Education: Schools and Academies

Education buildings can represent the most challenging fire safety projects, and the critical success factors to enable design excellence and best value for money would typically include:

  • Addressing property protection and business continuity aspects, and general compliance strategy for BB100 for schools.
  • Open-ness of design (atria, large compartments).
  • Smoke control systems, to enable smoke retardant construction and toughened glazing to achieve fire compartmentation performance, or to enable open balcony escape.
  • Extended travel distance and use of accommodation stairs for escape.
  • Choice of evacuation strategy. Progressive Horizontal Evacuation may enable best management of any evacuation, especially beneficial for special needs students and disabled persons.
  • Strategy for means of escape for disabled persons and coordination with the management of evacuation for the facility.
  • Cost-benefit analysis of sprinklered, partially-sprinklered, and non-sprinklered options.
    Integration of fire strategy with building service’s environmental strategy, particularly relevant for natural ventilation and low-energy solutions.
  • Integration of security and escape, and development of engineered fire alarm systems (BS 5839 L5 standard); particularly relevant in the design for partial-occupation situations e.g. where areas of the school are occupied (e.g. let for third-party/out of hours purposes) whilst remainder of school is unoccupied.
  • Account for effect of construction on any existing facilities and for any phasing of occupation.
  • Fire service access and firefighting
    Negotiation with Building Regulations body and Fire Authority, to ensure an efficient approvals process and enable confident progression of the design

Notable projects include:

  • Pimlico School PFI (PB) £15M [Costain] (Ellis Williams)
  • Hackney (Bridge) Academy (Traditional) c£20M [DCSF] (BDP)
    SCALA* Civic Building of the Year Award, 2009 ACE Engineering Excellence Award 2009, Bentley Success Award (Best use of BIM) 2006
  • Ealing Schools PFI c£75M (FC): [DCSF] (Seymour Harris Keppie)
    Brentside High School; Gifford School; Ravenor School, Downe Manor Primary School
  • North Tyneside Schools PFI c£70M (FC) [DCSF] (Seymour Harris Keppie):
    Marine Park First School, Coquet Park First School, Western Community Primary School, Burnside Community High School
  • Leigh Academy (Traditional) c£20M [DCSF] (BDP)
  • Unity College Peterborough (Traditional) £9m [Diocese of Peterborough] (Saunders Boston)
  • Manchester Schools BSF £250M, including review of 10 years Manchester schools fire data to develop case for omission of sprinklers, development of Manchester’s strategy for means of escape for disabled pupils. Specific input on schools including: Gorten Education Village (Best Healthy Learning Environment category at the 2009 British Council for School Environments (BCSE)), King David’s, Our Ladys RC and associated SEN Levenshulme & Acacias Abraham Moss Digital Communication Academy Brookway - Health Academy, St Matthews, Newall Green [BBCL, Laing O’Rourke] (AEDAS, Ellis Williams, & Walker Simpson)
  • Liverpool Schools BSF: £50M Gateacre & Hope [BBCL] (BDP)