With increasing student enrolments and shrinking spaces, there is increasing pressure on educational institutions to be more creative in enhancing facilities while lifting student achievement.

To address this challenge, a number of state governments have commissioned leading architecture companies who are helping communities reimagine what schools should look like while meeting the critical need of quickly-built facilities that are both environmentally sustainable and designed to help students get the most out of their learning.

The NSW Government has partnered with construction companies such as Lipman and Built as part of a $15bn project to develop the pavilion model, which allows high-quality schools to be delivered in months instead of years.

Built CEO and managing director Brett Mason said the company’s fully designed product can be built 50% faster than a conventional build and provides the flexibility to be designed into infinite configurations to meet the needs of different schools, locations and future growth.

“Built’s Modern Method of Construction for schools is based on the NSW Schools Infrastructure ‘pavilion’ model. This allows for new schools to be prefabricated offsite as a ‘kit of parts’ that can be then flat packed for transport to site where it is assembled,” Mason told The Educator.

“The value of this model is it allows schools to be built much faster than conventional building – up to 50% faster – while also being safer and delivered to a high quality as it is produced in a controlled manufacturing environment that removes variability and potential for defects on site. It also means less disruption to existing schools in the building process.”

Mason says Built’s model is different from others in the market in that pavilion schools are designed in-house by a dedicated construction team using the latest digital construction platforms and assisted by leading architects, fjmt.

“The system developed is highly flexible and able to be infinitely configured to suit different schools, locations and future growth, and it has been panellised for easier transport on a standard truck and quick assembly. It can also be disassembled and reassembled should buildings need to be moved, added to or redeployed,” Mason explained.

“Additionally, our model uses cross laminated timber, which both reduces the upfront carbon emissions of building by 80% compared to a conventional build and also provides a better learning environment for children through connection to natural materials [biophilia].”

Mason said that with the introduction of rooftop solar panels, pavilion schools built using the company’s product can become carbon neutral in less than two years and then climate positive (generate more carbon credits than it uses) for the remainder of their lifespan.

“We have also considered the economic flow-on effect of this method of constructing schools. Up to 95% of the components in our model are sourced from local Australian companies which generate jobs as well as by creating a simpler and more efficient construction assembly onsite,” he said.

“We see this as an opportunity to train and upskill local trades and apprentices, particularly in the regions.”

Mason said technology and modern methods of construction allow Built to approach construction in a much more efficient, safer and sustainable way.

“We consider this to be critical as we need to meet the needs of the NSW Government’s $15 billion school building program with $7.9 billion being invested over the next four years in 215 schools,” he said.

“Through this model we can also help to control costs. Through digital modelling, we can provide a highly accurate construction budget right down to the number of screws, nuts and washers required. This reduces financial risk and provides certainty and predictability to be able to progress projects quickly and within budget.”

Mason said that moving forward, schools will require more flexibility in their design to meet different and future needs, as well as expansion.

“The pavilion model facilitates this by not only being able to build more quickly but also the model allows building to be assembled, disassembled and reconfigured over time as needed,” he said.

“We also see the need for schools to become more sustainable as we move to reduce carbon emissions and move to a net zero future.  Additionally, by incorporating renewable power using solar panels we can look towards buildings becoming climate positive.”


Source: The Educator Online

Haringey Council Selects Diamond Build PLC for £2.2m School Refurbishment


Diamond Build PLC has been awarded a £2.2m contract to refurbish and upgrade a primary school in London on behalf of Haringey Council.

The project is the second phase of improvement works at Highgate Primary School, which will deliver external upgrades in addition to a new mechanical and electrical (M&E) package.

Diamond Build PLC will be responsible for refurbishing the façade of the main school building and carrying out a mix of roofing repairs and improvements, including replacing some pitched and flat roof coverings. The windows will benefit from new glazing to increase thermal performance, and the drainage system will be overhauled below and above ground.

