The Friars Primary School Modular Classroom Extension

The Friars Primary School modular classroom extension was a project completed by MTX under Galliford Try for the North West.

Friars Primary School is in Salford, Manchester. MTX was awarded the contract to install a bespoke modular facility in April, and the requirements were for it to be delivered in time for the autumn term. The facility needed to include two classrooms, a breakout area and washroom facilities.

Requirements in detail

Capital build projects are tricky for primary schools. The number of students likely to enrol in the following year is received relatively late. When the school discovered they were going to experience a growth in numbers, it was necessary to provide additional facilities to house these young people’s learning.

There was a piece of land available on the existing school playing field to the front of the school building. The building needed to be six modular, and construction was slated to begin in May, with the completed structure delivered to the site on the 11th of July. The mechanical and engineering fit-out started straight away, allowing the project to be handed over to the school for the autumn term.

How did MTX deliver?

MTX has a design team that was able to answer all the requirements for the project. They concluded on a single-story facility that could hold the extra classrooms required, as well as the washrooms and the breakout area.

The facility was also designed with knowledge of what makes an ideal learning space and what is good for the environment. For instance, controlled roof lights were installed in the classrooms. The teacher had complete control of these lights, but CO2 and rain sensors were added for greater efficiency. Adding even more natural light, the fanlights enhanced the learning environment. Artificial light is terrible for young people’s health and not the best light for education either.

The school has a strong ethos, and they asked that the building is as energy efficient as possible to protect the environment. Therefore, the building was fitted out with eco-friendly LED lights throughout, with PIR detection meant they switched off when not in use. The building’s air permeability was also less than 4.75m3, which meant the heat was retained in the building and allergens were kept outside.

MTX was also able to deliver an internal and external finish to the preference of the school. This might surprise some with old attitudes to modular buildings, as the completed project blended well with the existing school buildings.

Why MTX was right for the project

There were two main considerations for this project. The first was time. MTX needed to deliver the project within this tight window if the school would have adequate facilities for the new year. As the superstructure and the substructure could be completed simultaneously, the completed buildings were delivered close to complete only three months after starting the project. During this same three-month window, the groundworks were complete. Even with this modular approach to construction, the project required outstanding programme planning to deliver.

The second consideration was budget. A school has limited funding, and any overrun on the strict budget would have been disastrous. As the materials on a modular construction project are so tightly controlled and much of the main construction completed indoors, there was a limited chance of the budget getting out of hand. All contractors are on-site in the factory, meaning that they were available when their turn to work on the structure. There was also limited impact caused by the weather or supply issues.

A bonus was the limited disruption to the school’s everyday working practices and reduced potential health and safety issues. As most of the construction was completed offsite, the noise and dust were limited, allowing the school to continue its excellent work throughout the summer term.

In short

Modular construction was the perfect solution to the extension needs of this Manchester primary school. The school could work with the design team to create a learning space blended with the current building and made the most of natural light. The classrooms were bright, airy, and perfect for the learning of young people. Gone are the days of the old huts; now, modular construction methods deliver the latest in an environmentally friendly and economical design.

What was more important is that this could be delivered quickly and within a reasonable budget. The classroom structure was delivered in July when the children were on holiday and prepared and ready for use in late September.