Lindum was appointed to build a self-contained, six classroom block within the grounds of St Gabriel’s CofE Academy in Houlton, Rugby.
Extra space was required thanks to a rapidly growing population (sustained by a large-scale housing development surrounding the school, which was part of a wider SUE).
Master developer by Urban&Civic selected Lindum to build the new block following a competitive tender process. The brief was to construct a building that used the same design criteria and stringent air tightness standards as those used in Passivhaus construction.
The client’s RIBA Stage 3 design stipulated the extension be built to AECB standards. The end goal was to minimise future fuel costs with a classroom block that was energy efficient and cheap to operate.
The client appointed specialists Etude to carry out thermal assessments of the plans and predict its performance against AECB building standards, which are set by the Association for Environment Conscious Building.
U&C specified the use of cross laminate timber (CLT) frames, which are more airtight and sustainable than traditional methods and other types of timber frames.
The school was also designed to include 340mm thick cavity insulation, far thicker than an average build, to increase its thermal efficiency, along with triple glazed windows to increase the air tightness.
Solar panels were installed on the roof to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and the M&E plan included continuous MVHR supplemented with natural purge vents.
Work included installation of a 35-metre-long glass canopy at the front to provide a weatherproof access point to the original school building and the classroom and doors were colour coded to allow easy navigation by younger children.
Our team assisted with finalising the design and took responsibility for ensuring the subcontractor packages were both ‘buildable’ and complied with the sustainable elements of the brief.
We used BIM modelling to co-ordinate the subcontract design elements and challenge design details at the building’s fabric junctions to ensure robust airtightness (such as where the cladding and roofing meet and the CLT frame and glazing).
Our construction manager handled the timetable of compliance testing and consultant inspections, which had potential to delay the programme if not carefully coordinated.
Because the project required specific materials (some of which had to be sourced abroad) our contracts manager was also vigilant about monitoring lead-in times for deliveries. Any delay on material arrivals would have been a risk to programme.
The school stayed open during the works so Lindum held daily meetings with the headteacher to make sure there was as little disruption as possible. We imposed an agreed delivery route for materials, which was separate to the school’s main entrance and avoided drivers getting caught up in school traffic.
While the site was securely fenced off, we created an area for pupils and teachers to be able to safely look through the fencing and watch the progress of construction. Our staff also visited the school during the works with Urban&Civic to talk to the pupils about sustainability and what goes into the construction of a sustainable building.
Lindum completed landscaping works to the exterior of the school as part of the project. A new play area was created for the children, with an outdoor teaching space included.
The project was completed on time and in budget.