Rapidly shifting demographics, with the burgeoning demand for school places, is a familiar twenty-first century issue, and planning for the likelihood of increased capacity is a continual priority for educational authorities across the country.
Such a situation faced St Mark’s CE Primary School when the local education authority, in conjunction with the Diocesan Board for Schools and the governors, identified that additional Early Years school places were required in the locality to meet the needs of the pre-nursery age intake and the expanding child population.
Neville Brown, Building Surveyor and Project Manager for the scheme chose modular construction, recognising the advantages of offsite construction techniques. A modular approach offered rapid build processes, minimising disruption to the school and community.
“One of the main criteria was to supply an energy-efficient building with a low carbon footprint. We were looking for a building with low running costs and recognised the reduced CO2 emissions when using off site construction methods due to factory methods of construction.”
At concept stage, MPH worked from initial client sketches to produce detailed layout drawings, elevations and 3D models to assist the project Architect with the Planning application. The 3D design was used to provide the school, pupils and community with a vision of the proposed facility.
“MPH Building Systems were appointed at the early stages of the contract and developed the employers’ requirements to complete the detailed design. I found them a very competent contractor at all levels in the process including customer care post-handover.”
The school’s aspiration was for children from 2-11 to be educated in a mainstream setting with the development of high quality Early Years provision. Three modular classrooms were needed to accommodate the new Foundation Stage Unit. These would be the home for a nursery group, reception year class and associated teaching, support and administrative spaces, together with new toilet facilities.
Before this could be achieved, however, the site had to be surveyed and prepared, with demolition of the existing Mitford Centre undertaken. Building harmonious relationships with key internal and external stakeholders was vital and MPH liaised with utility providers to oversee the decommissioning of existing services plus specialist asbestos removal contractors.
Following site demolition, MPH carried out detailed ground investigations and developed designs for foundations, drainage and services in preparation for delivery of the new prefabricated building. A landscaping package was also provided including soft play, fencing, tarmac playgrounds and a timber canopy for covered play areas.
MPH were appointed in a full turnkey design-and-build package, including demolition of the existing school building, with an extensive project brief:
- Full design package including Planning drawings and 3D CAD models
- Forming temporary site access, including temporary crossovers by London Highways
- Erection of site perimeter fencing
- Co-ordinating utilities for gas and electric diversions and disconnections
- Tree-protection measures to the full site, with supervised digs to protect roots
- Demolition of previous, outmoded structures
- Design and installation of foundations plus drainage soakaways
- Full landscaping scheme plus external canopy installation
- Air source heat pumps with custom-made enclosures to complement elevations
- Full internal decoration scheme
- Bespoke vanity and base units installed in teaching spaces
The new-look school building provided pupils with a fresh, modern environment which studies have proved is conducive to enhanced learning outcomes, and once again proved that MPH are top of the class in the education sector!