Home » Modular primary school completed in just 32 weeks

Modular primary school completed in just 32 weeks

by Liam Turner
Hatchlands Primary School

The development of a new school in Redhill, Surrey, has been completed in just 32 weeks as a result of modular building methods.

Using its permanent modular building system, Elliott, a supplier of modular building solutions, was able to complete the development a lot quicker compared with traditional construction methods.

Built to provide additional school places as a result of new residential developments and increasing birth rates in the area, the BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rated Hatchlands Primary School has been developed as part of Department for Education’s (DfE) Modular-A Primary School framework.

Elliott says it was awarded the project because it demonstrated “excellent” value for money and was able to provide a full turnkey solution.

The modular manufacturer worked closely with designers DLA Architecture to create a contemporary building sympathetic to its environment.

The school, which is located adjacent to a conservation area on what was once a “challenging” urban brownfield site, was developed offsite using the Elliott Ibex permanent modular building system.

The Ibex system is fully building regulations compliant with passive ventilation and has a minimum 60-year design life.

Modules were delivered with a high pre-manufactured value and ready for final finishing on site.

This reduced the construction schedule by around 50% compared to a traditional on-site build, Elliott says.

Hatchlands Primary School features a contemporary style aesthetic achieved using brick, cedar cladding, purple panelling to complement the school’s branding, render and significant glazed elements to create light-filled teaching spaces.

A large span sports hall uses the Elliott Hybrid system, providing the school with a valuable space that is now used for assemblies, sports and performances.

The system allows incorporation of large open atriums and increased ceiling heights and can be fully integrated with the modules to provide greater design scope, Elliott says.

The school was also built to high sustainability standards and achieves a BREEAM Very Good rating.

This means it is within the top 25% of buildings in terms of sustainability, aligning with the goals of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

A suspended concrete floor helps to minimise transmittance of noise, meeting minimum standards set out in The Building Bulletin 93 (BB 93) ‘Acoustic Design of Schools: A Design Guide’.

Using modular techniques, the construction of the school was completed around 50% quicker

Design considerations

Planning requirements for Hatchlands Primary School meant that making efficient use of space was a high priority on the development, because the 420-place school had to be created on a similar footprint to the existing structure and within the same two-storey height limit. 

The design of the building had to avoid being unduly prominent or detrimental to the character of the surrounding environment while ensure minimal disruption on the surrounding community.

Height and scale of the structure was minimised by incorporating a flat roof design, mitigating its impact on local views.

Providing a full turnkey solution, Elliott demolished the existing courthouse building on the site before installing the new structure.

The completed school is indistinguishable to a traditional on-site build, Elliott says, yet delivers all the benefits of offsite construction, such as a shorter 32-week build schedule, less site traffic, and a more consistent build quality.

Graham Stevenson, construction manager at Elliott, said: “Completing Hatchlands Primary School in just 32 weeks is testament to the dedication of all project partners and benefits of our offsite systems.

“The new school is an important and exciting development for the community and we hope that it will inspire some of the pupils to take up a career in construction.”

Overall, the turnkey solution provided by Elliott means that Hatchlands Primary School is considered to be a building that balances design, scale and massing, resulting in an appropriate solution for the character of the area.

Moira Anderson, headteacher at Hatchlands Primary School, said: “What a fabulous new school we now have. The children were really excited about moving into their new classrooms, and it is certainly very different to the temporary teaching areas we have been using.

“We were all really impressed with the professionalism and considerate approach of the Elliott team.”

Hatchlands Primary was built by the DfE and is operated by Everychild Trust – a multi-academy trust whose aim is to “Engage, equip, and empower every child”.

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