Architecture

St Albans High School for Girls, Michael House

In the autumn of 2018 the modular classroom installation at St Albans High School for Girls was completed on time and on budget, prior to the start of the school term. The classroom units which had been constructed off site were delivered on trucks and craned into position with minimal disruption to the school and neighbours.

A video of the classroom installation, can be seen here

Bickerdike Allen Partners LLP have a long working relationship with St Albans High School for Girls, having delivered some significant projects for the school over the last few years. In 2017, as part of our Estates Development Review for the School, we identified a number of locations for additional classroom space that could be created within their current site.

The development of Michael House was approved by the School at the end of 2017. Following the detailed design and successful planning application by BAP, the aim was to be on site and classrooms ready, for the start of the Autumn term in 2018.

As with any development on a School site, a key requirement for the proposed works was that as much as possible should be undertaken within the School holidays. A further constraint that Michael House presented was its location within the heart of the school campus surrounded by other buildings and with limited access to the surrounding roads.

With these constraints in mind, we had decided early in our design process that this project would be very much suited to an offsite construction system. Having worked with Moduloft Ltd on other projects with similar site and access constraints we were very confident that this was a project they could deliver.

The main benefit of working with Moduloft and their construction system, was that we were not constrained in our design proposals for the classrooms. There is no real limiting “module” that Moduloft impose, as such the classroom sizes, layouts; window positions and cladding could all be determined by the requirements of the school and BAP.

A small enabling works contract was let in the Easter half term, and then within the school term time the classrooms were constructed by Moduloft in their factory in Brompton on Swale, Yorkshire. We carried out two visits to factory as the works progressed and Moduloft also made available weekly progress photos.

The other advantage of the Moduloft construction methodology is that they were able to incorporate late changes to the classrooms even as the factory construction progressed as one of the classrooms was updated to a IT suite requiring additional floor boxes and strengthening of walls to accommodate the latest Smart Board.

The delivery of the units was a major event, with classrooms being delivered and craned from the back of a large transporter. This was all managed by Moduloft with little or no disruption caused to the surrounding residents or School.

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