A new technical service has been launched that could detect crumbling concrete in crisis-hit public buildings and make them safe for use.
Engineering and demolition contractor Keltbray has written to the government offering its specialist testing service in response to fears posed by historic use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in schools, hospitals and other public facilities.
It has also made its expertise available to the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which is establishing a technical expert panel to assess risk levels for the government and support the design and delivery of future RAAC remediation programmes.
“[We have] written to the CLC and government directly offering our technical testing services to support the RAAC crisis, outlining the detailed analysis and monitoring process we would use to quickly and effectively identify and remediate the issue,” a Keltbray spokesperson said.
The new Wentworth House Technical Services (WHTS) team, which sits within the company’s design engineering consultancy, will test and analyse the integrity of materials in existing steel and concrete structures to allow their lifespan to safely be extended.
Among the technical services it offers are surveys and investigations, materials-sampling and structural testing, design support, monitoring of structures, and structural strengthening and protection.
Keltbray said it had launched the service in response to growing demand for a more sustainable approach to the safe reuse of buildings.
Currently, such projects are often dogged by incomplete or imperfect structural data due to buildings being modified and information lost during the course of their lifetimes.
Keltbray’s director of strategic engineering Tim Lohmann said there had been a noticeable shift away from “demolish and build” towards the remodelling and repurposing of existing assets at the end of life.
“WHTS represents a step change in our technical capabilities, enabling our clients to extend the life or reuse existing buildings and structures, which would otherwise be destined for demolition,” he said.
“These specialist services provide an integrated offering that can deliver an incremental development as the investigations and design develop, an integrated end-to-end transformation, and bespoke technical solutions to structural crisis situations.”