Design and build of 2No. SEN Classroom extension to existing main school building, including breakthrough works, formation of corridor linkway and store provision.
About the School:
Moorcroft School, located in Uxbridge is a special school and is part of the Eden Academy Trust, one of the UK’s largest special multi-academy trusts. It is a secondary school for students aged between 11 and 19 years with severe learning difficulties (SLD), profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). Some of the pupils may also have additional sensory or physical impairments or challenging behaviour.
About the project:
Due to a proposed increase in PAN (Pupil Admission Numbers), Moorcroft School was identified by the local authority to expand its facilities by a further 2No. SEN classrooms to accommodate the proposed increase is pupil numbers.
Eden Academy trust appointed RAM Building Consultancy to design the extension, and manage the tender process and contract.
R1 Construction were invited to tender for the scheme as a full JCT Design and Build, and we successfully secured the scheme following the competitive tender process.
Following the initial tender process, all the returned tenders came in above the client’s available budget. R1 Construction secured the scheme during the initial tender, and we then worked closely with RAM Building Consultancy to help value engineer the scheme.
The majority of cost savings were achieved by changing the proposed construction method from a traditional brick and block construction, to a SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel System) for the main buildings superstructure.
Adopting a SIPS approach for this particular project enabled the building superstructure to be erected in an incredibly short space of time, achieving a watertight envelope within a week.
By having the building watertight so quickly, enables internal and external trades to work in parallel which is otherwise unachievable, and this means that the overall construction programme can be significantly reduced (from 24 weeks to 14 weeks on site).
Despite the change in construction method, no compromise was made on both internal or external finishes. The exterior of the building was finishing in a conventional full brick cladding to match the existing building, with a full built-up felt roof system and aluminium windows and doors.
Internally the building if finished in a full plaster skim throughout, suspended ceilings, vinyl flooring and a hoist system to each classroom.
Access, Site Considerations and Minimising Disruption
The proposed construction area is situated at the back of the main school, with limited access. This coupled with the fact that the extension is constructed off two existing classrooms that would be in occupation throughout the duration of the construction works cause real concern to the staff at the school due to the high levels of disruption generally incurred as a result of close-proximity construction works.
R1 Construction only work within the education sector, and fully understand how critical it is to mitigate the disruptive impact of our schemes within and around live school environments.
Adopting the SIPS approach over a conventional brick and block construction was a major factor in helping reduce the overall disruptive impact to the school, as the overall construction programme was significantly reduced. It also meant that less deliveries and traffic movements would be required on site to complete the buildings
As the school is an SEN Environments, we also needed to help minimise both visual and audible disruption. The school requested that we cover any windows from the main school building that overlooked the construction area, and we also introduced solid hoarding to screen off the build area from the adjacent playground.
To help reduce audible disruption, following a health and safety risk assessment and employing a dedicated banksman, R1 Construction were able to switch off the reversing sounders and flashing beacons from the plant and machinery.
The access to the construction area required traversing across the school playground, so to prevent this happening during school operating hours, all day works were pre-planned, to ensure all materials required for the following days works were moved to the construction compound after the end of the previous school day. We also agreed a temporary delivery point at the front of the school to enable deliveries to take place during the school day, but prevent any disruptive impact to the school. These deliveries were then moved out of school hours to the relevant location.
The overall project was completed successfully in December 2020 within budget, and the school were extremely pleased with how well R1 Construction managed the works from breaking ground to practical completion, and in particular how little disruptive impact of the works had on the daily school operation and pupils.
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