To enhance energy efficiency and comfort, the newly installed M&E systems will consist of new distribution pipework, radiators, air conditioning and ventilation. Safety and security will also be enhanced through additional fire detection systems and CCTV.

Simon Wildes, Commercial Director at Diamond Build PLC, said: “This project draws on our vast experience of working in the education sector and within occupied buildings. The majority of the works will be carried out during term time, so will require stringent management and communication to ensure the highest standards and minimise disruption for all pupils and staff.

“To overcome limited site access, we are using modular buildings for our site cabins which can be assembled on site.”

Located in North Hill, Highgate’s main school building was constructed in circa 1870.

The refurbishment is expected to be complete by November 2022. The first phase of improvement works was completed by Diamond Build PLC’s sister company, Diamond Special Works. This included the installation of new suspended ceilings, electrical upgrades and new lighting.

Diamond Build PLC has worked with Haringey Council for four decades and has also been appointed to refurbish Chestnuts Primary School in the borough.

Gartree High School appointed modular provider Wernick to supply a standalone building to accommodate an increase in students. They required a seamless transition with minimal intervention from teaching staff and timely student occupation. More importantly, the building had to look the part, mimicking the school’s existing building. With decades of experience within the UK education sector, Wernick specialise in the design and build of modern school buildings. Each project is managed by Wernick’s dedicated construction division to ensure a thorough service and the utmost levels of health and safety.

Gartree’s Deputy Head Ben Rackley and Assistant Head Edward Wilson describe the project and their experience of working with Wernick to procure their new building in Leicestershire.

How did you settle on a modular solution for the new building?
BR: Before obtaining our new building, all Gartree’s classes took place within one large building. Student numbers have increased, and it was time to increase capacity by adding at least four new classrooms. A modular classroom block made sense to us due to the timescales involved. We were aware of neighbouring schools who have chosen this route, and they helped to demonstrate the speed and aesthetics achievable with this building method.
It was vital to us that the new addition matched the look and feel of the existing building, with green, metal window surrounds and brick cladding. Inside the new building would be two science classrooms and two ‘all-purpose’ rooms.

Why were Wernick Buildings chosen to deliver the new building?
BR: During the procurement process, Wernick’s designs were the closest match to the school’s brief: “they looked like Gartree”. Wernick Buildings quoted for a 2-storey, 414 m² block and it was well within our budget – in fact, the quote gave us some room to specify additional features, such as reinforced flooring, triple glazing and PIR lighting.
Wernick really paid attention to every detail on the project – for example, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Wernick had included elements of the existing building in the new block without being asked.

What feedback have you received from users of the building?
EW: I’m lucky enough to teach in the new building and a few things are really clear; first of all we’ve noticed no difference in the behaviour of the children and students who are working in the building, which is exactly what we want.
Teachers find the new building very comfortable – air conditioning throughout ensures a consistent temperature year-round, which is something they are not used to! Rooms are also more spacious, the whole building has an open feel to it.
Triple glazing creates a peaceful environment which is ideal for pupils sitting exams. The quality of the finish is really excellent, it’s a lovely place to work in and we’re finding that teaching here is a real pleasure.

BR: I wanted people to see this as a permanent building, and that is exactly what we have achieved. The modular building fits in perfectly and the finish gives it that wow factor when you walk in.

How did you find the process of working with Wernick?
EW: Wernick provided us with a bespoke, on-plan building that followed our wish for the new building very closely. I was genuinely impressed with that and impressed with what they have supplied.
BR: I had absolutely no time or inclination to manage a traditional building project, but Wernick’s dedicated Construction division managed the project from start to finish. A Project Manager attended site every day – this was a major selling point for me. The team on site were brilliant and having the same point of contact throughout was invaluable.


Thurston provided a new two storey, Modular Classroom block that tied into the existing school buildings on the campus.
As the major part of this campus upgrade project, volumetric modular was chosen to minimise on-site risks whilst achieving an advanced delivery programme.
Precision manufacturing methods allowed the building to be manufacturing in a controlled setting off-site, greatly reducing dust or contamination levels on site.

