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View of the front of the Rockwood Academy School building showing grey patterned cladding

Rockwood Academy

Morgan Sindall Construction worked in partnership with Acivico to complete the expansion of the existing Rockwood Academy school.

Key Stats

450 School places

10 classrooms

2,200 square foot building

Procured via the Constructing West Midlands Framework

At a Glance

Client

Birmingham City Council Acivico

Budget

£14 million

Timing

66 weeks

Location

Birmingham

Year

October 2020

Sector

Education

Introduction

Morgan Sindall Construction worked in partnership with Acivico to complete the expansion of the existing Rockwood Academy school. Despite challenges faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the team have completed the project adhering to the programme. It was identified by the Education Department that two schools required expansion to support school places for the community. The expansion increased school places from 648 to 1050 places, an increase of almost 450 places. The work was funded through the Birmingham City Council Capital Education and procured through the Constructing West Midlands framework.

The scope of works for the school included the assembly of a two-storey 2,200 square foot building, whilst commissioning demolition of the old administration building at the entrance of the school. There have been an additional ten classrooms built, a new library, additional science labs, a drama studio, extensive external landscaping and a new multi-use games facility. A new atrium and social space have also been added.

All these facilities will aid the experience for the secondary school students and give them a working environment to successfully thrive in.

Our approach

Traditionally, brick material would be used for the external walls however the team opted for corium brick-cladding system. This cladding comprises brick slip tiles which are specially manufactured to clip into a steel backing section. The main structural frame used an offsite modular structural insulated panel system (SIPS) which is innovative and provides superior quality. The SIPS panels are one of the most thermally efficient methods of construction, and by opting for this innovative method of construction the team managed to maintain programme and reduce risk which was hugely important with the COVID-19 pandemic.

These construction techniques have enabled the project to be as cost effective as possible whilst being efficient and improving sustainability. The overall design is more aesthetically pleasing which is a massive benefit for the customer.

Challenges were faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic when construction was disrupted early in the year. Morgan Sindall Construction worked quickly to ensure that social distancing measures were applied consistently throughout the supply chain, meaning work could restart safely and meet the agreed completion date.

Social impact

During the expansion of Rockwood Academy, Acivico and Morgan Sindall Construction produced a social action plan and ensured the work supported the local economy. This included the use of a local construction supply chain as well as working closely with nearby community groups and charitable organisations to create jobs and work experience opportunities for local people.

Adrian Packer CBE, CEO of the Core Education Trust: The first thing about Morgan Sindall Construction is the consistency and the fact they want to deliver a school that works for us – it stood out for me because I think they care. I really do.

Our experience with Morgan Sindall Construction is that fundamentally it’s the people process and I like that because, as an educationalist, I’d like our children to aspire to get into the construction industry because it is about people and the difference you can make to people’s lives. Rockwood is doing that – what we have now is a dynamo to accelerate as this beacon of civic engagement in that it will be a fundamental part of the community.

So that's the key I think - if there's if there's a single message around all of this, for me, I have experienced a palpable sense of this mattering. It matters to me that it matters to you and that works because your approach then engenders that sense of what a building can mean to its community. That's why I sense this was about people. This was a shared endeavour. I don't just see a building, I see the people who worked for this and the people who will benefit from this, which is perfect.

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