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Trafalgar School

This was a live school environment, undertaking a section 5 OFSTED inspection at the time, so the programme included a large percentage of out-of-hours and weekend working as well as lot of communication to ensure the least disruption to the school.

Value £1,960,000
Completed December 2018
Location Hampshire

The Trafalgar School, a circa 1,000 pupil secondary upgrade, remodel and refurbishment works covered three very different types of projects, running in sequence as variations of one larger contract.

The first project in this contract was the £930,000 complete removal and replacement of the entire heating system including new pipework, boilers, controls, heat emitters, valves, pumps, flues and boxings. Associated asbestos removal, replacement ceilings, decorations, floor coverings, general builders work and fire protection to six zones across the school were also included.

The £667,000 roofing package was negotiated during the heating works to run as a separate yet concurrent project within an overall contract period of 30 weeks and required the removal and reroofing of pitched and flat roofs across the campus. Working above occupied classrooms was not permitted, a significant portion of the works was therefore carried out during the summer holidays, the remainder necessitated close co-ordination of the school timetable and the concurrent heating replacement scheme.  The roofing package required a substantial amount of scaffolding to be erected within a courtyard area that was inaccessible to vehicle traffic. To mitigate disruption and reduce risk to pupils and staff a contract crane lift was carried out over a weekend prior to the summer break to lift all scaffold required for the total project into the courtyard space and secure it. This changed the sequence of works but meant there was no impact to overall programme or cost and eliminated risks associated with oversailing the school.

A significant challenge was to bridge over the existing music block and fragile roof to erect scaffolds to access higher areas. To reduce costs, we proposed our scaffolding contractor design a series of support towers penetrating down through some lower area roof windows, these were bunded at the base and weathered in at roof level to protect rooms below. This solution saved time and cost as the only other option was to build the scaffold over the entire building which is a very expensive option. This was all done in one day at the start of the summer holiday and was taken down the week before the new term started to make good prior to the students return.

Another specified element was to replace an aluminium pitched roof over a corridor joining two classroom buildings together. The design for the new roof followed the aesthetic of the old one, but having looked at the implementation of this solution the site team redesigned the solution to provide a single ply flat roof with roof lights this saved the client money, was less disruptive in the installation and quicker to complete – meaning that the programme for this element was completed in the summer holidays and did not run into term-time. There was the added benefit of improved insulation thus controlling temperature variations in the area. This was constructed wholly within the summer break avoiding expensive temporary works and disruption.

We were further instructed during the contract period to install a passenger lift valued at £130,000 in the core of the main school building. This required extensive secure hoardings and strict working boundaries. It was agreed during this phase of the works to use some internal areas for storage instead of external space to maintain ease of access to the client site. The lift works improved the whole school experience as now the higher floors were accessible to all, allowing the intake of students to increase.

Works commenced the first day of summer break, however it was soon discovered that the foundation design could not be implemented, the ground conditions were reassessed by the use of trial pits and the foundations were redesigned. The masonry shaft and diamond cutting through 3 upper floors as well as the new foundation design were all completed during the 6-week summer break ready for the lift car installation to commence out of hours when the school returned.

The school had an open evening on the 23rd of September which was a very important showcase for the client. The main entrance, where all the guests would enter, was the area that the lift was being installed at that time. The site team tidied the site and secured the lift so that the building works could be covered up and the lift looked like it was completed. Whilst this effort didn’t have to be done, we listened to the client and wanted to make sure we were supporting their vision.

The critical success factor of this project was that we minimised disruption to the day-to-day running of the school. This was a live school environment so the programme included a large percentage of out-of-hours and weekend working, particularly for work in the common areas and above classrooms, both of which could not happen when occupied.

“Completing these projects in a live school (and during a Section 5 OFSTED inspection!) was always going to be a significant challenge, but they have carried out the works with the upmost professionalism and integrity. I have been really impressed with their work and working with Martin particularly, who has proved key to the success of the projects and has been a real pleasure”. Claire Copeland, Headteacher

They have carried out the works with the upmost professionalism and integrity
Claire Copeland, Headteacher