  • Features:
    3 ICT Suites
    Fully Equipped Science Laboratory
    7 Classrooms
    Rooftop PV Array
    BREEAM “Excellent”

Working with principal contractor Kier Construction, the work consisted of removing two temporary classrooms from a open courtyard, then designing and building a two storey, 24 bay modular classroom block in the London borough of Wandsworth.
Consisting internally of three dedicated ICT suites, a fully fitted science laboratory along with seven classrooms. The building has multiple separate entrances over various levels and fire exits, thus providing total flexibility when utilising the space for differing education functions.
Externally the project included removing a temporary classroom facility, and previous sub-structure and replacing with all new foundations, utility services, footpaths and an access road with external landscaping and drainage.

Due to planning conditions and the rural setting, the exterior walls were finished in a brick slip and render finish, with aluminium doors and windows to comply with all Building Regulations.
The new teaching block houses photovoltaic cells on its roof to generate electricity.  Each classroom includes a heat recovery ventilation unit to avoid wasting heat in winter.  The ventilation units extract hot air from the new classrooms and use it to preheat the fresh air as it is brought in to ensure an optimum classroom environment for learning.
An air source heat pump was also installed (which extracts heat from the air and transfers it into our heating and hot water system to reduce gas bills); and also to upgrade corridor and classrooms lights to new energy efficient LED systems.

“The new build extension has been designed to complement St Cecilia’s Church of England School’s existing buildings, to maintain connectivity with the main school and ensure cohesion across the campus. It was important to encourage unity between both the buildings and students in each facility.”


The High School Leckhampton, is a brand new co-educational comprehensive school that will serve south Cheltenham. It is being built to cater for an expansion in pupil numbers at secondary level in the area. The school has been commissioned by Gloucestershire County Council but is being “sponsored” and developed by Balcarras.

TG Escapes Eco-Buildings were appointed to provide a stand-alone eco-building to accommodate the school’s intake in time for September 2021. The modular timber frame solution provides a fast build process with minimal disruption, and delivers a bespoke permanent building designed to last 60 years or more.
Ian Davidson, Assistant Head and Jeff Arris, Network Manager at Balcarras School explain the background and their experience of the project.

Why was the building needed?

Ian: Balcarras School were awarded the contract for an entirely new school, to teach 900 11-16 year olds, which was due to open in time for the start of the school year in September 2021. The initial phase of opening was for 120 Year 7 students with subsequent yearly intakes increasing until the school will be operating at full capacity with 5 year groups of around 180 pupils each.
Towards the end of 2020 it became apparent that the new school building would not be completed in time to welcome the initial intake of students. The existing school was operating at maximum occupancy and there was simply no space available to accommodate the new students.
The decision was taken to build a modular suite of 4 classrooms on the existing school site, each designed for around 30 Y7 pupils, to be used for classroom-based subjects (maths, English and social sciences). Science, art, DT and PE lessons will take place within the main school facilities.

What was the process for selecting the bulding provider?

Jeff: The year previously, the existing school had engaged with 3 contractors to provide a modular building to extend its IT facilities. TG Escapes won the tender process but it was ultimately decided to not proceed with the project.
However, TG Escapes had sufficiently impressed that they were selected as one of the 3 contractors invited to tender for the new project and again were the preferred choice. The governors were naturally concerned about timely delivery and potential overspend and engaged Evans Jones consultants to oversee the build, which commenced in January 2021.

How did you find the process?

Ian: I thought it was quite brilliant. My biggest concern was that the building would be completed on time, but I have never seen a building go up so quickly. Throughout the build the project manager was very approachable and easy to deal with. Any problems were immediately solved, avoiding any interruptions to the day to day running of the existing school site. All potentially disruptive operations such as crane and material deliveries were organised to fit the school timetable.

