Offsite assembly keeps academy on track

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services’ (BBES) offsite prefabrication of key mechanical and electrical (M&E) components has helped a new academy stay on track by offering build process efficiencies and reduction in waste, whilst creating a safer place to work.

Designed by Ryder Architecture, Josephine Butler Academy forms one of nine campuses for the Northumberland Church of England Academy and is part of Northumberland County Council’s objective to transform education for young people and the wider community. The overall project has seen the construction or refurbishment of educational facilities that cater for more than 3,000 children in the area and the completion of Josephine Butler Academy marks the end of a £51m educational rebuilding programme.

Main contractor Kier Construction appointed BBES to design, supply and install the mechanical, electrical and public health services for the new academy, which is the biggest single new build school contract in the national academies framework and the first all-age academy covering multiple sites in the UK.

Sustainable design

As part of the project a range of sustainable building elements have been incorporated including rainwater harvesting for supplying flushing water to the numerous toilets, automatic lighting control to save energy and biomass boilers fuelled by wood chips sourced from the Northumberland forest plantations.

To provide a more efficient and safer way of delivering the scheme, BBES utilised its Modular Systems + facility, one of the UK’s largest offsite fabrication facilities. A range of components for the project were assembled offsite, including multi-service modules, plant skids and packaged pre-wired air handling units.

As well as helping to reduce hours on site, factory controlled assembly offers a much safer approach to construction. It also helps to significantly reduce waste whilst maximising quality control. Together, this approach enables BBES to offer projects, such as Josephine Butler Academy, a more sustainable approach to building services delivery.

With the prefabricated components delivered to site for efficient and safe installation, BBES has helped ensure the £6.45 million M&E package for the Josephine Butler Academy has been delivered on time.

Now complete, the multi storey, 19,232sq metre academy accommodates a primary school for 472 pupils, including a 52-place nursery, a secondary school for 1,300 pupils and an all age (3-19 years) Special Education Needs facility for 102 pupils.

With the new academy open, the existing school is due to be demolished and replaced with extensive sports and recreational facilities including an athletics track, rugby pitch, games courts, gardens, play areas and a hydrotherapy pool. The crowning glory will be 12 football pitches embracing the legacy left by local football heroes Sir Bobby Charlton, his brother Jackie Charlton and Jackie Milburn.

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