National frameworks provide solutions to address the RAAC crisis!
With 104 schools identified as having the problem at an expected cost of £150m, the RAAC crisis needs to be addressed with urgency. But how can we resolve this challenge at scale and with speed, to avoid putting pupil safety at any further risk?
Jennifer Castle, Chief Operating Officer at LHC Procurement Group (LHC), discusses how LHC is ready to support the public sector.
Q. How can national frameworks support local authorities in navigating this crisis?
Jennifer: This is exactly where national frameworks are so crucial and add real value. They bring together education authorities and tradespeople to facilitate the speediest and most efficient way of carrying out repairs and taking other actions; for instance, temporary classrooms can be provided in as little as two weeks. Given the urgency and scale of the crisis and with pupil safety at risk, frameworks are the only way to meet this challenge at scale and with haste.
She further adds, “To put that into context, our refurbishment of schools framework has been accessed by 98 organisations to deliver 192 education projects over the last 12 years, spending £633.5m. Industry capacity is going to be an issue, so time is of the essence.”
Q. How quickly can work be delivered via a framework?
Jennifer: Frameworks allow for a direct award which significantly shortens the selection process. Once registered with LHC, we can get companies from an initial expression of interest through to an appointment within a month. It would mean that contractors could be on site starting repair works within weeks. However, with the scale of the issue, Industry capacity is going to be an issue, so time is of the essence.
Q. Which LHC frameworks available today can offer solutions?
Jennifer: We have a wealth of experience and expertise within the group through the Centre of Technical Excellence and our regional teams delivering highly effective solutions, for example, our refurbishment of the school’s framework has been accessed by 98 organisations to deliver 192 education projects over the last 12 years, spending £633.5m.
She adds, “The following frameworks are immediately available and can be used to address the RAAC issue today:
- PB3: Public Buildings Refurbishment including structural engineering which is available up until the 30th September 2025
- MB2: Modular Building Temporary Classroom Hire Workstream which is available up until the 9th May 2025
- CS1: Consultants including specialist Structural Engineering Consultants which is available up until the 25th April 2027
Q. How ready would LHC be if you were faced with a sudden high demand for support?
Jennifer: This is not a problem. In fact, we initiated an action plan within 24 hours to make our solutions and teams available to act as soon as support was sought. We are able to do this because we are the only national framework provider with dedicated regional hubs offering sales and support services across England, Scotland, and Wales through our five business units.