Jeff: The site was well managed and the project manager was fully engaged with the school throughout the build, securing agreement before each phase. Regular meetings between the school management team and the project manager were handled thoroughly and efficiently and the building was completed weeks ahead of schedule
in May.

What do you think about the building’s quality now it is in use?

Jeff: It is good and functionally it is working well, particularly pupil flow. We are expecting the outside decking areas to be a very useful space.

Ian: Whilst there have been a few snagging issues these are being well dealt with promptly. The finished look of the building is really good and reminds me of a “Grand Designs” project. The parents love it and the feedback from staff and students is also very positive. It feels both spacious and luxurious.

How important were the eco credentials?

Ian: Very important. Zero carbon and environmental issues have become a big consideration across the education sector.

Jeff: The speed of construction versus a traditional build process was also of high importance. I was impressed by the lack of waste, helped by the donation of spare materials to the existing school.



For more information about TG Escapes Modular Timber Frame Buildings call

0800 917 7726 or email info@tgescapes.co.uk. To see a timelapse of the build in progress visit bit.ly/balcarras_timelapse


With the public looking to spend more time outside schools nationwide are looking at their footprint and working with specialists to ensure that they maximise year-round use of their outside space. One such firm is Fordingbridge Plc; a West Sussex based engineering firm, specialising in canopies and covered walkways.

“We have long worked with educators to help them increase the use of their outside space, and it is clear that the situation has hit home for many teachers,” explains Fraser Dixon, Business Development Manager at the firm. “Our regular installations cover a multitude of situations, whether it be an enclosed courtyard to create an additional dining space, or covering a MUGA for weather-protected sport, but the need among teachers for taking their lessons outside has been very clear.”

Trading over five decades, the firm specialise in the installation of a range of canopy structures, from simple tensile walkways and playground covers, to more elaborate designs capable of covering entire MUGAs and even enclosing courtyards to create weatherproof central atriums.

“As a business we are perfectly placed to work both with schools directly and through contractors and architects,” Dixon continues. “Historically canopy manufacturers were too often specified solely on price, leading to an increase in the amount of resellers who only installed standard, uninspiring structures in a range of predefined sizes. There was no nod given to quality, and therefore overall value, of the structures as they were simply ticking a box. The situation is now swinging, with architects, contractors and schools alike looking for quality and longevity in their canopies, along with more inspiring designs be it steel, tensile or a glulam timber structure. As we design and manufacture our canopies from under one roof, we can ensure the design meets the brief and the quality is second to none.”



Swalcliffe Park is a non-maintained specialist residential and day school near Banbury, Oxfordshire, for boys on the autism spectrum (10-19 yrs). The school is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and is currently working with over 20 Local Authorities. The school is housed at Swalcliffe Park, which includes a Grade II listed building set in 23 acres of beautiful parkland. The focus of thier work is improving ‘Quality of Life’ outcomes for students and their families.

The school has recently commissioned their third eco-building from TG Escapes, the first being a Performing Arts studio in 2016 followed by a suite of autism friendly quiet spaces for individuals or small groups of students. Their new 470 m2 building will provide a Science Lab and prep room, IT room, changing rooms, toilets and a large staff room. Staffing has increased by 30% over the last two years due to increasing numbers of students, so the school needed additional professional space to enable staff to meet and collaborate.

Principal Rob Piner and Vice Principal, Rob Leigh explain their thinking in selecting TG Escapes’ modular timber frame system.

How are the existing two TG Escapes buildings working out for you?
Really well as they are really spacious and light spaces, and we can control the temperature in them so that they provide optimum conditions for our students.
The build quality has been really good, so five years on they still look really great and have weathered beautifully so they fit very naturally in their environment. The buildings feel as good as when they were first made and we haven’t encountered any issues in terms of on-going maintenance, despite significant usage over the years. In terms of overall fitness for purpose, we have to say we are delighted.

