAAC was widely used in the construction of social housing between the 1950s and 1990s.  Just as in school buildings and other structures, RAAC presents a serious risk for housing associations and their residents.

“Where social housing providers have not already done so, they should urgently check as-built drawings and specifications, and if RAAC is found to have been used, commission structural surveys to verify its condition and any remedial works.”

Mr Carter adds that no survey has been conducted in the social housing sector to check for RAAC.

“Unlike schools, no nationwide survey of social housing has been conducted and the extent of the problem is unknown. Thorough checks of housing stock will be the only way to fully understand the size and scale of any problems.”

Frustrating for housing providers and tenants

Mr Carter says where RAAC is discovered social housing providers may be able to claim the cost of remedial work on the building.

He said: “Where RAAC is discovered and is defective, social housing providers may be able to claim the cost of remedial work on building or other insurance policies.

“There will often be a 30-year limit on such claims and the success of any claim will vary depending on the wording of those policies.”

Mr Carter added that some insurance companies may not include RAAC claims.

“However, depending on the scale of the problem, and as seen following the Grenfell tragedy, insurers may opt to exclude RAAC claims. That would be disappointing and frustrating for housing providers and tenants.”

A spokesperson from the Regulator of Social Housing told Property118 that social landlords have a legal responsibility to keep homes safe.

“Social landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the homes they provide are safe. We expect social landlords to understand the condition of their stock and take action where they identify problems. Anyone with concerns should seek specialist advice.”


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Comments

Morag

10:26 AM, 4th September 2023, About 10 months ago

What about all the former local authority homes sold to the tenants and now in individual private ownership? How do these people find out how their homes were built and take remedial action? This could be even worse than the cladding issue.

yl2006

17:50 PM, 4th September 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Morag at 04/09/2023 - 10:26
That would be upon you - caveat emptor and all that. Same as if you bought an asbestos-riddled house, say.

Morag

19:18 PM, 4th September 2023, About 10 months ago

Yes. I wonder if it will be notifiable by all developers or local authorities to owners of properties likely to be affected, or will an assessment or certification become an essential part of building surveys in future when selling, like cladding did?

nekillim200

11:25 AM, 5th September 2023, About 10 months ago

They will have to sort out the cladding issues first, and that is taking years!!!!

Reluctant Landlord

14:30 PM, 5th September 2023, About 10 months ago

Another crisis looming....

yl2006

15:24 PM, 5th September 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Reluctant Landlord at 05/09/2023 - 14:30Not necessarily - there are several house construction types in the UK that are unmortgageable or require specialist lending (Wimpey no fines & BISF to name two). Cash buyers love them and with remediation, can be made mortgageable. Add this to the list.

Mike Scott

10:40 AM, 9th April 2024, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by yl2006 at 05/09/2023 - 15:24
Hi yl2006 - why do cash buyers love them? I ask because I've just lost out to a cash buyer on a house that had wimpey concrete in the kitchen extension. I may now buy it off the cash buyer who wants to flip it. However, I'm trying to find out if the concrete makes the house mortgageable with my lender. If not (probable) , from what you said, the cash buyer can fix the concrete issue (how?) and make it mortgagable, right?

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