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Minerva Primary Academy

Value | £7.5m

Completion | September 2018

 

Challenge

Minerva Primary School in the Hillfields district of Fishponds, Bristol was operating as a 420 place, 2-form entry school complete with a children’s centre. The existing buildings were in a poor condition and the sprawling nature of the single-storey property severely restricted the opportunity for both external play and teaching provision.

Early geological surveys commissioned by the EFA identified that the site was located within a zone of influence of coal mining. The presence 4no. mine shafts within the site boundary were also identified in these early studies.

The strategic vision for the new facility, delivered through the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), was to retain the pupil intake at 420 as a 2-form entry with the provision of 30 nursery places. The scheme requirements were to locate the new school on the site of the existing facility, with the existing pupils decanting into temporary facilities for the duration of the development.

 

Response

We were procured by the EFA through their Contractors Framework to deliver the scheme. The commission extended to a full turnkey D&B solution with our involvement commencing from the outset of the project, upon receipt of the EFA’s strategic brief.

The project consisted of the provision of temporary decant accommodation from the outset of the scheme due to site area restrictions. Following occupation of the temporary accommodation, demolition of the existing buildings took place. The new two-storey 2,196m2 building included an allowance of 124m2 for nursery provision for 30 children. Final activities included transferring of teaching provision from the temporary accommodation into new facilities, and their final removal and completion of external works.

We led the development of the design to ensure all requirements of the EFA Output Specification were achieved, key programme dates were met, planning approval was gained and the scheme was delivered within the affordability envelope set by the EFA.

A key project challenge was to complete all remediation work associated with the presence of the redundant mine workings. This specialist element included the grouting of all mine shafts located within the site and other ground stabilisation works ahead of substructure installations commencing.

 

The logistics of working around temporary decant accommodation was also a risk to the project. This was successfully achieved through meticulous planning and the creation of a logistics proposal, which was developed collaboratively with the EFA and the School. The use of off-site, manufacture-led construction processes limited the site activity to an absolute minimum to minimise disruption to the live education environment.

Leading all stakeholder engagement, we developed project solutions to ensure that the needs of all individuals and organisations impacted by the project were considered throughout the development.

All site-based activity was delivered in accordance with the Code of Considerate Practice as set out by the Considerate Constructor Scheme (CCS). Project specific examples of this approach included the provision of a clear communications strategy with all stakeholders. The CCS noted on their second audit that; ‘The site has made good progress with community relations, distributing letters and information via social media and engaging with the local councillors who were asked to attend pre start meetings’.

 

Outcome

Our robust soft landings and quality management procedures were used to provide certainty of quality delivery at Minerva. To handover a high-quality education facility with zero defects, we implemented our ‘right first time' approach, planning for a defect-free handover from day one. From commencement, Elliott ensured the scheme was designed, manufactured and constructed with the operational needs of new school firmly at the forefront of all activity. As a result, at completion and hand-over of the new facility, the pupils and staff were able to seamlessly transfer into the new school causing minimal disruption to their educational outcomes.

 

“We are very excited to be having such a fantastic new building. Along with redevelopment of the grounds, which will give more opportunities for learning and playing outdoors, we will soon have facilities to be really proud of and ones that our children richly deserve.” - Pete Hallam, Minerva Primary Academy Principal.

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