Ramboll is working with the contractor Balfour Beatty, under a design & build contract, to deliver five school projects in the UK counties of Essex and Norfolk. The scheme, which is due for completion in 2014, is the latest in our five-year working relationship with Balfour Beatty, with whom we have completed more than ten school developments, including work on the Building Schools for the Future government initiative. For this new scheme, collectively known as Ormiston Academies Trust, Ramboll's engineers and consultants are providing a full range of services.
The five academies are publicly-funded independent schools, teaching children aged between 11 and18. The Gateway, Park and Rivers Academies are located in Essex, and the Venture and Victory Academies are in Norfolk. In 2006, Gateway Academy became the first to be sponsored by our client, the Ormiston Academies Trust — a national charity dedicated to improving the life-chances of children and young people, which now sponsors 18 schools in England.
New buildings are to be constructed at Gateway and Park Academies, and a combination of new-build and refurbishment work is being undertaken at the other three. Construction is underway at Victory Academy on a new three-storey structure founded on continuous flight augur piles, supporting a ground bearing floor slab at ground level. The site is in a flood risk area.
In general, the new buildings are two- or three-storey steel frame with composite concrete floors and a mixture of brick, composite and glazed external wall treatments. The roofs are framed in lightweight steel, braced horizontally. The flexibility of classroom layouts is optimised by the more than seven m spans provided between columns. The sports halls in the scheme have clear spans up to 18m.
All five academies are aiming for zero carbon emissions by 2016. To help achieve this, our building services engineers have developed innovative energy strategies for the meeting of carbon reduction targets and to deliver significant savings on running costs. In addressing the technical challenges presented by the varied elements of the scheme, we are providing design solutions that meet the stringent time and budget constraints that apply to each school.
Image: Nicholas Hare Architects