Guide to building closures due to Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete

Updated on 5 October 2023

Parts of DUSA, the Fulton Building (School of Science and Engineering), and Crawford Building (DJCAD) are temporarily closed as a precautionary measure due to RAAC concrete within their roofs.

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We are having to close certain parts of DUSA and the Fulton Building (School of Science and Engineering) as a precaution due to recently published national guidance relating to the concrete used in buildings constructed in the mid-twentieth century. This guidance affects many other buildings across the UK, including at other universities.

We are aware this will cause disruption for students and staff but we have chosen to act with an abundance of caution. We are working with DUSA and the School of Science and Engineering to help mitigate any disruption to learning, teaching and social events.

The guidance relates to a particular type of concrete (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) used when these buildings were completed in the 1970s. Once identified as affecting our buildings on 26 April 2023 we took action immediately to advise the School of Science and Engineering and DUSA.

The spaces are being closed as a precaution in line with guidance from the Institute of Structural Engineers.

We will be fixing the issues so that we can reopen the closed areas as soon as possible, but this will take some time as it is likely to involve the replacement of some roofs. We will update you when we have a clearer indication of timescales.

This issue is already affecting many other buildings in the local area, for example the Student Union building at the University of St. Andrews, which has already had to close some space for the same reason.

It is important to note that the closures in DUSA and the Fulton Building are only partial and other areas within those building will remain open for use. There will be clear signage and the areas that we have closed as a precaution will be secured.

At DUSA, the nursery, swimming pool, Premier Shop, The Liar, and Enquiry Centre are unaffected and will continue to operate as normal.

We appreciate your patience and understanding while we work through these issues.

Background and technical information

In late December 2022, the UK government issued a notice regarding Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) with a guide for estates managers.

RAAC was widely used in construction from the 1950s to early 1990s. In general, it was widely thought to be a robust and good approach to building design and was used in the construction of floors and roofs.

However, in 2017 there was an unexpected failure in a primary school in Kent which resulted in a roof collapse. No one was injured when this happened. Another building collapse happened in 2019 which prompted wider investigations across the UK.

This process concluded that roof leaks could lead to the deterioration of RAAC planks. The inspections were widened to other schools across the UK and concluded that this problem was happening in other properties, and that over time RAAC planks could become defective, creating a risk of collapse.  

In 2020, more information was released focussed specifically on local authority school buildings in England. However, when the UK Government issued their guide in December 2022, we and others across the public and private sectors became aware this was an issue on which we may have to take action.

The UK Government notice was specific about education premises, requesting that estates managers look at their properties to identify if they had any RAAC in their buildings. It was aimed toward England but it was picked up in the Scottish sector as well. In January we engaged a review of our buildings and then appointed two specialist surveyors and a contractor.

A basic desktop study of our buildings was carried out, looking at the risk criteria from the guidance. In early April we had identified that the Fulton Building was a potential concern based on the criteria and a non-invasive survey was carried out.

At that time we were advised we could continue to use the building but we were recommended to have further tests done. These required scaffold erection inside the building and were arranged for this week.

In between us doing this, on 17 April 2023, the Institute of Structural Engineers issued new guidance for RAAC buildings, which basically provided additional checks and criteria for assessing buildings containing RAAC.

In applying this criteria to our estate we have identified that we have areas in DUSA and Fulton Building that are in the ‘High to Critical’ spectrum of risk. Further testing is required to make a firm diagnosis but, as a precaution, we have immediately arranged the safe closure of these areas.

What happens now

The next steps are on two fronts. We are working with the buildings users to enact their Business Continuity Plans and seek to support them with alternative locations, access and sites for their activities. However, there will be some degree of cancellation as we cannot re-provide space for all activities. We are working with leaders in these areas to develop a plan that meets their critical needs.

In parallel to this we have already engaged the structural engineers and a contractor to develop a roof replacement project for Fulton and DUSA. At this time we cannot advise how long these spaces will be out of action, but as soon as we know we will give clear timescales and advice.

All other activity can continue to be used as normal.

Areas of closure


  • Mono nightclub
  • Kitchen (Food on Four)
  • Games room
  • Offices on level 4
  • Air
  • Floor 5 

The nursery, swimming pool, Premier Shop, The Liar, and Enquiry Centre remain open.

Fulton Building

The building will be closed on the ground floor from the corridor space where the engines are displayed (CF07) which will mean no access to:

  • F15 Lab, mens disabled toilet, the F5 Switch Room, F6A, and F6
  • F7 Lab and F7A, including access to the Mezzanine Level
  • Circulation CF08 and CF09
  • F13 Fluids / Hydraulics Lab and Mezzanine Level
  • F9 Workshop and F10 Office
  • F16 IDEAS Lab Workshop and Mezzanine Level, F17, and F18 Technicians Rooms
  • 204 Structures Laboratory and all side rooms including stores, offices, and specialist rooms
  • Geotech SMART Lab G10 Lab, G9 Lab, and office 203
  • Structures Mezzanine above 204 and all offices and study space 301- 307, toilets, and labs
  • The entire top floor of the main Fulton Tower is also closed for access and use.

Access to the basement is still possible. We have reviewed the fire exits and access plans and this is suitable and protected.

Access to the link building will be permitted with a new fire exit strategy (this encompasses the Foyer, toilets, Lab G2, Office G3, G4, G8, G8A, and Store G2A via circulation CG6).

Crawford Building

A small area of RAAC has been identified in the annexe on level 4 meaning that there will be no access to the following areas:

  • 453, 454 & 455 – Studio
  • 452, 453A 456 – Office

Further reviews

All buildings on City Campus have been reviewed and we are satisfied that the above identified properties are the only ones affected by RAAC. We have requested information regarding NHS properties that we occupy at Ninewells and Kirkcaldy. NHS Tayside have reassured us that we do not occupy any areas with RAAC in Ninewells. We await further information from NHS Fife regarding Kirkcaldy.

All properties and spaces identified with RAAC at a critical level have been evacuated and are closed to all staff and students. If you believe that you require access to a RAAC effected area, you should contact the Estates Help Desk.

Under no circumstances should anyone enter the areas affected without permission of the Estates emergency response team working on the project.

We are now working with leadership staff from those buildings affected to implement Business Recovery Plans to provide a medium term solution. We are also developing the long term plans. This is likely to take some time as we work with specialist structural teams to develop the strategy to remove the existing roof and replace with a new design solution.

We are aware of the impact that this action will have on our staff and students, and we have not taken this situation lightly. We will provide updates as the project develops and we are seeking to reinstate these properties at the earliest opportunity.


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