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A lesson in timber

Stewart Milne Timber Systems completes £3.6m school in Swindon

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 13, 2016 | Bricks & mortar

Stewart Milne Timber Systems has provided the timber solutions for a £3.6m school development in Swindon alongside architect Cullinan Studio. 

Holy Cross Primary School is a two-form, single-storey school which was manufactured offsite, taking only three weeks to erect and 43 weeks to complete thanks to the fast build time afforded by offsite construction and timber systems. 

The main design principle, like many modern education buildings today, was an open-plan look to enhance creativity and collaboration between pupils and teachers. Priority was also placed on ensuring the building increased circulation and flow around the school.

To achieve this, Cullinan Studio designed a wide corridor running through the school like a spine, with identical classroom clusters forming at either side. The Stewart Milne Timber Systems design team took that design and developed it for manufacture, meeting all the architects' objectives and exact specifications in a factory quality environment. 

The main requirement for this project was that several timber system units could be exactly replicated, ready to erect on site to form the identical teaching spaces. Energy performance, another fundamental factor, was built in to the fabric of the school, with low-weight, carbon-sequestered timber used to maximise the efficiency of the building. 

The project remained cost efficient with the use of offsite construction, cutting material and labour costs overall. The building was weathertight in just three weeks, meaning follow-on trades had access more quickly in comparison to a traditional build programme. 

Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director at Stewart Milne Timber Systems, said: “Our work for this project clearly demonstrates the adaptability and design potential timber systems can offer to clients. The new Holy Cross primary school building will be cost-effective and will close the gap between architect design and as-built performance, to provide a high-quality environment for classroom learning. 

“Not only were timber systems able to help Cullinan Studio achieve the desired open-plan, light-filled and creative look, they also allowed for the project to be built quickly – on time and on budget.”

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