Three quarter view of St Stephens Primary School Modular Building

Project Description

Location: St Stephens Community Primary School, Saltash
Client: Cornwall Council
Employer’s Agent: MACE Limited
Principal Designer: Bailey Partnership
Contract Type: NEC3 Engineering & Construction Contract (Option A)

Project Summary

  • Single storey school block incorporating classrooms, specialist practical rooms, washrooms, undercroft store
  • Floor area 500m2
  • 17 modular bays
  • All groundworks, foundation and drainage works undertaken
  • Electrical and mechanical works
  • Completed September 2018
  • Project value £1.1M

The Challenge: Meeting a 10 week timeframe with offsite modular construction

Located in a residential area just outside the centre of Saltash, Cornwall, St Stephen’s Community Primary School accommodates girls and boys from ages 4 to 11. When Cornwall Council was looking to expand the school from a 1.5 form entry (315 pupils) to a 2 form entry (420 pupils), offsite construction methods provided a practical and achievable solution.

The project presented a very challenging time frame; pupil places were required for the September 2018 intake, and late confirmation on funding allocation meant that more traditional construction methods were not feasible.

The initial design proposed by architects Bailey Partnership was carefully adapted for offsite, volumetric and modular solutions by Enviro Building Solutions. The scheme was developed and delivered with an onsite period of just 10 weeks. As a result, both the September 2018 and the previous September 2017 intake now benefit from a new and exceptional teaching environment.

``Having worked within Cornwall Education and Early Years Service for decades it is still
great to see innovation working at its best for such a tight budget and timeframe. The end product not only met with an incredibly tight programme but also created a sustainable and considered learning environment which will meet pupil and staff expectations and also form a real hub to the community.``

Paul Renowden, Education Capital Strategy Officer, Cornwall Council.

Offsite Modular Construction – saving time and money

The offsite approach adopted for this project speeded up the construction process considerably in line with the requirements of the client, with external works completed concurrently with the manufacture of high quality, factory-built modules by Enviro Building Solutions.

Overall costs were reduced too; if a traditional onsite solution had been used in this instance, the Local Authority would have had to hire another temporary classroom for at least 3-6 months to accommodate the September 2018 intake.

A reduced programme of works on site also helped to mitigate many potential health and safety risks, with less disruption for pupils, teachers, staff and parents. In addition, as the school is located in a quiet, residential area, a reduced number of site deliveries and site construction traffic also reduced noise and disruption for the local community.

Sustainable and cost effective

The building also offers significant benefits in use. It is designed to be highly sustainable in terms of its life cycle costs; it reduced wastage during construction, was delivered more quickly and cost less to build. Its enhanced performance and maintenance-free materials will cost less to run over its lifetime and therefore reduce school maintenance costs.

Enhanced U-Values and improved air tightness, alongside the considered architectural design, allowed for a state of the art, highly energy efficient educational environment that exceeded expectations.

The building has been extremely well received by the schools’ staff, parents, pupils, and local residents and is a testament to the quality of work from offsite construction company Enviro Building Solutions. In fact the project was also nominated and shortlisted for ‘Education Project of the Year’ at the Offsite Awards 2019