Premier Modular has delivered a new special educational needs facility at Nethergate Academy in Nottingham
The facility is an Ofsted Outstanding special school for children with autism, learning difficulties and disabilities.
The main driver for Nottingham City Council’s decision to use offsite was the essential need to reduce noise and disruption to the children by moving construction work into a factory. The school is sponsored by Greenwood Academies Trust.
The building also had to be delivered to a short programme ready for occupation for the start of the new academic year. To achieve this, Premier continued work on the project through the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The new purpose-designed facilities have expanded the teaching spaces for autistic children and provide 48 new places.
Designed and built by Premier with delivery architects Lungfish, the scheme had to be installed on a constrained site within the fully operational school.
The 710m2 building was fitted out offsite and has high quality pre-installed concrete floors for a robust finish.
Facilities include classrooms for key stages 1 to 4, group therapy rooms with specialist multi-coloured lighting, food technology room, occupational therapy, staff room, and a double-height multi-purpose hall for dining, assemblies and indoor sports – all built using offsite construction.
The design of the facility was developed to meet SEND principles. Walls are constructed for impact resistance; sinks and worktops in the food technology room are height adjustable; daylight can be blacked out for light sensitive therapies and activities, and wider corridors ensure wheelchair access.
A fast-track solution
Sam Simons, team leader at Nottingham City Council, said: “Premier demonstrated an understanding of the issues of constructing a new building in a live SEN environment and performed well.
“The build quality is good and the new facilities have been well received by the school and everyone involved. We needed a fast-track solution to help meet the rising demand for SEND places.
“The children at the school have complex needs and site-based construction was not the best way to proceed because of the noise and vibration levels that would then be generated.
“Moving work offsite and into a factory was, therefore, a huge advantage. The manufacturing processes of modular construction also allowed the building work to continue safely during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“It is definitely easier to manage and maintain social distancing requirements in a factory environment than on site.”