the new Thomas Aveling modular build from above

Project Details

Location: Rochester
Client: Medway Council
Employers Agent: Bailey Partnership
Principal Designer: Enviro Building Solutions
Contract Type: JCT Design & Build Contract 2016

Project Summary

  • New two storey modular building on occupied school site
  • Extension to traditionally constructed changing rooms
  • MUGA sports canopy
  • 28 modular bays
  • 8 classroom block, washroom facilities, offices, plant rooms
  • Floor area 1000m2
  • Brick slip, vertical and horizontal composite cladding finish externally
  • Steel canopy with polycarbonate covering
  • Aluminium windows and doors
  • Installation of teaching walls in classrooms
  • All groundworks, foundations and drainage
  • Fire detection and intruder alarm installations
  • Completed October 2020 (MUGA Canopy January 2021)
  • Project value £2.1m excluding MUGA Canopy, £2.75m including MUGA Canopy)

The Challenge: Expanding teaching spaces and improving sporting facilities

The Thomas Aveling School is the joint lead school of the Fort Pitt Thomas Aveling Academies Trust (FPTA), which incorporates a grammar school, two high schools and two junior schools. Serving almost 1200 pupils aged from 11-19, the school is co-educational and non-selective as well as being a converter academy with specialist teaching areas for science, design technology, art and sport and a performing arts centre.

“Enviro were able to successfully deliver this project during a very difficult time (COVID-19). They remained committed to delivering the project throughout.”

Stuart Collingwood, Director Building Surveyor, Bailey Partnership

The modular element of this build called for the construction of a 2 storey prefabricated classroom buildings block to provide additional teaching capacity. This comprised of 8 classrooms in total with washroom facilities, offices and a plant room.

It would also serve as an extension to the school’s existing sports changing facilities using traditional construction methods. In addition, the project involved the construction of a MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) canopy to cover the existing tennis courts, creating an all-weather play facility.

underneath the new Muga canopy at Thomas Aveling schoolManaging the planning elements

This was a major building project managed under a PCSA (Pre-Construction Services Agreement), enabling Enviro Building Solutions to contribute to the design process, then a PPA agreement which gives greater certainty to the planning process, fostering a collaborative approach to designing better developments.

one of the washrooms at Thomas Aveling schoolImportantly, a PPA contributes towards the certainty of timescales for reaching a decision and a specific planning committee date to work towards. As a direct result of this approach, the team from Enviro Building Solutions was on-site at Thomas Aveling School just two weeks after planning permission was granted.

Overcoming pandemic supply chain issues

The project on-site began at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Although this has impacted upon the schedule for the build due to restricted availability on a range of materials, the extension to the changing rooms was completed in time for the start of the new term, as originally planned. The new classroom block was commissioned over half term and ready for use at the beginning of November.

Thomas Aveling School viewed from the skyOther issues which could have impacted on the build but were successfully managed by Enviro Building Solutions included the effects of Storm Francis in August. Torrential rain and storm-force winds took a whole bay off a low loader en route for Rochester. Prompt action by the team overcame logistical and manufacturing challenges to ensure there were no resultant delays to the project.

Incorporating external and internal finishes

This significant modular build sits well in its chosen position on-site, featuring an attractive combination of brick slip, vertical and horizontal composite cladding externally complemented by aluminium windows and doors. There are internal staircases to either end of the building, together with teaching walls installed in classrooms, integrating front of class storage provision with whiteboards and classroom technology.

one of the new modular classrooms at Thomas Aveling school

Planning conditions for the project also called for major landscaping works, with hedging and planting for shielding purposes to screen the site from the surrounding residential areas.


From a sustainability point of view, the building achieved a strong EPC B rating, with carbon emissions and U-values significantly exceeding the minimum standards. With grid-supplied electricity in a building environment classed as mixed-mode with natural ventilation, the building emission rate has been measured at 14.87kgCO2/m2 per year.

Despite the supply chain and associated challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Enviro Building Solutions were committed to maintaining the original build schedule as far as possible. As a result, the changing rooms were delivered on time and the classroom block just a few short weeks later. The final phase of the build covering the installation of the MUGA canopy was completed as planned early in 2021.