As the severity of the ‘Concrete Crisis’ continues to be uncovered, Stuart Baxter, operations director for Sedgwick’s commercial surveying and design division, provides advice for those who own or are looking to acquire commercial property:
“Being proactive and addressing potential problems associated with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) could save on extremely costly repairs in the long run. Any structure built with RAAC should be assessed for potential risks, to ensure the safety of the public occupying such buildings. The property expert may decide that immediate temporary measures need to be taken, such as propping or an exclusion zone around the areas of high risk. However, routine maintenance and regular inspections on a bi-annual basis should be standard practice.
“A simple Planned Maintenance scheme to include works such as gutter clearing, internal and external redecoration, testing and maintenance of services including heating, air conditioning and electrical installations are important. Inspections and surveys shouldn’t just focus on RAAC, there are many other factors which need to be considered, such as asbestos, ACM, and spalling stonework.
“When considering acquisition of commercial property, we would always recommend that building professionals are appointed to undertake a building survey to report on the condition of a property as part of the due diligence process. This will avoid the complications of unknown capital expenditure if problems are discovered further down the line.”