About the School
Gordon’s School is one of the UK’s leading state boarding schools. The school itself, located in Woking, is situated within 50 acres of stunning grounds populated with multiple Grade 2 listed buildings that provide some of the most inspiring learning environments in the country.
Due to popularity and oversubscription the school had a need to expand its teaching facilities to allow for a larger pupil intake from the beginning of the 2018/2019 autumn term.
Because Refurb 1 specialise solely in delivering education sector construction projects, we were selected to deliver a turn-key project in collaboration with both the school and the project managers, Darwin Group Ltd. The concept idea was to build a new, standalone 6 classroom general purpose teaching building.
As part of our design and development stage, we looked at several areas of the existing school grounds and assessed the feasibility of building the new classroom block at various locations across the site.
On one portion of the school grounds, there was an existing dilapidated classroom block, and it was eventually agreed that the most suitable option would be to demolish this existing building, and construct a new, modern and permanent structure on the same footprint. The new building would be 2-storey in nature, and have an external conventional brick finish matching the aesthetics of the surrounding buildings.
Programme | Design
The project needed to be completed within a finite period (14 weeks) in time for the Autumn Term intake, so the option to proceed with an offsite approach for the building superstructure was agreed. From this point, our design team then prepared detailed pre-construction drawings, including photo-realistic 3D images to provide an accurate visual representation of what the completed building would look like in situ.
The final agreed scheme consisted of 18 individual ‘modules’ that would be pre-fabricated offsite. Once delivered to site, these modules would be connected to quickly form a water-tight superstructure in just three days. The completed building would consist of 6 classrooms, stores and circulation space.
Construction Phase | Minimising Disruption
Works began on site in June 2018, and the demolition and groundworks element of the project would need to happen in conjunction with the school exam period. This proved a challenge as disruption and noise needed to be kept to an absolute minimum through this critical period for the school and its pupils. This is often difficult in these early project stages as demolition and groundworks are often the noisiest works to happen on site.
To overcome this, we worked closely with the schools senior leadership team and exam invigilators to plan deliveries and disruptive works outside of the exam times. Where safe and practical to do so, we also turned off flashing beacons and audible tones from plant and machinery. This was achieved by us employing a dedicated banksman for all vehicle movements ultimately leading to a safe but quieter operation of the site equipment and plant.
Once these initial project stages were completed, and the pupils had left for the summer break, the modular superstructure that was manufactured offsite was installed over a period of 3 days. Shortly after this point the building is made completely watertight, and this allows both internal and external fit-out trades to work in parallel with one and other.
This cannot be done with a traditional build, and this parallel approach to trades combined with the offsite superstructure manufacture is what ultimately allows a large, demanding project like this scheme to be delivered in such a short on-site construction programme.
All works to the building after the super-structure is installed are undertaken in a traditional manner. What this means is that both internally and externally, a superior aesthetic finish is achieved by using conventional building methods and trades resulting in a finish with absolutely no tell-tale signs that this project was manufactured off site.
In September 2018, prior to the pupils returning from their summer break the project was completed and handed over to the school. The project was a great success and all the project stakeholders were extremely satisfied with how every stage of the project was managed and undertaken.
If you would like to learn more about the project delivered at Gordon’s School, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.