Caledonian’s bespoke schools in North West meet EFA standard

Working as a principal supplier to Carillion, Caledonian is in the final stages of handing over a batch of four primary schools as part of the North West Primary Schools Building Programme (NWPSB). Each school needed to meet a very different set of criteria.

Caledonian’s approach is to offer flexibility of school design, economies of scale, energy efficiency and occupier comfort while conforming to the Education Funding Agency’s Facilities Output Specification (FOS).

St James’s Church of England Junior School at Barrow in Furness is surrounded by very busy main roads on three sides so good acoustic properties were imperative. One of the top 100 performing schools from 2012 to 2014, their new facility is a 1,100 m2 single storey building with construction taking place only two metres from a fully occupied school.

Highfield Community Primary School in Chester is also a 1,100 m2 building but with the addition of a mono-pitched roof to permit natural lighting and ventilation into the building. Headteacher Nicky Dowling said; “Highfield was involved in our new school’s design right from the start. We achieved the very best building possible through early engagement with Caledonian.”

Holden Clough Community Primary School at Ashton-Under-Lyne is a 2,200 m2 two storey building on a very restricted site. Caledonian worked with the school personnel to design a building where the classrooms for younger pupils face onto a wooded area to facilitate opportunities for play and education in a natural environment.

The fourth scheme is Silver Springs Academy in Stalybridge, Manchester which is another 2,200 m2 two storey building.

As part of Caledonian’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, the company invited school staff, governors and pupils to visit their factory in Newark, Nottinghamshire, to walk through the each of the new schools during the construction process. Each building was laid out in ‘as built’ configuration before being transported to site.

Caledonian has also reduced mechanical and electrical costs at each school by specifying modern phase changing materials in the design to provide thermal mass. While these innovative materials do not physically melt, they absorb heat created by occupancy which is then gradually released back into the building during periods of lower temperatures so it can be dissipated through natural ventilation. The use of rooflights has also been optimised to deliver good natural day light without the glare factor.

Delivering bespoke layout to a good educational standard design can best be achieved through engagement with independent architects at the very earliest stage. The whole project has been benchmarked as an example of best practice for other local authorities.

Caledonian says that the biggest challenge is getting people to understand just how superior their buildings are! So they were delighted when Caledonian won Education Project of the Year in the Builder & Engineer Awards 2014 for the complete secondary school built for Farnborough College in Nottingham.

Caledonian’s success is due to its ability to mitigate risks associated with traditional onsite methods by delivering project certainty and predictability on both time and budget. It can manufacture 80 modules per week to an equivalent building area of 2000m2 from 600,000ft2 of manufacturing facilities.

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