A brand new school in 7 steps - Step 6: Building your school

Reaching the build stage in any development is a massive milestone. Your planning is coming to fruition and the contractors are rolling onto your site. So what should you expect? In this week’s instalment of our school build blog, it’s time to look at building your school

A traditional school build usually takes between eight months and a year, depending on size. For local authorities, such a long lead time can be a real challenge, with school places often needed at short notice, in time for the new academic year.

As we’ve seen, choosing a pre-designed school can make a significant impact on delivery times, speeding up the design, planning and contracting stages. A Sunesis Keynes school, for example, can take as little as 26 weeks to deliver, saving you both time and money.

Even faster off-site construction

But if time is particularly tight, there’s another step you can take. Increasingly, pre-designed schools are being constructed off site and brought to their destination later. This can accelerate your project and minimise disruption on site.

It’s a popular choice where existing schools are being extended, keeping learning areas safe and distraction free. Schools have even been constructed during holidays or in evening shifts.

What timescales can I expect?

Typically, a pre-designed single-form-entry school, constructed off site, could take shape on location in around 12 weeks. When a client was under real time pressure, we even did it in six. Your delivery partners should be able to use their experience to hit your specific targets.

If you’re a local authority…

The build stage should be a fully immersive process and your delivery partner should make sure you are very much involved. As well as regular updates and site visits, if you have opted for off-site construction you should be able to visit the factory where your school’s being created.

Whether you’re building a new school or extending an existing one, the school community will be part of the process too. You’re building it for them, and we find the more they are involved, the happier everyone is with the result.

If you’re a private developer…

The timing of your build is likely to be critical. Again, the pre-designed route and off-site construction can offer a real advantage, enabling you to deliver a school quickly, with minimal disruption to your development.

You can be as involved with the school build as you choose. You may be managing many other priorities, but if you’d like to make site and factory visits, you should have that opportunity. Even though you’re the budget holder, your delivery partner will want to involve the end users of the school too. This helps manage expectations, makes sure needs are met and secures local buy-in.

Step 6 actions:

  * Schedule your build to meet your timescales
  * Discuss options for minimising disruption
  * Consider the benefits of off-site construction
  * Stay involved and available throughout the build
  * Ask questions and raise concerns immediatel

Whether you’re a local authority or a private developer, if you’re weighing up your school build options, at Sunesis we’re ready to help. We’re education specialists with a genuine understanding of the pressures you’re under, and we’re always happy to talk new projects through. If you’d like to find out more, just call us on **07950 717 804 **or email enquiry@sunesis.co.uk.

Next week: Step 7: Handing over Last week: Step 5: Setting up contracts