Raac: UEA moves students out of Ziggurats over concrete fears

Discovery adds to multimillion-pound repair bill on brutalist campus and comes as managers battle spiralling deficit

九月 8, 2023

Students living in the University of East Anglia’s famous Ziggurats are being moved out after the brutalist buildings were found to contain reinforced autoclave aerated concrete (Raac).

UEA said that the grade II-listed structures, officially known as Norfolk and Suffolk Terrace, would be closed until further notice “while further investigations are carried out”. Around 750 rooms are thought to be affected.

The university said that students would be rehoused in “campus or city centre accommodation”, with communications due to go out early next week.

Visitor accommodation in Broadview Lodge and the top floors of Nelson Court and Constable Terrace have also been closed.

David Maguire, UEA’s vice-chancellor, said that the safety of staff and students was “paramount”.

“Following risk assessment and due diligence work, we have identified spaces with Raac. Therefore, in line with new government guidance, we are closing some spaces and relocating students. The affected spaces will remain closed until we can be certain that they are safe. 

“We realise that this could be a stressful time for both the students being moved and those due to arrive and return to campus in the coming weeks. We will be communicating with them directly over the coming days so that they’re aware of the alternative accommodation and to make sure they have everything they need to settle into life here at UEA. There will be no additional costs to students as a result of any changes.”

UEA said that it did not believe any other campus buildings were affected. But the discovery comes at an unwelcome time at the institution as it seeks to close a deficit projected to hit £37 million in coming years.

Repairs on its concrete-heavy campus have been a significant factor in driving up the deficit.

And experts have warned that more universities could face large repair bills in light of new guidance from the Department for Education that warns buildings constructed with Raac are at risk of sudden collapse.

The University of Edinburgh has restricted access to eight of its buildings as it carries out more detailed surveys, affecting teaching, laboratory and office spaces.

Several other Scottish institutions, including the universities of Dundee, St Andrews and Aberdeen, have also closed off buildings in the last few months after early inspections identified potential issues.




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