London Bridge-based Civil & Structural engineering firm Lyons O’Neill has been enlisted as lead Civil & Structural engineers at St Nicholas SEN School, a community day school for children with complex learning difficulties in Purley. The project will provide a new school building to make way for new and improved facilities and increased student capacites, and is due for completion in April 2020.
The new building has been constructed within the site of the existing school, which has remained in operation throughout the building works. The final phase of construction will see through the completion of the final elements of the build, which include the demolition of the existing school buildings and landscaping to provide new play areas, outdoor learning environments and car parking.
This follows on from a 2 years of design and construction, which have involved a new sustainable drainage strategy for the site and the careful design and sequencing of the substructure and superstructure. Throughout this process, Lyons O’Neill has faced a number of challenges as a result of the school’s phased occupancy, and has been tasked with navigating the site’s steep terrain and the protected trees it houses.
In addressing these challenges, the firm has developed the site’s below ground drainage and enabling works. This infiltration system has been designed to attenuate and discharge surface water from the site to the water table to ensure the maintenance of the building operates as sustainably as possible, and mitigates any future water challenges.
The building has also benefited from a braced steel frame and precast hollowcore decks. This choice has proven to be cost-effective, and has facilitated an accelerated installation time; crucially keeping any disruption to an absolute minimum.
Building information modelling (BIM) processes have been employed throughout the design and construction sequence. These drawing and digital modelling techniques have proven instrumental in developing and communicating designs with all actors involved; helping digest a complex site and visualise all stages of the building sequence; right up to its final form.
Kevin Lyons, Director of Lyons O’Neill commented;
“We are delighted with the progress at St Nicholas SEN School and look forward to its completion in April. Education projects often come with their own unique challenges and we know that futureproofing our designs and our approach is essential in such environments.
“For this reason, I credit the thorough coordination into the construction sequencing and methodology in helping us achieve so much in such a small time frame.”