Following the successful delivery of numerous past contracts for Ashford School, Baxall were selected to undertake this BREEAM assessed, multi-phase development. Each phase ran concurrently as a means to create efficiencies and minimise disruption to the school, which remained fully operational throughout the works.
The first phase encompassed the transformation of the existing cricket pitch at the school entrance into a new car park and entrance road. Phase two involved the construction of the main classroom block, kitchen area and hard and soft landscaping whilst the final phase created the new steel framed auditorium and front entrance.
Sustainability was a major requisite of the development and the Baxall team excelled at meeting the BREEAM standards. Key initiatives and innovations included wind catchers, high-specification roof insulation, renewable energy wind turbines, sensor lighting and underfloor heating. Operational endeavours included the monitoring of CO2 emissions and waste (via a Site Waste Management Plan), car sharing, ecological assessments, environmental toolbox talks, major leak detection and the voluntary creation of a secret garden, ponds, swamps and wildlife areas. Baxall worked in consultation with Remade South East, a not-for-profit organisation which helps to divert waste away from landfill into new products and end-uses via re-use and recycling schemes.
Managing the three phases simultaneously in the live school environment necessitated exceptional health and safety controls and client relations. In addition to hoardings and signage, a traffic management plan was agreed with the school staff for deliveries and access during allocated time slots; those arriving outside of these times were fined £100 for donation to the school fund. A barrier crossing system was created on the school grounds to separate pedestrian and traffic flow and the use of cranes for major lifts was rescheduled to half term or summer break periods.
The Contract and Site Manager developed excellent and collaborative working relations with the school liaising daily on progress and volunteering support outside of their contracted remit. This included conducting site tours for prospective students and their parents during the school ‘open day' weekend. Student interest and interaction was welcomed and encouraged via a number of means including the provision of webcams to enable observation of progress on the school website. The Contract Manager led science classes where he taught about the density of materials, how to lay bricks and make concrete in addition to hosting safety assemblies and safety poster competitions.
The contract was successfully delivered to the delight of the school, achieving the Considerate Constructor 'Performance Beyond Compliance' award and an expected BREEAM rating of 'Excellent'.
Great Chart, Ashford, Kent
The United Church Schools Trust
Colin Toms & Partners