Edinburgh library closed after 'dangerous' crumbling concrete found in building

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The library is closed temporarily from Thursday for an inspection to be carried out.

A city library has closed after potentially dangerous concrete was uncovered during a survey of the building.

Blackhall Library will be closed temporarily from Thursday September 14 while detailed surveys are carried out. An inspection will be conducted by contractors to establish what remedial work could be required.

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The council has apologised for inconvenience and said it is contacting library users to advise of the closure while “actively looking” at where activities can be moved to in the local community.

Blackhall library closed temporarily while inspection carried outBlackhall library closed temporarily while inspection carried out
Blackhall library closed temporarily while inspection carried out

The discovery of RAAC in buildings in Edinburgh and across the UK has led to several schools and other public buildings in Edinburgh and across the country being closed over safety fears.

Council leader Cammy Day said: “An initial survey of Blackhall Library has unfortunately identified the presence of RAAC, so we’ve taken the decision to temporarily close the building while we carry out more detailed inspections.

“We’re contacting users to let them know and are actively looking at where we can relocate activities in the local community.

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“I know people will be disappointed about the temporary closure but it’s the right step to take until we know the extent of the issue and what remedial work may be needed.

“Dealing with the impact of RAAC comes at a significant, and growing, cost and I’ve written to both the UK and Scottish Government this week seeking assurances that this will be fully funded. We’ll continue to publish updates on our website here.”

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a lightweight construction material that was used in the construction of some public buildings between the 1950s and 1990s.

The concrete can be susceptible to failure when exposed to moisture and as a result the UK government has issued guidance to organisations across the UK to carry out building checks where RAAC may have been used.

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Surveys and remedial work has been carried out by the council since March this year with eight schools identified as having RAAC.

All the schools have remained open but measures including temporary classroom blocks and replacing roofs come at a significant financial cost, the council said.

A programme of surveys is now being extended to cover other council properties.

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