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BIM tech for Surrey school building project

McAvoy is using award-winning building information modelling (BIM) for a complex offsite school building project for Surrey County Council

Posted by Julian Owen | April 11, 2018 | Bricks & mortar

Offsite construction specialist, the McAvoy Group, has handed over a new school building at West Hill School in Leatherhead.

The project at West Hill, a special school rated outstanding by Ofsted, features extensive use of BIM to help address the complexities of the site. The scheme links the traditionally-constructed main building and an existing modular classroom block on a highly constrained, fully operational school site.

Both of the existing school buildings at West Hill remained in use throughout McAvoy’s construction of the new facilities. The offsite solution avoided any disruption to teaching and the children, despite the site constraints. 28 steel-framed modules were installed in four days and McAvoy restricted working times to maintain access and accommodate the children’s arrival and departure from school.

Design features of the building include:

 - Wider corridors to help children who have mobility or balance issues

 - Break-out rooms to allow different learning needs and styles to be accommodated for smaller numbers of children

 - Hygiene rooms equipped with a hoist to assist children in wheelchairs

 - Provision for hoists in two classrooms and for further hoists to be installed in other areas around the building

 - Ease of access between the new building and the existing facilities, and to the external play areas

 - A high level of acoustics to avoid disruption to children’s learning

The new facilities accommodate a food technology classroom, open plan library, group rooms and classrooms with direct access to the outdoors. The building has created a covered and controlled link between the main building and the existing teaching block, and a new courtyard provides a secure play area where a sensory garden will be developed. McAvoy was also responsible for some alterations to the school’s existing facilities to accommodate the change from secondary to primary education.

Commenting on the project, Judy Nettleton, Head Teacher at West Hill School, said: “The offsite solution generated massive time savings, which were invaluable from an educational perspective. The McAvoy team had outstanding communications throughout, and their work was well planned and highly respectful of the challenges we were facing, both as a special needs school and in the transition from secondary to primary education.”

“McAvoy was able to accommodate an urgent requirement for an extra floor and our new teacher training facility is a brilliant resource. This space could easily be converted into three additional classrooms if we need to expand capacity in the future. The building has a high level of acoustics, which is key for a special school to avoid disruption to children’s education. The size of the hygiene rooms, the wider corridors and breakout spaces for individual and small group learning are all invaluable features.”

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