Palmerston School, based in Liverpool, provides education to 11-19 year olds with profound learning difficulties. Palmerston identified a need for a new school building as staff and pupils were hampered by the lack of outdoor space and modern learning facilities. The former Aigburth High secondary school site was selected on which to construct its new £7m facility.
The new T-shaped single storey building includes a sports and dining hall plus a new hydrotherapy and splash pool together with sensory learning spaces. There is also a five-a-side football pitch and four-lane grass running track around the pitch perimeter. The project started in April 2016 and is due for completion summer 2017 when pupils will move from the existing location in Woolton to Minehead Road in the Aigburth area of Liverpool.
Originally planned as a timber frame construction, the main contractor asked voestalpine Metsec plc to review the school design and see whether a load bearing steel frame solution (SFS) could be offered. Taking a consultative approach, Metsec was able to advise the main contractors on the layout, and worked in conjunction with installers, local company Mark One.
As the first tier 2 designer and manufacturer certified to BIM Level 2 for Design and Construction in the UK by the BSI, Metsec used its BIM capabilities within the design stages to provide detailed plans and costings. Metsec was required on-site from the start of the project, completing the steel framing in the summer of 2016.
Designing the SFS solution for Palmerston School using Revit, Metsec attended regular main contractor team meetings with the BIM model, allowing any issues to be resolved in advance of the build. By using BIM, the project benefitted from a reduced timing programme and no waste, both providing subsequent cost savings.
The blueprint of the school building presented several structural challenges, but were all incorporated into the BIM model from Metsec, including the design aspects of the roof. Studs within the joisted roof were extended out to overhang the external walls in order to create the overhang desired. Another roofing design requirement within the structure was a duo pitched roof. To enable the sloping element, Metsec used longer stud sections of a high gauge to accommodate the longer spans required and the larger load placed on the studs.
The school has invested in a substantial server room, in order to house the complex technologies being implemented into the school, which required a large number of ducts. This needed a substantial amount of openings within the wall which Metsec incorporated into the specification.
Metsec’s engagement in the project from the early stages meant it could provide bespoke, flexible solutions integral to enabling the complex design aspects desired by the client.
Steve Williams, director at Mark One, said: “Working alongside the manufacturer from the early stages of the project meant that we could work in conjunction with Metsec in designing and delivering the additional design requirements, and it was a smooth running project all round.
Ryan Simmonds, sales director of framing at Metsec, said “Palmerston School was an interesting project from a design perspective and, in using BIM, all parties benefited from a central model that could be amended and revised throughout the early stages to produce an accurate plan during the delivery stages.”