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10 COMMENT


DRIVEN BY BIM


The Salford Schools project used BIM to prototype and test components (Moorside Primary School, Salford, pictured)


credentials. This means they can provide longevity alongside quality for teachers and pupils. In the long-term, these attributes can also save schools money, by reducing the amount of energy new buildings need for heating and lighting, while remaining as robust as a traditionally constructed building.


Maximising the opportunities of MMC


The architect plays a key role in maximising the benefits MMC can provide for schools. This includes ensuring every scheme is designed to the highest standards, whether that’s to the Department of Education’s Generic Design Brief, or a bespoke specification provided by a local authority.


Architects must lead the way in driving innovation in this


field, encouraging schemes that provide the benefits typically associated with this approach, while delivering attractive, site-specific design solutions.


This can be achieved through effective stakeholder communication and the implementation of other technology, such as BIM, early in the design process. The creation of a BIM model provides a resource for data-rich visualisation before delivery, giving the vital insights required on the materials and dimensions required for a build, early in the construction process.


This approach aligns with the RIBA DfMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly) guidelines. An initiative that seeks to align with the RIBA Plan of Works Stages and maintain best practice amongst architects within the discipline of MMC. At AHR we have a strong legacy of harnessing the potential of MMC to deliver new school places across the country. This is well illustrated by the Salford Schools project we delivered with Laing


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O’Rourke. In this case, BIM data was used to prototype and test components before being used to inform the machinery that drive the off-site manufacturing process. An absolute understanding of the brief, and rigorous coordination, were crucial to ensure all pre-installed elements were positioned correctly during the manufacturing process. With much of the work front-loaded in the off-site manufacturing process, the construction time for the project was rapid, resulting in a 750-place, watertight high school erected in just 16 weeks. Working on the Priority Schools Building Programme Modular Batch B Framework, our teams have continued to build on this pedigree, and recently delivered a batch of new primary schools in London, Sussex and the Midlands. These schools incorporate the benefits that MMC provide, while adding an additional level of flexibility; providing compliant classrooms which offer a bespoke footprint that can be adapted to the size of the site. This is alongside affordable and versatile facade options that allow for a diverse design palette, offering the ability to easily swap cladding choices for separate buildings.


Sustainability is set to be a key focus for all sectors in the future, so education must position itself to deliver solutions. By placing the environmental sustainability of a building at the forefront of its design, architects ensure their client receives a building that provides energy efficiency and economic sustainability through longevity, and cost-savings far into the future.


This is the key in maintaining the viability of modular construction across all sectors going forward. Commissioning clients are now better informed about the benefits, and this has driven the discipline’s surge in popularity. In order to build on this momentum, designers and manufacturers must continue to innovate, deliver an increasingly high-quality end product and, above all, make sure each scheme brings with it a better sense of community and place.


Imran Kassim is regional director at AHR ADF APRIL 2019


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