What were your considerations when choosing this solution?
What we like about the TG Escapes offering is the complete design and build package. When designing bespoke building solutions, some architects can get carried away and draw up prize-winning designs which may not reflect the realities of school budgets. TG Escapes are very straightforward and transparent about discussing costs and how this relates directly to the purpose of the building.
They are also very attractive buildings. We could have opted for something made from traditional construction materials, such as stone, as we already have listed buildings on our site. However, we didn’t want to try to mimic the original buildings and so chose a design that would sit sensitively within our setting and complement the heritage of the school. We are delighted with the end result and have had many compliments from visitors on our choice.
We also think the ‘green’ credentials are very important as all schools and public buildings need to. Having a roof design that enables us to install solar panels coupled with air source heat pumps, we really feel that we are making a difference to our carbon footprint. We can also use this as a really interesting curriculum project with our students.
In addition to this, the speed of building is much quicker than a traditional construction method and will enable us to have our new buildings this academic year, rather than a year down the line.


Why does this building system particularly suit your needs?
This style of building helps us to create autism friendly spaces with wide corridors as well as sensitive heating, lighting and acoustics. Our experience tells us that it works well with our students who have sensory challenges. In our new building we have used a concrete base to satisfy our acoustic requirements, and whilst we are aware this is not the most eco-friendly construction method, it is essential for our needs and TG Escapes were happy to help with that. The end result is an extremely solid building which also has total DDA compliance, enabling us to future proof our facilities to enhance Quality of Life outcomes for our students and their families.

How would you describe the customer service?
The service has been really first class. When you have a separate architect and builder there can be issues relating to communication, differences of opinion and difficulty with co-ordination. TG Escapes offer an outstanding service and all those involved in the process have been very responsive and receptive to our requirements and timelines. The construction team are very polite, you can tell they want to be here and want to do a good job. We are really excited about getting the keys for our new building, possibly sooner than we thought so that we can improve the quality of our provision for all who are part of our school community.

For more information and video case studies visit the website, email info@tgescapes.co.uk or call 0800 917 7726.


Samuel Ryder was a very small secondary school with about 250 students. The Local Authority decided to extend the school’s provision to cover primary and secondary pupils. Since then the school, with an outstanding leadership Ofsted rating, has grown in popularity and demand for places has outstripped capacity. Their timber frame modular building from TG Escapes was completed at the end of August 2020 ready for use in time for the students’ return to school.

The block consists of 7 English classrooms, the English team office, an SLT office, year 7 and 8 toilets, a media suite and 2 year 6 classrooms. Whilst price was the key criteria during the selection process, the sustainable nature of the building materials used was a benefit.

“Offsite fabrication resulted in a very rapid onsite construction. I was impressed by the speed of delivery, which occurred on schedule, and the site manager who had excellent communication skills and was extremely accommodating of requests to tweak the original design.“ Ian Cushion, Scholars’ Education Trust Estates Manager
Barkers Associates consultancy sent out invitations to tender to six contractors, from which a shortlist of three was drawn up. The key criteria were price and quality, but it was also very important that the company selected had proven experience of working with schools, and that the individuals with whom the school had contact were of the right calibre.
The energy performance certificate for this building is A+ rated at minus 24 making the building carbon neutral, or net-zero, in operation.
Mechanical & Electrical systems are key to producing comfortable building environments as well as achieving energy efficiency and our M&E consultant Designphase Ltd used a combination of 4 systems to achieve this.


•  Air source heat pumps to heat the hot water and most of the space heating.
•  A hybrid active ventilation system to efficiently supply fresh air and extract stale air.
•  LED lighting & lighting controls with daylight dimming to keep consumption to a minimum.
•  A solar photovoltaic system was installed across the roof.


The air source heat pumps specified produce between 3-4 kilowatts of heat for every kilowatt of electricity used.
The ventilation system tempers the incoming air with the hot air being extracted using low wattage fans to distribute the air and provide a comfortable environment.
The LED lighting is inherently efficient and the addition of controls like daylight dimming means that when the spaces are flooded with natural daylight, the lights will respond automatically.
Finally, a large 72kW solar photovoltaic array was installed across the roof to help offset the energy used in the building.
The combination of these systems resulted in a building that is both comfortable to use and provides a high level of energy efficiency that will benefit the end-users at Samuel Ryder and the environment we pass onto the next generation.



