The design team has now completed workshops, reviews, and detailed design to the stage before construction, that is to say the drawings are being reviewed by the four short-list contractors. Interior design concepts have been discussed with the Girls Task Force (a group of girls across year groups and different houses) to ensure that the main-users, our girls, have had an input to the finishes and practical issues for the spaces in the new building.
Site services and preparation for build
At the school site, investigations to allow for service diversions (water, gas, electrical power and drainage) have been completed, with plans laid for all works required to allow the bulk dig to commence soonest after Commem.
The bursary car-park and tennis courts, which is where the bulk of the building will sit, have been 'red-lined' to show where the rim of the excavations will be, and from this area about 6,500 cubic metres of spoil will be excavated. A large 26 tonne excavator which will carry this out, plus other works to create three more tennis courts, arrived on site with a police escort on 15 June. It is one of only two machines of its type which has a fully computerised satellite auto-drive which will work with a 3D model of the site to excavate with great accuracy.
A new electricity substation near White Lodge is sitting (humming quietly) ready for use after being installed early June. This will be the main electrical supply for the new music school building. Trenches to take the electrical cables to supply the site for temporary contractors’ power supply plus work to the remaining new tennis courts commences week of 19 June. This will include the new haul road access, the cable trenches and the levelling the ground for the three new courts - one of which will be a temporary contractors’ car park from 6 July.
Site fencing and hoarding will also be in place from 19 June in some areas associated with the works above.
The consultants to the team have been pleased to support a 'women in engineering day' at the school by sending 4 female engineers of various disciplines to talk to pupils.
Overall Project Status
Major works have involved co-ordination of gas, electric, water, excavation, sports field works, hoarding, diversions and replacement with new services, plus ground source drilling. Some additional temporary accesses to the Arts and Music building has also been installed.
Bulk dig works have proceeded quicker than anticipated and the current groundworker has been tasked to complete extra works of demolition and complete the surface water attenuation tank.
The new tennis courts will be complete on 16 August but the curing of the tarmac will prevent their use and painting for 3 weeks to 7 September.
The sports fields are being ‘reshaped’ and the intention is to have the fields completed with seeding by mid-September.
During July and August, although there haven’t been any girls at school, the site has been incredibly active with the Arts Centre construction works.
The first Monday after Commem weekend saw several very large machines arrive at the school and commence excavations for the ground to be reduced in level at the site of the new building. Simultaneously, the top-soil from the main sports fields was stripped and piled into huge mounds ready for eventual re-use. Investigations also took place to identify and remove the various electrical cabling, redundant gas pipes, water mains, and data cables, to then replace these with new services which did not conflict with the siting of the new build. Hoarding to protect non-construction staff from the works was slowly erected around the site and painted 'Sherborne Blue'. New water supplies were sourced from the Sherborne high pressure mains, which will feed a new fire-hydrant and the new building.
Using the spoil to level the playing fields saved about 450 lorries taking it out of Sherborne for disposal! As if that's not enough activity, just below the current grass tennis courts south of the main school, 18 boreholes each 150mm (6inches) diameter were drilled to a depth of 150 metres to provide geothermal heated water to heat (and cool) the new building. This means we will not need to use gas to heat and cool the building - truly environmentally efficient! Outside the main site, two new tennis courts were constructed with lighting and marking for tennis and netball to be completed over the next few weeks.
The main bulk dig and groundworks has been carried out by a local firm, Gartell & Son, from near Templecombe.
The final step to take the whole project into the 'Construction Phase' is in the process of being completed; we are negotiating with our preferred contractor and hope to sign a contract within the next couple of weeks. Construction will begin in October.
So, whilst the school has been on holiday, a great deal has been going on. Most of the noisy and messy work has been completed before the start of what is going to be an exciting term in readying the project for the erection of the new building.
Mike Hayton, Project Manager
Main Contractor Selected
The most significant step this month was the selection of Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd. (Poole Office) as Main Contractor for the works. This followed a tender process where Morgan Sindall (MS) offered the best set of proposals in cost and process terms and the contract has been signed between the school and MS. Morgan Sindall have significant experience in the education sector and will start on site on 23rd October once they have mobilised.
Timber Construction Specialist Company Appointed
The cross laminated timber (CLT) building contract was also signed with Bowmer & Kirkland (B&K) from Rugby. B&K are one of three UK based CLT specialists. The technique involves prefabricated timber sections and beams, including glulam beams, designed to tight tolerances and specifications shipped to site on a ‘just in time’ basis. The result will be a building shell and floors that will be erected in approximately 10 weeks from around March 2018.
Sports Pitches Seeded
The weather at the end of September with mixed showers and sunshine caused ‘sticky’ ground conditions and prevented the seed drilling of the pitches. However, after aerating the ground the nearly three quarters of a tonne of grass seed required was sown in the last days of September. The pitches will not be ready for use until mid 2018 depending on ground conditions and growth.
New Tennis Courts
The fencing and lighting arrays for the new tennis courts were completed and temporary markings will be installed in October to allow for play during the winter. However, the marking will be completed with full tennis base-green in the Spring.
The building design is complete and apart from interior design features the scheme is ‘frozen’ with all but the landscaping immediately around the building to be defined in more detail.
Programme and Site works
- Main Contractor Appointment. Following Morgan Sindall’s (MS) appointment as Main Contractor (MC) works to advance the site with drainage and foundations have continued.
- Site Hand-over. A full joint site inspection took place at close of works on Friday 27th October between the School and MS, plus the ground-workers Surveyor to agree works completed up to that point. Responsibility for the site was then formally accepted by MS. It was good to have a very positive acknowledgement by MS of the clear and detailed site and service completions carried out, plus an accelerated position with drainage enabling a rapid switch of full responsibility to MS as MC.
- Foundations in rock. Included in the above pre-MC takeover was a resolution to difficulties in w.c 23rd October, when rock formations were encountered in the last 500mm of the foundations dig over approximately 35% of the site. A local Geo-Engineer was brought in to assess the matter and with SG’s consultant Structural Engineer the foundations in some areas were reduced because of the stronger sub-surface conditions. Unfortunately, a knock-on effect of this is the additional noise near the school for the period of ten days in grinding out the rock.
Design co-ordination and build sequencing
- ‘Build it in a day’ – event. MS co-ordinated and ran a ‘Build it in a Day’ event in Poole on 31st October where MS, all main sub-contractors, the current design team, ground-worker, construction advisor, Quantity Surveyor, MS Procurement and site staff, were able, in slow time with individual presentations, to go through the build process and ensure everyone had the opportunity to understand the complexities and quirks of the building. This led to some issues being quickly identified and plans put in place to resolve them. The result was a highly detailed and comprehensive review of the build process and this will improve the chances of a trouble-free construction period.
Landscaping & Further Groundworks
- A further excavation of the slope to the east of the main site has taken place to avoid any conflict which would prevent access to this side of the building for construction. The resulting spoil will be held in reserve until the ‘fill’ for the areas to the north and west of the building is required. This has led to an earth mound at the edge off the sports pitches.The sports fields are looking wonderfully level and green. Maintenance of the pitches through to May/June will be carried out by the groundworker; the School’s grounds department will take over responsibility at the end of the Trinity term.
New Tennis Courts
- The LED lighting arrays for the new tennis courts were completed and temporary markings installed in October to allow for play throughout the winter.