Update on RAAC at St Catherine’s College

On 8 September St Catherine’s College restricted access to a number of areas within the College due to the presence of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in the College’s roof structures, principally the original Arne Jacobsen site. This included the Kitchen, Dining Hall, JCR, SCR, Administration Block, Wolfson Library, the Bernard Sunley Building and the top floor of the Accommodation Blocks Staircases 1 to 16. This step was taken as a precautionary measure. The College engaged independent consultants to undertake appropriate risk assessments of the affected areas, which confirmed the presence of RAAC, and advised that remedial measures would need to be undertaken for the spaces to be re-occupied.

Appropriate measures have now been undertaken to the student accommodation blocks, allowing the student rooms to come back into full operation, with all students accommodated in College within three weeks of the start of term. Over the course of the term the College has been considering actions for the remaining affected spaces, which might include remediation of the spaces or a replacement of the roof structures. A professional team has been engaged to consider these options for the College, with design work currently ongoing, and an expectation that a plan of action for the College, including timetable, will be finalised early in the New Year.

Despite these constraints the College continues to operate as normally as possible, with many spaces in the College, including all of the newer buildings and the Mary Sunley Building, remaining open as normal. Temporary structures have been installed to allow operation of a Dining Hall and Kitchen, as well as to accommodate the JCR Bar. It is anticipated that these structures will remain in place until September 2024 whilst work to remediate or replace the RAAC roof structures is being undertaken. In addition, a state-of-the-art temporary conference facility, including lecture theatre, will be installed, to provide alternate space to the Bernard Sunley Building.

Further details about the program of works will be made available on the College’s website once they are confirmed by the Governing Body.