TG Escapes partners in achieving this are Metropolis Architects,  Solar for Schools, Passivent, Westcott Air Conditioning and Dextra.
“Energy efficiency was considered very important given the passion of many pupils for environmental issues. Rightly so – it’s this world that they are going to inherit. The students and staff find their time in the building wonderful. The primary occupant was the English department who feel very spoilt and lucky to have the experience of teaching and learning in their new classrooms. It was a very good experience from start to finish with TG Escapes, I would recommend them to others.”  Ian Bailey, Deputy Headteacher.



A model for outstanding education: how off-site modular construction and full turn-key solutions paved the way for a growing school with even bigger ambitions.

Make a difference. Be outstanding. That is the vision at the heart of Arundel Court Primary Academy in Portsmouth.

This inner-city primary school has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Teaching standards have improved at all levels, recognised by Ofsted as being good and outstanding in areas such as leadership and management, behaviour, curriculum, care, guidance and more.

After receiving funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency to replace their ageing buildings, the next stage of their growth was to be their most ambitious yet.

Challenge: the only way is up

The existing school building was a sprawling single-storey block that has seen multiple extensions in every direction over the years. Nestled in a densely populated area adjacent to the main road, the limited space meant that sideways growth was no longer an option.

The proposal of a new three-storey building was not all plain sailing. Plans were subject to some local objection with concerns over proximity and overlooking of the new structure.

Solution: Less disruption, more flexibility

Modular buildings supplier and main contractor Elliott proposed a three-storey building that would make the most of the compact site. This allowed the build to take place on the existing small playing field next to the old school.

To alleviate concerns over proximity and overlooking, Elliott took up the offer of attending the design review panel to present sunlight path diagrams that had been incorporated into the proposed building’s design. With final approval granted, the project was split into two key phases.

Phase one involved the complete site set-up and strip, decanting pupils into temporary accommodation. Hoarding was placed across the site, with temporary access off Holbrook Road, and a full-time gateman to secure the area.

Construction of the new three-story 3,059m2 building began in January 2019. Accommodating 630 pupils, the state-of-the-art modular/hybrid units include  23 teaching spaces, main hall, studio space, learning resource spaces and administration rooms.

Taking advantage of complete design flexibility, the modular buildings incorporated all the advantages of traditional construction, with the added benefits of improved safety, consistency, and speed.

Complete with elevational treatment, brickwork, STO render and cedar cladding, aluminium external windows and doors, Elliott was able to create a more aesthetically impressive building, capable of satisfying all planning requirements.

Phase two saw the safe demolition of the existing building segregated from the live operational environment, along with all external works and final landscaping touches.

Elliott’s phased off-site construction process ensured that disruption was kept to a minimum while the existing school facility remained in operation.

Flexible maintenance and aftercare packages ensured that the smooth-running of the project would continue long after construction was complete. The permanent off-site solution includes 60 years of design life, 25 years structural warranty, five years’ product warranty and 12 months’ warranty on all other parts.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble for Elliott. They listen to the needs of the school and work collaboratively to find positive solutions and provide ongoing support. Thank you for everything!”

Karen Stocks, Headteacher

Why off-site?

Arundel Court Primary Academy chose off-site modular construction, in part, to keep disruption on-site and in the community to a minimum. The new three-storey building was built on the existing small playing field next to the old school, which meant less moving of vehicles, builders and materials to and from the site.

The turn-key solution also ensured that funding for the school could go further, sourcing everything from fencing to furniture and fire safety from one supplier.

Instead of managing multiple relationships, purchase orders and invoices, increased vehicle movements on site and time spent coordinating and communicating, Elliott provided a single point of contact, so teams could get to work faster.

