Four Schools in Dumfries and Galloway Identified with RAAC Panels

Use of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in Public Buildings

On Thursday, 31st August 2023, the UK Department for Education (DfE) issued an announcement that has garnered significant media attention. It stated that any space or area in schools, colleges, or nurseries confirmed to contain Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) should no longer remain open without the implementation of necessary “mitigations.”

In response to this national directive, Dumfries and Galloway Council initiated an examination of their local school buildings earlier this year. Like many other local authorities across the UK, they identified that some of their properties may contain RAAC. Subsequently, consulting engineers were commissioned to carry out detailed inspections of nine schools on an urgent basis. These inspections aimed to confirm the presence of RAAC panel systems, assess their dimensions and condition, and quantify the number of panels. All this work adhered to guidance provided by the Institution of Structural Engineers.

The results of most of these surveys have now been obtained by the Council. Out of the nine schools inspected, three have been identified as having RAAC panels within Dumfries and Galloway:

  1. Laurieknowe Primary School, Dumfries.
  2. Carrutherstown Primary School, Nithsdale.
  3. Dumfries Academy, Dumfries.

To address the findings, any recommended remedial work will be carried out outside of regular school hours. There are currently no plans to close these schools while the necessary work is undertaken.

Here is a breakdown of the actions the Council is taking:

Laurieknowe Primary School: RAAC panels were identified within the building, and some were found to be cracked. Immediate work is recommended to install additional support to a small number of these panels within the school. Further work to replace panels is being planned over the next 12 months. These actions align with the advice of structural engineers. An enhanced monitoring and inspection regime by a qualified structural engineer will be implemented until the work is complete, with initial work planned for the October break this year.

Carrutherstown Primary School: RAAC panels have been identified within the building, and they are in good condition. Remedial work to install additional support is recommended within the next three to six months. This work will not disrupt school operations. An enhanced monitoring and inspection regime by a qualified structural engineer will be in place until the work is complete.

Dumfries Academy: RAAC panels were identified within the building. The recommendation is to implement a six-monthly monitoring inspection regime by a qualified structural engineer. Additionally, a small number of panels are recommended for replacement within the next 12 months.

Further inspections by structural engineers are awaited at Kirkcudbright Academy, with similar investigations scheduled for Gatehouse Primary School this week (week beginning Monday 4th September) to check for RAAC panels. UPDATE: Checks have now confirmed its presence at Gatehouse Primary.


These inspections will involve some investigative work, with the in-house team collaborating with structural engineers. Updates on the findings will be promptly communicated to parents, pupils, carers, and staff at these two schools.

Safety remains the utmost priority for the Council. On the advice of structural engineers, an enhanced inspection regime has been implemented at all three sites. Regular condition surveys and Lead Occupier inspections by the Council’s clerk of works team are ongoing. The Council is also conducting survey work across its broader estate to identify any other buildings potentially fitted with RAAC panels, applying the same structural engineering inspection and reporting protocols.

The Council commits to providing regular updates on this matter to keep the community informed.

For further information and detailed discussions on this topic, please refer to the committee paper scheduled for the upcoming Education and Learning Committee meeting on 14th September.