Blog: Building Project of the Year under £10m SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Hailsham Primary Academy

11 May 2020

sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Building Project of the Year under £10m SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Hailsham Primary Academy (submitted by Morgan Sindall)

*** Winner! ***

A collaborative, open and honest approach was taken by Morgan Sindall and all the project team, starting at pre-construction, through construction and now into the aftercare period of the Hailsham Primary Academy project.

Understanding the client’s requirements, key drivers and values was identified as key for success by the Morgan Sindall team. Early collaborative engagement with the client meant these factors were understood and the project delivered. A detailed ‘Exceptional Customer Experience Plan’ (ECEP) was developed to identify how and where the Morgan Sindall team could ensure the project exceeded expectations.

Morgan Sindall explored various avenues to try and ensure the best programme outcome was achieved. These efforts resulted in the initial phase 1 handover being achieved 6 weeks early. An achievement that meant pupils and staff of the school were able to move into a completed section of their brand-new building for the start of the September term. This also meant the installation of temporary classrooms originally planned was not needed - a great boost to the new school and its pupils, as they had expected to spend the first 6 weeks of term in temporary accommodation on site. Through a combination of extensive and detailed planning, best practice quality control, excellent SHE standards and a collaborative and focussed approach from all those involved, the project was completed 11 weeks ahead of schedule, in a total time frame of just 44 weeks.

Morgan Sindall also actively engaged in helping the academy market a brand-new primary school to prospective parents with no school to show yet. Time was given attending school open evenings to talk about the project, and site tours for prospective parents were carried out during the construction phase, to assist the academy in ‘selling’ the school. The outcome was a full intake of pupils for its first start of term.

High Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) performance and providing all those working on-site with a work environment less like a ‘construction site’ and more like a permanent place of work was another key focus of the team. The project was completed with zero RIDDOR incidents, zero ‘near misses’, zero ‘dangerous occurrences’ and zero ‘service strikes. The site facilities were of a high standard with a score of 44 from the Considerate Constructors Scheme.  

The utilisation of an MMC brought with it substantial environmental benefits, including greatly reduced waste created, reduced mileage travelled for both operatives and deliveries resulting in reduced  COemissions over traditional forms of construction. There was extensive waste segregation carried out on-site with six different waste streams segregated helping to achieve 96% diversion from landfill. All site plant was either specified as electric or fitted with CO2 filters to the exhaust system to improve air quality. An estimated saving of 84,078 miles and 145.2t of CO2 was achieved by utilising MMC. This was estimated by calculating and comparing the amount and distance travelled for deliveries to and from the site and comparing the amount and distance travelled for operatives involved. This figure was also supplemented by a car-sharing scheme and by conducting site meetings online.

Key challenges

The modular contractor was a German-based company with its factory in Germany. The system formed a substantial part of the project, so pre-delivery quality checks were carried out to ensure that the panel process was in progress and on track. 

On previous projects with other constructors, Streif had installed floor and roof cassettes via a harness and lanyard from the crane block. On this project, the team wanted to eliminate the need to use a harness and lanyard. A bespoke handrail system was developed so that a handrail could be installed at ground level, prior to a cassette being lifted and was in place when it was landed on the structure, meaning no leading edges were present to those operatives fixing into place. The solution was greatly received by all and Streif has now adopted this handrail solution on all their projects going forward.

Another challenge faced during construction was that all surface water was designed to discharge into an attenuation pond, formed as part of the project, and then discharge into a watercourse. Extreme care and control were required to not contaminate the watercourse. To control this, a ‘pollution prevention plan’ was developed - a series of removable filters were set up in the permanent SW drainage system and gulley guards in all drainage outlets. The surface water in both the attenuation pond and in the watercourse, both upstream and downstream was inspected and tested twice a day to ensure no contamination was occurring. This continued throughout the project and resulted in no environmental incidents occurring.


  • Project Completed 11 weeks ahead of schedule in a total of 44 weeks, with the initial phase handed over 6 weeks early, meaning pupils could start the new term in the brand-new school rather than the temporary accommodation planned.
  • Excellent levels of collaboration and teamwork demonstrated throughout the project and with all parties, including supply chain, client, end-user, and all stakeholders.
  • Project saved 145t CO & reduced waste created by 39% using MMC and other site-specific schemes.

About the Building Project of the Year Award:

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

Recent Blog Posts

Online event: Why wouldn’t you work collaboratively?
18 June 2021
Thursday 1 July | 11:00 | 45 mins
Read More

Online event: SME - industry disrupter?
18 June 2021
Thursday 1 July | 11:00 | 45 mins
Read More

Online event: Customer satisfaction – accident or design?
18 June 2021
Thursday 1 July | 12:00 | 45 mins
Read More