Blog: Building Project of the Year +£10m SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Lymington Fields School

21 April 2020

sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Building Project of the Year +£10m SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Lymington Fields School (submitted by Mid Group)

*** Winner! ***

Lymington Fields is Europe’s largest school with over 4,000 pupils once fully occupied, and was handed over 7 months ahead of programme in just 15 months. The client, the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, took the project to market with a RIBA Stage 3 design and received back several unaffordable tenders.  

The adoption of Mid Group’s Manufacturing Led Construction approach allowed Mid Group to sign a contract at £26m, against market tenders of over £35m, with savings of c.£3.5m alone on prelims. This took the project from being unaffordable to deliverable.

Mid Group were appointed following the failed procurement, on the basis that they had delivered a previous project for the same client to the £/m2 anticipated for the Lymington Fields Project. Mid Group were approached to see if the same concepts and components could be used here. 

When the Mid Group took on the Lymington Fields Project, the school already had outline planning in process and public engagement had begun.  Therefore, it would have been impossible to completely redesign the school. However, the design had a number of inherently expensive design components included. The Mid Group engaged Bond Bryan Architects, Price & Myers Structural Engineers and EDP Environmental Engineers to start identifying ways of making the scheme more efficient and deliverable. After a short assessment period, Mid Group were able to confirm to the client that their budget was achievable. This had to be done within the constraints of the existing, outline planning submission, and fully compliant with the DfE Output Specification.  

Despite a later start on-site, an offsite solution allowed the scheme to be delivered 7 months early.

Manufacturing Led Construction

Mid Group uses a Manufacturing Led Construction approach. This adopts the principle of manufacturing as much of the building offsite, bringing only completed components to site and then installing them as quickly as possible. Because the work becomes repetitive, with the same component being used regularly, the process becomes much quicker over time.  

The focus was on identifying the fewest number of components that would enable the delivery of the new school. Each component had to deliver more than one role in the building, be cost-efficient and quick to install to meet the client’s requirements. Components included:

  • VRF units that provided cooling and heating
  • Precast concrete floors that provided a floor, exposed soffit and thermal mass
  • Combined lighting and acoustic rafts, with all sensors incorporated

16 core components were used repetitively throughout the project, delivering economies of scale, but also increased efficiency in installation. The approach also reduces the cost of maintenance. The components were also improved on from one project to the next, with high levels of continuous improvement being realised on Lymington Fields when compared to prior projects. The primary energy usage for this scheme is c.80% of the anticipated level by the Department for Energy. This means in practice that the school will realise a utility saving of c.20% per annum, or approximately £30,000, which can be ploughed back into teaching.  

The project was delivered with an AFR of 0.0, demonstrating that despite the speed, health and safety was not compromised. Further, as most of the work was undertaken offsite, no waste went to landfill from the site.


Russell Taylor, Headteacher said: 

“The Mid Group has delivered us an exceptional School, that less than 2 years ago we thought was condemned to the annals of history. Their tenacity and creativity has resulted in an outstanding and intelligent new teaching environment, that will inspire students for years to come.”


Highlights:

  • This is Europe’s largest school with over 4,000 pupils once fully occupied, and was handed over 7 months ahead of programme in just 15 months.
  • The adoption of Mid Group’s Manufacturing Led Construction approach allowed them to sign a contract at £26m, against market tenders of over £35m, with savings of c.£3.5m alone on prelims. This took the project from being unaffordable to deliverable.
  • The finished product is highly sustainable and future-proofed.  There is no heating system across the school, but comfort cooling is provided throughout, as overheating is the real issue in schools.


About the Building Project of the Year Award - sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

The SECBE Awards team look for outstanding local projects that: demonstrate great team working between the client and entire supply chain; were delivered before the programmed completion date, below the approved cost plan and to quality exceeding expectation whilst delivering the highest of health and safety standards; achieved the lowest environmental impacts; delivered outstanding customer satisfaction and may have also received praise from other stakeholders, and demonstrates the highest levels of the application of best practice, innovation and technical achievement to overcome the project’s challenges.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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