University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

RAAC Replacement Finishes in Bramber House, Continues Elsewhere

Osian Ahir

ByOsian Ahir

May 13, 2024

Following governmental warnings against the use of the building material Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) last year, the University of Sussex has been replacing identified areas of the dangerous material in buildings on campus. Work to replace RAAC ceiling panels in the stairwells of Bramber House was completed over the Easter break. 

RAAC is a building material that was popularised between the 1960s and 1980s as a cheap alternative to concrete, as its air bubbles allow for faster installation and better insulation. As the Falmer campus was developed throughout the 1960s, RAAC was used in some of the University’s oldest buildings. 

In 2018, the ceiling of a primary school in Kent collapsed. The discovery that it had been built with RAAC sparked increasing safety concerns about its widespread use in public buildings. At least three buildings of the University of Sussex have since been found to contain RAAC – Arts A, Arundel and Falmer House – resulting in closures in these areas. 

In September 2023, Sussex’s Director of Estates Robert Hutton announced the expansion of existing investigations into seven buildings on campus containing RAAC. He explained: “the University is planning each building’s RAAC replacement alongside other planned improvement works, so that we not only remove the RAAC, but we also enhance the working and study spaces on campus.” 

The RAAC discovered in Bramber House stairwells has now been fully removed, with the scaffolding up since 2023. Rooms affected in the Chichester and JMS buildings were closed at the end of Autumn term for further surveys and safety measures, but have since reopened.  

Other buildings affected are Arts A, Arundel, and Falmer House where affected rooms – including the Students’ Union Mandela Hall – remain closed but are monitored regularly.

Work on Falmer House is expected to start over Summer, allowing Mandela Hall to reopen soon and the Students’ Union spaces to run as usual once more. Plans for Arts A and Arundel are yet to be announced. 

If you work or study in any of the affected buildings, stay updated through the University’s dedicated RAAC webpage, at .

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