Awarded under the Sussex Cluster Framework, this project encompassed the design and build of 4 new extensions to the existing Infants and Junior School buildings. A logistically challenging project, the works included the creation of 11 new classrooms within the new build in addition to 5 new toilet blocks, a new entrance and office facilities for the Junior School. In parallel to these works, the team carried out major alteration and refurbishment works to half of the Infant School; effectively the team were working within 5 different areas of the occupied schools at any one time. Externally, the works package included the construction of new playground areas, provision of 5 independent canopies (to provide covered play areas for the children and waiting areas for parents) in addition to extensive hard and soft landscaping.
The original project budget was significantly in excess of the project specification. Through collaborative Value Engineering Workshops, a solution was realised using ‘modern methods of construction’, specifically an off-site fabricated approach as opposed to a traditional build on site. The proposed system would generate significant cost and time savings for the school and deliver a more sustainable and energy-efficient school building. Coupled with additional efficiencies, the budget was reduced by approximately £650,000 with programme savings of 8 weeks.
As the works were to be carried out simultaneously within 5 separate locations across the school premises, close liaison with the school was essential to ensure that safety was maximised at all times. From the outset, Senior Site Manager Graham Tuthill proactively liaised with both school Business Managers and the Headteacher to plan operational and safety strategies that worked both for the school and Baxall. Graham maintained daily contact in addition to formal weekly meetings (which included student representation from the School Council) to continually review this process and adapt as necessary, for example, altering access routes and relocating children to alternative classrooms.
Understanding and appreciating the curiosities of the children, Graham engaged with the pupils at an early stage to promote safety regarding the dangers of building sites in a fun, informal manner through assemblies, site tours/ demonstrations, prize-winning competitions and entry into the national Considerate Constructors Ivor Goodsite competition (the children were Runners Up). Graham and the team further initiated talks and presentations, provided support to class projects and voluntarily created a fenced ’building site’ for the infants including high-vis jackets and hard hats.
Despite the major logistical challenges of delivery, the project ran smoothly and to the continued delight of the Headteacher, Business Managers and school staff of both schools. Monitored under the Considerate Constructors Scheme, Graham and the team scored an exceptional 41/50 points and were duly certified Performance Beyond Compliance.