Secured under the Sussex Cluster Framework on behalf of East Sussex County Council, Baxall have completed the impressive design and build two storey extension project expanding the school capacity from 1FE to 2FE. With a limited budget and restricted programme, the team identified a number of efficiencies which could be achieved through value engineering (incorporating innovation into the scheme) to better achieve the client’s objectives. Baxall were appointed early (end of RIBA Stage 2) which presented the perfect opportunity for the team, design and supply chain to directly engage with ESCC and the school to collaboratively explore and develop these innovative solutions.
The original extension was to be added to the back of the school. Logistically, this would have created significant disruption and safety concerns for the school and stakeholders as the site and access were extremely restricted. A collaborative re-design exercise using BIM realised a solution of 2 separate extensions at opposite ends of the school which would significantly reduce risk and disruption and generate budget savings of £50,000.
BIM was employed from the outset as a tried and tested tool to share design information with all parties in a Common Data Environment (CDE). This collaborative approach enabled the school to be designed and built (with direct input from the school) to meet their requirements. The design used a fully federated model which included each discipline: architect, structural and M&E. BIM was instrumental in achieving far more efficient delivery with some works areas handed over 6 weeks early. In parallel, an MMC approach (STREIF off-site closed panel timber frame solution) compressed the build process down from an estimated 45 weeks (traditional) to 30 weeks on site. Combining BIM with MMC provided a perfect design and flexible solution resulting in a far shorter construction period with reduced error on site and a high quality build at all stages.
The STREIF system created numerous time and cost savings as certain elements could be pre-installed in the factory. Examples included electrical containment within the walls ahead of wiring on site and built in underfloor heating manifolds into the walls thus using less footprint space. Efficiencies were also realised through spray plastering and reducing water content added during the construction process.
The project was a perfect opportunity for virtual reality. 3D goggles enabled ESCC and school staff to visualise the finished build, make choices and identify concerns or possible defects from an operational perspective. Architect Miller Bourne further produced 3D instructional videos showing the layering of flashings and cladding at the complex junctions between the new and existing buildings; this was a valuable tool in identifying and rectifying conflicts.
The Baxall Site Manager carried out site demonstrations, tours and competitions for the children including entry into the Considerate Constructors Scheme Ivor Goodsite Hoarding Competition (Runners Up). As an exemplar project of innovation in practice, the operational site was used to host a CPD training event to the supply chain and industry peers demonstrating BIM and MMC in practice and has been featured as a key case study https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HBx2oMygd4