Penn Nursery

About the project:

About the Nursery

Penn Kids Nursery established in 1997, and is one of Wolverhampton’s highest regarded Children’s nurseries. The nursery opens for 51 weeks of the year offering childcare and teaching provision for children from the ages of 6 weeks to 11 years. The nursery prides itself on offering excellent education provision and is Ofsted Good.

Project Brief

In 2017 Penn Kids Nursery were identified by the local authority for expansion to increase their intake. A £500,000 grant was made available to the nursery by the local authority to achieve this, as part of a plan to provide parents with an opportunity to return to work, and grants were made available to the parents for their children to attend the nursery.

The local authority developed this project to RIBA Stage 4, and obtained the relevant planning permissions pre-tender. The project plan was to demolish a portion of the existing building which contained the existing kitchen and a coach house, and construct a two storey traditional build extension to the existing two-storey nursery building. The new extension would increase provision by offering additional classroom space, new toilet facilities, a quiet room and a new staff room.

Project Design

The RIBA stage 4 detailed construction designs were undertaken by the appointed architects, and the scheme consisted of some challenging architectural features. Due to limited outdoor space available, is was important that the reduction in outdoor space was minimised, and a portion of the project was constructed on stilts creating a covered play area below, with a first floor meeting room.

Construction Phase | Minimising Disruption

The project was designed and constructed using conventional building materials and a traditional construction approach. The new build element was an extension to the existing building and needed to tie into the structure seamlessly, particularly at roof level where multiple pitches interfaced.

The project required completion by July 1st 2018, and following successful appointment after a competitive tender process, Refurb 1 broke ground on the project in January 2018. During the construction phase, the existing portion of the nursery needed to maintain full operation. Our extensive experience in working on education sector projects ensured that all safeguarding measures were put in place, and stringent project management procedures enforced to maximise the safety of, and minimise disruption to, the staff and children.

Refurb 1 undertook the construction of the project in its entirety, from breaking ground to practical completion.  Throughout the construction phase a number of challenges were met which, if not managed correctly, could have cause significant delays to the project programme.

Whilst excavating the foundations for the two storey extension, we uncovered  a number of catchpits and several redundant manholes. There was also an existing WW2 shelter that we uncovered. Through consultation with the architect, client and the local authority a construction plan was put into places to overcome these obstacles through our structural design and although they caused an initial delay, the overall programme was not impacted.

During the construction phase, Britain became victim to ‘the beast from the east’ and this resulted in all works having to cease on site due to adverse weather and excessive snow build up on site creating health and safety risks. Again this posed a delay to the construction programme but by increasing labour on the remainder of the project, we were able to mitigate the impact on the programme.

Project Completion

As we approached the completion stage of the project, we undertook the external landscaping works to the scheme. These included both hard and soft landscaping around the building perimeter, but also formation of a new tarmac car parking area.

Despite the numerous challenges faced, Refurb 1 successfully completed the project within a 24 week construction programme, actually delivering the project slightly ahead of schedule and below the client’s allocated budget.