Category Archives: construction

School Development Project Completes at Henlow

Monday, October 15th, 2018

A significant school development project has just completed at Henlow Church of England Academy to the delight of staff and pupils. PCMS Design was involved from the very outset, taking the Academy from feasibility stage when we examined the potential of providing extra accommodation on site, through to pre-planning, detailed design and specification and then lastly the construction management of the project.

The new building provides a modern four-court sports hall with changing areas, and six classrooms in an attached block. Pupils will be able to benefit from a range of sports including netball, badminton, basketball, hockey and five-a-side football. A giant projector with screen has been installed so the school can use the hall for assemblies and other teaching events. The facilities will be available to hire by the wider community.

Six new humanities and language classrooms provide the latest in educational technology with interactive whiteboards in each. Creating a bright and comfortable teaching environment has been a priority; the classrooms have been designed to meet the space and facility requirements set out by the Department for Education and include fibre optic links, Wi-Fi coverage as well as the latest modern security and fire systems.

This £2.4 million investment in Henlow Church of England Academy’s site was funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and the Education & Skills Funding Agency. Site construction works were completed on time and to budget by Borras Construction Limited.

Head teacher Caren Earp is thrilled with the new facilities: “A big thank you to PCMS Design – with all of their support, design skills and project management expertise we now have a fantastic new building which is going to be of huge benefit to our children, increasing the number and range of opportunities for sport that we can now offer.”

Alex Bond of PCMS Design commented: “We feel very privileged to have been involved with this exciting site development project at Henlow Academy. Effective communication between the design team, local authority staff, specialist consultants, builders and their sub-contractors was the key to its successful completion, ready for the new school year.”

Some of the partners and suppliers involved with the Henlow Church of England Academy project:
 Curved standing seam zinc roof on the sports hall by VMZinc: www.vmzinc.co.uk
 Akusto Impact resistant acoustic panelling in the sports hall by Ecophon: www.ecophon.com/uk
 Sports hall floor installation by Dynamik: www.dynamiksportsfloors.co.uk
 External cladding to the sports hall by Kingspan: www.kingspan.com
 Performance spec for M&E installation  BSD Consulting Engineers: www.bsdconsulting.com
 Main Contractor: www.borrasconstruction.co.uk

 

New Modular Classrooms are Lifted In!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

It was exciting last week to be present at the lifting in of a new modular double classroom unit at Maple Tree Lower School in Sandy. The classrooms have been constructed off-site in a specialist factory, which has considerably speeded up the construction and delivery time. From signing contracts with the modular company to installation on site has been a matter of weeks rather than months, and the two classrooms will be up and running towards the end of September.

The ‘bays’ arrive with many fixtures and fittings already installed including walls, doors and ceilings – many already finished off with their final decorated surfaces. Sinks, sanitary ware and WC cubicles are also fitted at the factory, along with external wall finishes such as cedar cladding. The bays are simply craned into position on pre-prepared foundations and bolted into place.

Weather conditions were perfect for the installation which all went according to plan. Head Teacher Cath Bainbridge was on site at the time, and was full of praise for the speed and efficiency of the installation: “These new classrooms will be used by our pre-school and nursery children, and I am thrilled by the quality of the finish, and how quickly you have delivered this project for us.”

Extension to Family Home

Friday, July 27th, 2018

We have recently managed the construction of a part two-storey and part single-storey rear extension to a family home in Buckinghamshire. Our clients had already received planning permission for the scheme, but needed assistance with producing construction drawings, finding suitable builders and then administering a building contract.

On the first floor, a new master bedroom was added with an en suite bathroom. Downstairs the extension has allowed not only for a large open plan kitchen / breakfast room with folding doors into the garden, but also a useful utility and storage room.

Everything ran very smoothly and finished on time and within budget. Our clients are delighted with their larger home: “PCMS Design’s assistance in liaising with the building firm and administering the contract was invaluable, and everyone worked together really well. We could highly recommend this service to others in a similar situation.”

Family home transformed by new kitchen

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Residential clients have recently completed a project to extend and improve their kitchen after using our design and planning application service. The old kitchen/breakfast room was relatively small and had an awkward configuration. We suggested firstly creating an opening through to the adjacent double garage to integrate some of the space, and secondly the construction of a small rear single storey extension. Though relatively modest in scope, the design scheme has allowed for the creation of a much larger usable space. Modern grey kitchen units and a combination of a marble-topped central island with cream work tops make for a stunning finish.

Large sliding doors were installed in the rear extension leading into the back garden, and the garage door to the front elevation has been replaced by a small window which gives the appearance of having always been there.

