Offsite construction specialist, Premier Modular, has delivered a new £2m special educational needs facility at Nethergate Academy in Nottingham – an Ofsted Outstanding special school for children with autism, learning difficulties and disabilities. The school is sponsored by Greenwood Academies Trust.
The main driver for Nottingham City Council’s decision to use offsite was the essential need to reduce noise and disruption to the children by moving construction work into a factory. The building also had to be delivered to a short programme ready for occupation for the start of the new academic year. To achieve this, Premier continued work on the project through the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The new purpose-designed facilities have expanded the teaching spaces for autistic children and provide 48 new places.
Designed and built by Premier with delivery architects Lungfish, the scheme had to be installed on a constrained site within the fully operational school. Careful logistics planning and traffic management ensured access to the school was maintained throughout the construction programme. Cranage of the modules was also timed for the school holidays to further minimise disruption.
Commenting on the project, Sam Simons, Team Leader at Nottingham City Council said: “Premier demonstrated an understanding of the issues of constructing a new building in a live SEN environment and performed well. The build quality is good and the new facilities have been well received by the school and everyone involved. We needed a fast-track solution to help meet the rising demand for SEND places.”
“The children at the school have complex needs and site-based construction was not the best way to proceed because of the noise and vibration levels that would then be generated. Moving work offsite and into a factory was therefore a huge advantage. The manufacturing processes of modular construction also allowed the building work to continue safely during the COVID-19 lockdown. It is definitely easier to manage and maintain social distancing requirements in a factory environment than on site.”
Tracey Ydlibi, Executive Principal at Nethergate Academy said: “Premier Modular was sensitive to the need for us to continue the day-to-day operation of the Academy and was able to complete the build with minimum disruption. Their team has produced a wonderful, purpose-built facility which will enable us to continue to provide the best possible educational experience and further meet the needs of autistic children with complex needs.”
Craig Taylor, Associate Director at Lungfish Architects, said: “The demand for offsite construction continues to grow and this project proves why. The Premier building system gives us a high level of design flexibility which ultimately improves the finished building in both aesthetics and functionality, and particularly when creating a learning environment to support SEN. We collaborated on the design with Premier to help deliver a new facility that will undoubtedly prove to be an invaluable addition to the academy and the community.”
“We have been impressed with Premier and in particular how their concrete floor system is ideally suited to education buildings.”
The 710m2 building was fitted out offsite and has high quality pre-installed concrete floors for a robust finish. Facilities include classrooms for key stages 1 to 4, group therapy rooms with specialist multi-coloured lighting, food technology room, occupational therapy, staff room, and a double-height multi-purpose hall for dining, assemblies and indoor sports – all built using offsite construction.
The design of the facility was developed to meet SEND principles. Walls are constructed for impact resistance; sinks and worktops in the food technology room are height adjustable; daylight can be blacked out for light sensitive therapies and activities, and wider corridors ensure wheelchair access.
Premier Modular is one of the leading and longest-established offsite specialists in the UK and has an impressive track record in the education sector, including special educational needs. Premier provides bespoke offsite solutions to fulfil almost any application, site and design for schools, academies and sixth form colleges. It also supplies temporary modular buildings for decant and bulge classrooms.