Following the completion of the new school build, the existing school building was demolished and external works and landscaping completed to reconnect the new building with existing facilities and provisions.

The extra space offered by modular units makes it possible to welcome more parents into school, with dedicated areas to work with them and their children – a key requirement for the new school.

Source: Building


In the construction industry, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the importance of a simple classroom block. The latest addition to Ty Gwyn Special School may look like a normal school building, but it is packed with interesting features and was delivered using modern methods of construction.

The block is surrounded by security fencing with access-controlled gates and CCTV to ensure pupil safety when in school, and at either end of the block, bespoke, powder coated aluminium canopies cover small separate playgrounds for each class, leading to a wider playground with built in play equipment.  However, as the name suggests, Ty Gwyn Special School is no ordinary school, and this is no ordinary classroom block. Ty Gwyn is wholly focussed on supporting pupils who have profound or complex needs. Rated as ‘Excellent’ by Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales, the school will educate children from three years to nineteen years old who might present severe or challenging behaviour.

The school needed a new block urgently to cater for a rise in pupil numbers – with less than ten pupils per class, classroom space is vitally important for the school. To procure the new block, Cardiff Council ran a mini competition via the SEWSCAP framework, which was subsequently won by Wernick Buildings.  The building is constructed using 18 individual modules which were manufactured in Wernick’s dedicated factory in Port Talbot, less than an hour away from the site. These were transported to site by lorry, then craned into position and bolted together to form the core of the building. The brick cladding and trussed roof were then added to the core to give a traditional construction appearance.

Manufacturing the building in a factory environment gave the project several advantages. Firstly, the building could be constructed at the same time as the foundations were being prepared, dramatically reducing programme length, particularly on site. Manufacture was also not affected by site conditions like the weather, making the programme even more reliable. This was vitally important for the school, who would need the building in time for the start of the new term.  The reliability of modular building was further tested by the outbreak of COVID-19. However, as a large part of the fit out had already been completed in the factory Wernick Buildings were able to minimise the operatives needed on site at any one time. Combined with careful site management, this allowed Wernick to continue work during the first lockdown, and ultimately the building was delivered ahead of schedule.



Providing a robust building which would be both a safe and calming environment for Ty Gwyn’s pupils who can sometimes present challenging behaviour, was important. This was reflected in the enhanced specification required by the council which Wernick embraced fully, enhancing their standard modular system to meet the requirements.  The painted internal walls were upgraded with impact-resistant plasterboard to better withstand the demanding classroom environment. The floor, apart from being fully non-combustible, was also enhanced to improve rigidity and acoustic performance. All the doors are also equipped with acoustic seals to reduce noise throughout the building and ALUMASC Safehinge anti finger trap system to avoid any opportunity for entrapment.

Acoustic performance was especially important for the withdrawal rooms off each classroom. These spaces can be used when a child needs a calming and safe environment. The walls and floor of these were padded to ensure child safety, and were also equipped with an observation window and AV system, allowing teachers to play music for the children from the main classroom. A ducted heat recovery system was employed in the ventilation in these rooms, and comfort cooling is used throughout the building.  The audio-visual system in the block is also a step above many standard classroom buildings. Aside from the withdrawal rooms and interactive whiteboards in each class, there is also a dedicated sensory room with controllable coloured lighting and interactive projections on the floor and wall which pupils can engage with.  All classrooms are also equipped with a DDA compliant toilet and shower room, as well as a ‘nurse call’ system to help staff in emergencies. Glazing throughout the building was also enhanced to reduce u-values and improve security by meeting Secured by Design standards.  As standard the windows had toughened glazing inner and laminate glazing outer.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council commented: “The Wernick team were excellent to work with from start to finish.  Teamwork was at the heart of everything, and the team committed from the outset to deliver the project on time.  Working relationships were excellent, and this facilitated first class communication and ultimately the delivery of a highly successful project”