A comprehensive replacement of the roof at a significant Cardiff concert venue is imperative following an inspection that revealed potential structural hazards in the concrete panels of the ceiling.
St. David’s Hall is expected to remain closed for an additional 18 months to facilitate the installation of the new roof.
The initial closure took place in September, lasting for four weeks, to conduct an investigation into suspected issues with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
The goal is to reopen the venue in time for the Cardiff Singer of the World event in July 2025. According to experts who have been conducting assessments on the facility, a number of roof panels are classified as “red-critical,” while others are deemed “red-high risk.”
RAAC, or reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, is a lightweight concrete variant that becomes increasingly susceptible to sudden structural failures as it ages and possesses a restricted lifespan.
The prominent venue management company, Academy Music Group (AMG), has informed the council of its unwavering commitment to invest in the hall. AMG has expressed its intent to move forward with a transaction that would entail assuming responsibility for the operation of the facility, as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
A Cardiff council spokesperson added: “We know this will cause a lot of inconvenience and disappointment for our customers, but we hope they will understand that the safety of audiences, staff, artists, volunteers, and everyone at the venue is paramount.
“We will be in contact with promoters and hirers to discuss the potential for moving performances to other venues.”
While AMG has affirmed its commitment to taking over the management of the hall, the company has requested that the council consider a conditional lease arrangement for a specified period. This would entail AMG assuming full responsibility for running the venue only after obtaining planning approval and listed building consent for the necessary renovation work.
In this scenario, AMG would cover the costs associated with roof replacement and refurbishment. By relieving the council of the hall’s operation, potential savings of up to £1 million could be realized, particularly crucial as the council is currently grappling with a budget deficit of £24 million.
The Unison union, representing the venue’s staff, disclosed that during a recent meeting with the council, they were informed that there would be no immediate job losses resulting from the investigations into the RAAC issues in the building.