The homeowner is absolutely thrilled with the finished result and the new kitchen has already drawn many compliments from friends and family!

Planning Permission Secured for Village Dwelling

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Residents in a village not far from our office have recently secured planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council for a series of improvements to their home. This is an interesting example of how a series of proposals can be conveniently rolled up into one planning application.

Consented changes include a partial conversion of the integral garage to create a new utility space, a series of alterations to the walls and doors within the ground floor of the house to open up the space, and lastly conversion of an annexe outbuilding into guest accommodation. 3-D visualisations helped the homeowners to realise the potential for each of the interior spaces.

It’s not always appreciated that a series of desired home improvements can be combined together into one application, but there are advantages as this can save on planning fees and administration time. Homeowners usually have up to three years to start on the construction works, but providing some elements have already been completed they can decide to carry out the remainder at a later stage.

In the case of this village project, it is hoped that works can begin on each of the elements later this year.

 

Successful Bid for CIF Funding!

Friday, April 6th, 2018

On the last day of term, one of our academy clients received excellent news: Government funding has been granted for the construction of two permanent build new classrooms. These will replace an aging 2-class modular unit, and will form part of a large site development project which is currently under construction.

One of the services we offer is the preparation of CIF (Condition Improvement Fund) bids for academies and sixth form colleges for capital works. Bids can be made for projects such as new roofing, heating systems, windows and doors, and also for capital projects such as replacement or refurbishment of classrooms.

Bids to the Condition Improvement Fund are always over-subscribed and the priority is to address significant condition need, and particularly to maintain safe and healthy school sites. A strong case has to be made to the Education & Skills Funding Agency to guarantee success.

The next round of CIF bid funding for 2019/20 projects should take place this autumn, but we can offer advice on how we can assist with your bid year round. If you are an academy or sixth form college, please get in touch for further information.

Residential Extension Gets Off the Ground

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Work has recently begun on a new part two-storey, part single storey rear extension for a residential client in Buckinghamshire. The aspiration for this 3-bedroom semi-detached dwelling is to create a new first floor master bedroom and a larger open plan kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, which will be achieved by removing an outdated conservatory and replacing it with a modern, light extension.

The homeowners approached us to produce the construction drawings, specification and to administer the process of obtaining and evaluating quotes from suitably qualified local builders.

Materials such as roof tiles and bricks are to match the original dwelling and there will be a zinc roof on the single storey element. Party Wall matters have also been dealt with.

We anticipate that the extension will be completed by the end of May.

 

Construction Begins at Henlow Academy

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

We reached an important milestone last week when members of our team made the first site visit to a new development project at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire. This is following our successful application to Central Bedfordshire Council for planning permission on behalf of the Academy, to a building design we had produced.

Construction has begun on a four-court sports hall and new classrooms, which will form the cornerstone of a larger site development project. We have already overseen the construction of a link extension and internal alterations to the main building in 2017, but the Academy will benefit still further from the latest increase in sports provision and additional teaching space.

The principal contractor, Borras Construction, has made a start on foundation trenches with the first inspection completed by Central Bedfordshire Council Building Control. We are looking forward to seeing progress as we oversee the construction throughout the nine month build period.

Extra Parking for Residents

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Thame & District Housing Association is a Registered Social Landlord which provides rented accommodation for people over 60 years of age. Pearce Court in Thame is a very popular residential development with a number of flats and some recreational/shared space. However, over the years it became clear that there was insufficient parking for residents as more people run their own cars, or have visitors arriving by car.

As the Housing Association had already secured planning permission for enlarging the car park, our role was to procure suitable construction firms and then subsequently project manage the works. We also carried out the contract administration.

If you have a similar project that would benefit from some professional management, then we would be very happy to discuss it – you may be surprised at how we can add value and take away a lot of the stresses of construction projects of any kind, not just extensions and new builds

New Lodge Classroom

Friday, October 27th, 2017

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We have recently completed our second project on the site of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Caddington. The school was seeking to provide extra accommodation for some of the pupils as a break-out space. Our suggestion was a neat single classroom unit in the form of a timber lodge, with a simple internal space suitable for teaching smaller groups. Fit-out costs were kept to a minimum, and the building is kept warm with electric storage heaters, avoiding the need for expensive service connections.

In addition, the lodge is environmentally-friendly with the use of a timber frame, cladding and recycled building products, as well as low energy lighting. Construction firm JET Construction were respectful and efficient, as well as accommodating last minute requests from the client, creating a well-finished learning environment.

The school is delighted with the new lodge building, and is already seeing the benefits of having the extra independent classroom space.