Wernick Buildings recently completed a new classroom block for Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in Aylesbury. We sat down with Assistant Head Ian Bryant to discuss the project.
Why was a new building required?
Part of the school’s strategic plan was to grow student numbers across all year groups. This had both financial and space implications – we could not achieve our objectives without gaining funding and using this to provided additional facilities for teaching and learning.
Why did you choose a modular building?
We aim to deliver the best value for the funds provided to us, and modular buildings deliver this compared to a traditional build. The cost per square metre is well below the Department for Education guidelines and this enabled us to have the space we wanted within the funding made available.
We had previous experience of modular building having erected both a building with classrooms and a more specialist facility for teaching dance. Both these, built in 2011 (by Wernick Buildings, as it happens) have delivered as required, and as a result our confidence in this type of building was high.
Apart from the value for money that modular buildings provide, the build timetable is also much shorter than for a traditional building. Therefore the impact on the school operation is minimised and that is to be welcomed.
Why choose Wernick Buildings?
We held a full, independently reviewed tender process, and Wernick Buildings met the criteria required at the lowest cost. As a school, we were happy with this result as having worked with company previously we knew we would get what we wanted within the agreed budget.
Are you happy with the new building?
We have a new building exactly as we wanted. It was delivered on budget, on time, and to the standard we wanted – so we are pleased with the result.
Has the building met your expectations?
The new building meets our expectations. It houses 9 standard class rooms (some of which can have a central partition removed to create larger spaces), an IT suite, a large sixth form study area incorporating an IT area and a catering facility, a kitchen, offices, toilet areas, and space for lockers. All areas have sufficient light and incorporate ceiling mounted heat/cool units (and so remove the need for radiators). All movement areas have non-slip flooring that continues up the walls to minimise the impact of scuffs from pupils bags (a continual problem that all schools will be familiar with).
The quality of the build, including the surrounding courtyard area, are to a high standard, as we would expect from our previous experience of working with Wernick.
What are the first impressions by pupils and staff?
Pupils and staff have been delighted by the new building, though not surprised as they have had positive experience with previous Wernick buildings. Of course we have incorporated certain design improvements in the five years since the last building was erected by Wernick – some from them and some from our own operational experience.
Were you happy with the service provided by the Wernick Buildings team?
Wernick Buildings were professional and responsive throughout the initial discussions, the tender process, the contract finalisation and the build timetable. This has continued since we took possession of the new building when any minor queries or questions have been quickly resolved. Should we have future building requirements we would have no hesitation in working with the company again.
Can you give examples of how team members were particularly helpful?
When we in the very initial stages of the project prior to obtaining funding (about two years prior to building commencing), Wernick were able to provide us information that assisted us to assess the projects viability. This was offered without any commitments on our part or any financial gain on the part of Wernick.
Once the tender process was completed and Wernick were appointed, named individuals for key areas – site management, project management, etc – were available when required. This ensured that any queries were resolved without delay and therefore without costs being incurred. The on site management was responsive throughout the building project, working with us to ensure the impact on the operation of the school was minimised.
Would you recommend a modular build for another school?
Absolutely, and without reservation. We now have three modular buildings on site, each delivers what we want at a cost to build far below traditional builds.
Unfortunately, in the UK there appears to be some ill-informed perceptions that modular buildings are somehow inferior to traditional building methods. If you look across Europe and North America, modular buildings have been widely and successfully used for many, many years. They incorporate the latest materials, provide flexibility in design, offer high levels of energy conservation, are quick to erect, are cost effective and provide long term solutions.
Click here to find out more about Wernick modular classrooms.