The Redhill Academy – New Sixth Form Centre

About the project:

About the School

The Redhill Academy is one of fifteen academies that form the Redhill Academy Multi Academy Trust.

The Redhill Academy was the first secondary school in Nottinghamshire to gain an ‘outstanding’ ofsted rating for the quality of teaching which it has obtained twice now in succession.

Due to high demand and popularity, the school was receiving high levels of applications for its sixth form, and Refurb 1 were appointed to deisgn and build a new extension to the sixth form centre to be constructed using a SIPS method of construction.

The building was to offer a new main entrance to the existing sixth form building, and incorporate additional classroom provision that could also double up as exam space

Design & Build

Refurb 1 was appointed to deliver this project as a full design and build scheme. We worked with the trust
closely to develop plans and obtain planning approval on a project that could be delivered within a finite budget.
Due to the positioning of the new building on the school site, it was absolutely imperative that disruption was
kept to a minimum as the construction would need to happen within an exam period in a live school environment.
The school would not be able to accommodate a traditional building method due to the length of time it would
take to construct the building.

Construction Method

We put forward the proposal to use a SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel System) method of construction,
predominantly for speed. A SIPS method of construction offers the same life expectancy as traditional buildings,
and maintains both the internal and external aesthetic quality and finish. A SIPS building is manufactured off-site
in a quality controlled factory environment, and is then delivered to site in multiple sections that be erected within
a matter of days achieving a watertight building envelope quickly.
Because a SIPS panel is constructed predominantly of timber sheet material and insulation, there is no areas of
the building envelope for cold to bridge from the outside to the inside of the building, and this also makes a SIPS
building extremely energy and thermally efficient.

Build Programme

The school needed the building completed ahead of the summer holidays 2019, and this raised a significant
challenge as the construction works would have to take place around exam periods within the live school

In order to achieve completion within the tight programme, and keep construction related disruption to an
absolute minimum Refurb 1 liaised with the school and the project stakeholders, eventually agreeing to separate
the construction works into 2 phases.

Construction Phase | Minimising Disruption

The overall project programme required 6 weeks to deliver the scheme, from breaking ground to practical
completion and handover to the client. We proposed undertaking the groundworks element of the project in
advance of the main build. If we undertook the groundworks which is the most noisy and disruptive part of the
works throughout the Easter half term, then this would mean that only above ground works would need to
happen within the live school environment.

The school agreed with this, and during the Easter break we undertook all excavation work, installed and
connected new services for drainage, water and electrical services and poured a fully insulated concrete floor
slab in preparation for the SIPS panels to arrive.

In May 2019 we then returned to site, and installed the SIPS wall panels and roof within just one day! Over the
duration of the first week, we were able to make the building fully watertight installing a single ply Resitrix roofing
membrane, windows and doors.

This approach to getting the building watertight in such a short time helps further accelerate the build
programme. Internal and external trades are able to work in parallel, and the continuity of the construction is no
longer reliant on weather conditions.

Over the remaining three weeks, all internal fit-out works were undertaken including mechanical and electrical
works, carpentry, joinery, flooring, and ceilings etc. In parallel, external works included cladding the building in a
non-combustible, maintenance free HardiePlank, along with fascia’s, gutters and localised landscaping were all
completed taking the building to a snag-free practical completion and seamless handover to the client.


In summary this was a challenging project to deliver due to short construction programme required, and having to
undertake disruptive works within the live school environment throughout the school exam period. Refurb 1
predominantly works within the education sector and have vast experience working within live school
environments. We met with the stakeholders from the school daily to gain full visibility of exam timetables and
that allowed us to plan, or pause site works accordingly.

The school were extremely satisfied with the completed building, and the approach taken to both the construction
phase and our dedication and management of the project to minimise disruption. Since completing this project,
we were successfully appointed to deliver a second project at another of the trusts academies.
For more information on this particular project, or to arrange a site visit please contact us on 01939 252 700