21 April
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The area closures are expected to be in place until Spring 2022 and result in approximately £1million of repairs, which the Council Executive has approved.

A structural engineer has recently assessed the condition of the roof structure at Whitburn Community Centre as part of a planned programme of surveys of council assets to assess the condition of roof decks constructed with this material. The issue stems from a material called Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) - commonly used in buildings built in the 1960s to 1980s and used in parts of Whitburn Community Centre building.

The structural engineer has concluded that the RAAC roof planks in the Sports Hall area represent a risk of failure. They have recommended that, as the roof planks are at the end of their useful life, they should be replaced. They have also recommended that works are done on a concrete beam at ground floor level.

As a consequence, no activity can take place in the games hall, changing rooms and first floor meeting rooms.

No visible signs of distress were found in the RAAC roof planks in all other areas inspected and these areas will remain open or will reopen once COVId-19 restrictions allow.

Council officers have met with Whitburn Community Education Association's management committee.

Donald Forrest, Head of West Lothian Council's Head of Finance and Property Services said: "The council will remove and replace one existing RAAC roof deck at the games hall and first floor meeting rooms, and repair a concrete beam at a cost of just over £1 million.

"There are a number of risks and unknowns that could affect the programme so we are not be able to provide exact timescales, at this stage. However, we are basing our estimated timescales on appointing a contractor to commence late summer/early Autumn and to carry out a large proportion of the works before the full onset of winter. Works are expected to last approximately six months and the target date for completion currently is March 2022.

"Clearly this isn't something anyone wanted to happen but the safety of building users is paramount.

"This will have a major impact on the activities that took place in the restricted areas for a prolonged period of time. Officers will assess the activities that under normal circumstances (pre-pandemic) would occur in the relevant areas and, in collaboration with the Education Association, work to identify alternative locations to enable these activities to continue wherever possible.

"The management committee will be kept informed of the progress of works throughout their implementation. Impacted user groups will be contacted as soon as possible with the offer of potential alternative locations, in adherence to any pandemic restrictions in place."