Lower Farm Academy Primary School

Watson Batty Architects are working alongside Contractor Tilbury Douglas to deliver a new two form entry primary school. This follows design development and technical design during RIBA stages 2 to 4, working alongside the design team and client.

The school is being delivered by the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) alongside a large-scale residential development and will support the growing pupil population in the area. Accommodating 420 pupils, the entry school will be operated by the REAch2 Academy Trust and will include a 26-place nursery.

Designated as a dedicated school site within a larger housing development, the design closely follows the baseline design standards employed by the ESFA. We applied lessons learned from our other school projects to create a super-efficient floor plan, creating a surplus of non-net floor space which we were able to use to reallocate and enhance areas of the school such as the entrance lobby. This provided additional usable space for the school while staying within the strict gross internal floor area target.

Using BIM practices on the project allowed us to create 3D information early in the project. This was very beneficial when reviewing the design development with the school and the client. Early in the project we were able to show the client 3D views of the internal and external spaces which assisted in the communication of the design intent and allowed the client to easily understand the proposals. It also allowed us to create detailed perspective views which the school were able to share with the prospective new community and future pupils of the school.

The site context and local authority planning requirements dictated a brick-built building. Early in the process it was noted as a project risk that traditional brickwork would not work with the project programme and the sub-contractor supply chain was unreliable. In order to reduce the risk, we looked to use a brick slip system. Our initial investigations removed the risks of a traditional load baring system but proved too costly for the project budget. We therefore spent time looking at a variety of options including looking at removing expensive corner brick slips from window surrounds to bring the construction method within budget.

Client:Clugston Construction
Contractor:Clugston Construction
Service: Architecture
Sector: Learning