Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), popular from the 1950s to mid-1980s, has recently become a focal point of concern and the facts are as solid as, well, concrete.
It was an affordable and convenient choice, making it a popular option for construction in schools and state buildings. But nobody thought much about it until the walls started coming down. I mean, literally. After a school roof collapsed in Kent in 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) has been in high gear, issuing advisories and urging precautions.
Now everyone’s talking about RAAC— rightly so. It's like discovering your trustworthy old car is really a ticking time bomb.
What we know so far
The government is investigating the use of RAAC in state-owned buildings due to collapse concerns.
RAAC is less durable than traditional concrete and "life-expired".
RAAC scrutiny increased after a 2018 Kent school roof collapse.
The DfE is urging schools to develop emergency evacuation plans for RAAC buildings.
The DfE has been working with schools since 2018 on RAAC risks and guidance.
Schools must have contingencies for all RAAC areas, even non-critical.
Schools with suspected RAAC have been forced to close due to crumbling concrete ceilings.
A scheme to fix 500 high-risk school buildings has been delayed.
The concrete reality
As mentioned, since 2018, the DfE has been actively highlighting the importance of emergency evacuation plans. Additionally, they have been engaging in ongoing discussions with schools and responsible organizations regarding the potential risks associated with RAAC.
A DfE spokesperson said “The safety of pupils and teachers is our utmost priority. We have been engaging with schools and responsible bodies about the potential risks of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) since 2018 and subsequently published guidance on identifying and managing it.”
But the narrative shouldn’t just be about crumbling buildings; it's also about the communication that connects the dots. There are documents, ones that mention “serious concerns about the integrity of RAAC panels" which essentially circles back to the safety of pupils and teachers.
In the midst of the overwhelming amount of paperwork, advisories, and memos — emails are constantly being exchanged, making it all too easy for important details to get lost in the chaos.
What can be done to minimize the risk of loss of critical information?
You might think managing emails shouldn’t be up there with emergency exits and fire drills. But you’d be wrong. Because when we talk about safety, we're also talking about the emails that zip through the ether, carrying with them terms like “high risk” and “immediate action required.”
And, while it may seem like a stretch to discuss email management in the same breath as building safety or the safety of a person, anyone involved in organizational correspondence will tell you, email is often where critical decisions are made or, tragically, overlooked.
It's all there in the concrete
Ideagen Mail Manager is an email management solution designed to make sense of chaos. Emails get archived, categorized, and made searchable so a school official can easily pull up all correspondence related to RAAC—keeping essential safety details at their fingertips. No sifting through heaps of irrelevant emails.
The role of email management in accountability amid contractual delays
The National Audit Office reported in June about contractor reluctance due to inflationary pressures. Only 24 contracts were awarded by March 2023, when they were aiming for 83. It should be noted that all these delays, all these budget talks, they float through emails too. And with implementing an email management solution, we're not just tracking delays; we're creating a paper trail—a digital one that can answer questions when the inevitable finger-pointing starts.
The walls have lessons
Buildings, like people, show their age and wear. They signal when they're no longer up to the task, they tell us when they are tired, when they can't bear the weight any longer. While not all of us are trained to understand these signals from the infrastructure around us, we are capable of keeping track of the conversations we have about them.
So, when discussing safety, it might be tempting to focus solely on the tangible—concrete, roofs, and walls. But it’s the intangible elements like clear, searchable communication that often make the difference between precaution and peril. Because every detail matters, even those hidden in the depths of an inbox.
Ideagen Mail Manager serves as a safety net for those details that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Don't let important details get lost in your inbox
Download your free trial today and see for yourself how Ideagen Mail Manager can help you improve email management for your organization and ensure that all email correspondence is organized and searchable.