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Future-proofing for Welsh schools

Welsh government's 21st Century Schools Programme creates sustainable and affordable schools

Posted by Stephanie Broad | March 25, 2016 | Bricks & mortar

The Welsh government’s 21st Century Schools Programme is delivering effective learning environments and developing best practice in school design. The scheme’s main target is to create a sustainable construction system of education buildings in Wales that meets national building standards and reduces the recurrent costs and carbon footprint.

Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth, a new secondary school in Llanelli, South Wales, received an investment of £18 million from the Programme for the development of education buildings to serve 1,000 pupils. Carmarthenshire County Council required all new build blocks to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ ratings as part of the project’s sustainability obligations.  

The project is BIM compliant, necessitating the entire supply chain to deliver the required data. Chris Evans, Associate at Lawray Architects comments: “To meet the BIM level 1 requirements stipulated in the client brief, AluK provided the relevant information which included 3D modelling, clash detection and some intelligence in the model for key elements such as finishes and fittings.”  

In addition to BIM compliance, safety was a top priority when it came to product specification, with Secured by Design (SBD) accreditation required throughout. Initially, the team at Lawray were unable to find a double door with test data available to meet SBD requirements. However, the manufacturer was able to provide the required data by carrying out general testing at their South Wales Research and Development (R&D) facility specifically in regards to the 20N opening force of the door, as required under Building Regulations: Part M, whilst incorporating a thermally broken profile.

The technical team at AluK also provided detailed calculations based on glass specifications that verified compliance with key design criteria of Building Regulations: Part L. To demonstrate further compliance, the team also provided Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) calculations. Chris Evans, Lawray Architects, adds: “We were provided with a project U-value report along with information on AluK’s BREEAM ratings at an early stage which ensured the building criteria was met.”  

The Block 21 phase of the project was completed in May 2015 with the overall development scheduled for completion in April 2016.  

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